One of the great things about sports is the teams and players we tend to hate. | Unsplash/Wade Austin Ellis
Let’s talk fierce rivalries.
One of the great things about sports is the teams and players we tend to hate. Those with whom we have developed rivalries over many years of competition. There’s a difference between a conference or city rival and a team you need to point out or really beat to finish your season. Some of these games or series go beyond everything else. And there are teams that just get under your skin and you just have to beat them.
You know the big ones. These are the must-see games, regardless of their records. You know, games like Army-Navy, Ohio State-Michigan, USC-Notre Dame. This is the tip of the NCAA football iceberg that includes Alabama-Auburn, Texas-Oklahoma, Nebraska-Oklahoma, Texas-Texas A&M, Florida State-Miami, Florida State-Florida, Stanford-Cal, Missouri-Kansas, Harvard- Yale, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Michigan-Michigan State, Grambling-Southern, Indiana-Purdue (The Old Oaken Bucket game), Minnesota-Wisconsin (Paul Bunyan’s Axe), Cincinnati-Louisville (Keg of Nails), Minnesota-Michigan (Little Brown Jug ), Arkansas-LSU (Golden Boot), Kent State-Akron (Wagon Wheel), Miami (Ohio)-Cincinnati Victory Bell, TCU-Texas and many more.
Does that get your soccer adrenaline pumping?
In baseball, the most famous are the Yankees-Red Sox to the Cubs-Cardinals to the Dodgers-Giant, but right now the Yankees don’t like the Astros much and this could be the start of something big.
In basketball, Lakers-Celtics is an old rivalry, but Pistons-Bulls, Knicks-Heat, Warriors-Spurs in the NBA cannot hold a candle to such NCAA basketball rivalries as Duke-North Carolina, North Carolina-NC State. Kentucky-Louisville, Kansas-K-State, Syracuse-Georgetown, Cincinnati-Xavier, UConn-Tennessee (NCAA Women’s Basketball) and any mix-match game between Women’s Division UConn, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Baylor, Louisville, and South Carolina more .
In the NFL there are always Packers-Bears, Commanders-Cowboys, Steelers-Ravens, Browns-Bengals and others.
And the NHL starts with Canadiens-Maple Leafs and Red Wings-Blackhawks and includes Islanders-Rangers, Pens-Caps.
Frazier-Ali may be the high water mark in boxing, but Sugar Ray Robinson-Jake LaMotta, Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez and Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe haven’t been too shabby.
Connors-McEnroe, Lendl-McEnroe, Navratilova-Evert, Federer-Nadal… the list goes on in all sports.
Rivalries can be geographical, family, previous friendships, or many other causes. They can be from your community down town or in one block. You can play against the team that stole a game from you, or against one that you can never seem to beat. They can be real or imagined hurts. But they are the fabric of the sport.
Get out there wearing your school or team colors or logos and belittle the team on the other side for bragging about it. hope you win this one
Who do you hate most and what do you think are the best rivalries? Let me know at [email protected]