Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton
Cain and Abel
New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona
Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets
Mufasa and Scar
Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders
Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi
Kelly Slater and Andy Irons (RIP)
Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics
Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings
Dallas Cowboys and ...every other team that isn't the Dallas Cowboys
and the list goes on...
The example I'm trying to make here is that over the course of history, there have been many rivalries that have spiced up the love and the hatred of the men (and women) that have been a part of the history of time and space and sports. I know I threw Mufasa and Scar in there, but I'm a 90's kid and it was a good example. Deal with it.
All's fair in love and war, but is what we're feeling for our lovely neighbors healthy? Some people may think it gets obsessive, but others will find it absolutely necessary to have a fiery passion of hatred for a team that stands in the way of their favorite team. It almost...keeps things in place and gives a team something to fight for. Regardless of how well your favorite team may be doing against the rest of the competition, to some it may only matter how well you do against the team you absolutely can't stand.
Oh, rivalries. How you make the world go 'round...
|This could get ugly...|
We would all have to admit at some point that it's absolutely invigorating to watch two groups of people absolutely hate each other. It's like West Side Story without Natalie Wood in heavy tan makeup. Even die-hard fans have admitted that they would not date/marry someone that rooted for the other team. The thing is, I could only imagine how they would make up the day after the game happened... Never mind, I digress. You get so excited just to see what will happen when a rivalry game comes around to town. I'm telling you--living in Philly, it's almost as if everybody hates us when they come here, and we as Philly fans have no choice but to defend ourselves physically. Almost every game against either the Mets, the Redskins, or the Cowboys there's a fight either inside or outside of the stadium. It's like you're watching free UFC during the early 90's when there were no rules and really huge bums that sometimes wore sneakers stepped into the octagon.
The way I see it, sports are like male-endeavored soaps to say the least. Yes, I know that's a somewhat sexist remark, but women watch it too, so this point stays. Rivalries are like a never-ending storyline that keeps everyone watching to see what is going to happen on the field [and in the stands as well].
(Aside: This is why I consider the expression "sports entertainment" to be as irrelevant as saying "ATM machine" because sports are already a technical form of entertainment. But I'll have more of that rant coming in December after I see WWE Raw in Philadelphia on 11/29. Huzzah. End of aside.)
In every story, you need to have a hero and a villain. You always have to favor one character and keep the flame alive by showing disgust for said "villain." Whether it's throwing words, fists, beer cups, or even snowballs, it's fun to watch for some reason.
At any rate, if you look at sports in a sociological aspect (my professor would be quite proud of me) you'd find that the three major perspectives--conflict, functionalist, and interactionist--really make sense of the mix of sports and their rivalries. It explains that temporary rush, or "high," that comes from these rivalries. Although teams and fans that hate each other come together and tolerate each other for a few hours, there's a sense of patriotism and competition that comes from it and it keeps the sports flame alive despite each side not seeing eye-to-eye. That is how our social scene is growing through loving and hatred (although the word "hate" is a strong word). That is your sociology lesson for today.
Does it create a bias for me? Well, not so much as it used to. Before I started this blog, I'll admit, I wasn't very fond of the Mets. Don't get me wrong, you guys crack me up beyond belief. But after all of the stuff you guys have been through, I have a newfound respect for you. I won't lie, there's still a bias in my writing because of the city I live in and how I might not know enough about sports happening away from the east coast. But it's always nice to knock on some team while I'm outside. It just makes sports fun.
Going from a national perspective to a hometown perspective, I bet you could all remember the sports rivalries that you had when you played recreational ball somewhere. Believe me, I know I had several. It got so bad at one point between my team and another team that there was a huge fight in the middle of a soccer field (which I wasn't involved in, so they were lucky, ha-ha). Then we got older and more mature, but there was still that fire inside that stirred the motivation to outperform and show the other team that you were awesome and there was nothing that they could do about it. When I see it on the field in a professional form, it brings all of the old plumes back and it makes me feel alive again.
This is why I love sports.
This is why I write.
This is why I want to write about this love for the rest of my life.