Chris Healy wanted to say something snarky. He wanted to say something that almost assuredly would end up tacked to a bulletin board in a Bowdoin College locker room.

Asked what comes to mind when he thinks of Bowdoin, Healy looked like a man who had something to say, and it was something you would not want children under the age of 18 to hear.

Instead, Healy — a captain on the Colby College men’s lacrosse team — laughed, and gave a safe answer.

“I guess I just think of our rivalry. They’re fierce competitors,” Healy said. “We lost to them last year in the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) quarterfinals, which is a tough loss. To be able to beat them this year sure felt great.”

Healy won’t throw any gasoline on the Colby-Bowdoin fire, so we’ll do it.

Bowdoin College was chartered in 1794. Nineteen years later, Colby College was chartered in 1813. The two have been rivals ever since. They’re the Hatfields and the McCoys, with out of this world test scores.

On Wednesday, the Colby men’s lacrosse team defeated Bowdoin in overtime, 11-10. It would be just another game between longtime rivals were it not for this: With the 2010-11 academic year coming to a close, it was the first win by a Colby team over a Bowdoin team, in any head-to-head sport.

“It’s an accomplishment for us. It’s unfortunate, I think, for the school,” Healy said.

Until Wednesday, every time the Polar Bears and Mules played, the Polar Bears left with the win. The 2010-11 school year has been a big one for braggin’ rights in Brunswick.

“We were aware of that. We were pretty excited to try and be the first ones to knock them off,” Mark Squicciarino, the Colby captain who scored the game-winner with 1 minute, 23 seconds left in overtime, said. “It felt good to be the only ones to beat them this year.”

It started innocently enough, on Sept. 21. The women’s soccer teams played to a scoreless tie, which is an athletic root canal. A few days later, Bowdoin beat Colby in men’s soccer, 4-0.

Then field hockey, and football. Winter came, and men’s and women’s basketball was a Bowdoin sweep. Men’s and women’s ice hockey. Men’s and women’s squash, too. Regular season or NESCAC tournament, it didn’t matter.

The rivalry was as one-sided as the hammer and nail, as the windshield and bug. Colby was in such a funk against Bowdoin this year, the Mules owed George Clinton rent.

Colby men’s lacrosse coach Justin Domingos is in his first year at Colby, but he understands the rivalry. A 1999 graduate of Gettysburg College, Domingos isn’t far removed from his playing days.

“I know we’ve struggled with (Bowdoin) in the past, and they’re a good team. It was good to get a win. Any conference win is a good win,” Domingos said. “You get caught up in that stuff, you’re not focusing on the little things you’ve got to do to win a ball game. All that stuff’s not going to put you over the top.”

But you know what? All that stuff can’t hurt, either.

“Our coach let us know. I think he wanted to light a fire under us, get us a little more psyched. It doesn’t take much,” Squicciarino said.

This rivalry tries to be friendly, but it’s friendly in a cold way, the way your polite to that brother-in-law who always tells you how much better his job is than yours. Squicciarino and Healy recalled the Bowdoin players talking trash throughout the game.

“They were chirping pretty harsh. It’s nice to just put a goal in in overtime and shut them right up. They are a cocky group, and rightfully so,” Healy said. “They’ve been successful in the past. It’s always nice to shut up an opponent.”

Added Squicciarino: “I had a friend who graduated from Bowdoin two years ago. Then it was friendly. We’d always give each other a hard time before and after.

“Now that I don’t know anyone, it’s not as friendly.”

There’s no official big board, where the Bowdoin and Colby athletic departments keep track of this sort of thing. Maybe in Lewiston, Bates is watching the Polar Bears and Mules beat each other up, waiting to strike.

The same night the Colby men’s lacrosse team celebrated, the Colby women’s lacrosse team lost to Bowdoin. Also this week, the Bowdoin softball team took three games from the White Mules.

The baseball teams are scheduled to play three games on April 22-23. You can bet the Colby lacrosse team will be pulling for the baseball team to join them in the win column. And you can bet all of Bowdoin will be hoping that the lacrosse game remains an anomaly.

Braggin’ rights are on the line, and those are always the biggest stakes of all.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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