Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Love to hate: Rivalries In Sports

Loving your team is what every good fan does. But, as much as every fan loves his team, he hates another team with equal passion. It sometimes gets to the point where a fan will love to hate his rival as much as he loves his own team. Look no further than the Yankees and the Red Sox. Hating Derek Jeter and A-Rod is just as important as loving Manny and Big Papi. 

At the risk of alienating some of my (two) readers, I will speak to my own hatreds to provide context to my generalizations. I hate the Red Sox. They represent everything I hate. They call themselves "the idiots". I hate people who embrace their idiocy and ignorance. I hate people who think they are better than others, like most Red Sox fans do. They call themselves "The Nation" even though they are fans, nothing more. They think their loyalty extends further than all others, that they are the fans to end all fans, the best fans in the world. Of course, just because they refer to themselves as a nationalistic entity doesn't make them superior to other fan bases. They are loud, obnoxious, protagonists, and have a major superiority complex. I hope they burn.

Now, if we analyze that rant, we can see how I let the Red Sox become Red Sox fans. The rivalry extends not just to teams, but fans of the teams. And with that, stereotypes and generalizations are made to fuel the hate. If Red Sox nation truly was its own race, I have heard many Yankee fans utter genocidal remarks. The team becomes a symbol of the fans, and vice versa.

Now, this aspect of sports extends well beyond sports itself. Rivalries are a part of human nature. It is natural for people to want to belong to a group, and this group needs to unite among a common cause. For this reason, all Yankee fans can go to Yankee Stadium and unite in their hatred of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Because after all, they're just a bunch of idiots.

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