Monday, November 23, 2009

Those you love to hate

As you can see, North of 50 has a strong dislike for michigan. So strong as to not let him capitalize the name of the state. It is the life of an ardent Buckeye. He also takes a particular dislike of a certain Boston baseball team, who in deference to him shall go nameless. Such is the strength of his dislike for rivals.

My first induction to rivalry was in grade school. I hailed from Christ the King. The fierce rival was the adjoining parish, St. Catharine. I played basketball in my younger years and they were the team to beat as they were the next strongest school. The rivalry was such that I know of family members (not mine) who would not speak to each other.

My next venture into rivalryhood involved my high school. Loath were we to respect the Watterson Eagles. They were evil incarnate. In my latter days in school that changed somewhat, or at least veered off course. A new school, St. Charles reopened after many years taking part of the student body that should have been ours. Nothing says 'what would Jesus do' more than Catholics who want to pummel the hell out of each other.

So, what makes a good rivalry and what makes a good rivalry great? A good rivalry develops over time. A great rivalry mixes in a small amount of loathing. It also can not be one-sided for long stretches of time. Some teams believe others to be their rivals because they repeatedly lose to them. That doesn't mean the rivalry is reciprocated. To be a true rival you must be a direct ongoing threat.

One of the greatest rivalries was the classic Army/Navy football game. Decades ago it was the premier rivalry in the United States due mostly to WWII. After the war and the decline of both schools as football powers it has lost it's status and prominence. It is now relegated to near obscurity. The most current version of the best rivalry belongs to Ohio State/michigan. Some outsiders will claim it is not and offer their version but most rivalries come and go. An example is Oklahoma/Nebraska football back in the seventies and eighties. It was much hyped but the schools now no longer play each other every year. Ah, but the 'Ten Year War' with Woody and Bo established it as the best rivalry in North America as rated by a sporting magazine (sorry, I don't remember which one).

I learned several years ago it's fun to be part of this type of feud as long as you're winning and it's all in good fun. But, when you lose and take it too seriously, it's a sad state of affairs. Good thing for us michigan still sucks!


  1. When I was at the venerable CK we ruled in basketball!

    Then, a few years later, I was an assistant hoops coach for the 8th grade boys team at St Catharine's, as my best friend was the head coach.

    Several years ago, our dear friends Iguana Mom and The Bug Doctor began sending their kids to that very hated Maroon & Gold high school mentioned above. Since they did not grow up here, we pitied them, but it did not make much of an impact on our lives. They became band geek parents, and I went to see the football game against one of our local high schools when the Eagles came calling. It only took a moment, after not seeing their uniforms for about 25 years, to realize I still despised their football team, even though our alma mater had not played them in nearly 30 years.

    We still do like their family, fortunately.

  2. We've always been willing to overlook things like this in our extended family. Watterson still stinks, though. Remember when Darling Daughter blew her diaper at a basketball game at Watterson? She appreciated the feelings we all know and love! Ahh, the memories!

  3. Having spent most of his youth and middling years playing sports, Handsome Son must have something to say to this, yea or nay?

  4. I am certain he does. He is very much against those from Beantown, certainly. I do not know who else is on his despise list, but when he was playing club soccer, the strongest rival team that always seemed to have our number was a team he later played on for two seasons, though he was injured much of the latter season.