Every good story needs a hero and a villain.
Sports often times make the best stories, but do so without the help of a writer.
Without a writer to carefully craft every character trait into something the viewer can relate to or root against, how do we continue to see this trend continue in sports?
The answer lies with the villain.
In my eyes, there are two teams in their respective leagues that are the super-villain. They keep the league interesting throughout the regular season and give the casual fan something to root against in post-season. These two teams are the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Both franchises are at the top or near the top for success in their leagues. Boston is slowly, or rather quickly I should say, joining this illustrious group of hate. But for now, let's focus on the Lakers and the Yankees.
I will be the first to admit that I am not a baseball fan. I cannot keep my attention to the sport past opening night. One of my greatest sports memories though comes from living with a die-hard Yankee fan in college during the 2004 playoffs. I was in full Red Sox bandwagon mode. I even stopped using the letter R.There was nothing like watching the smug look on his face slowly turn to terror over a 4-game stretch in which the unthinkable happened. The same person who wore his New York shirt and cap to class every day in Florida was now heard dissing Jay-Z and claiming the dirty south as his own.
The Yankees seemed to be unbeatable until this series happened. And you know what? Now that they don't seem to be destined for the World Series every year, baseball is even less interesting to me. Sure, they keep making the playoffs, as they should with their payroll, but the unbeatable are now slowly turning into the underdog with the Red Sox taking over. Well, I don't hate Boston. Yet. Maybe I will one day and I'll find myself tuning into the playoffs to root as hard as I can for them to lose, not caring one bit who the winner is. Maybe the Yankees will notch the best regular season record ever this year and it will lead to a post-season that gets my full attention. All I know is that unless the team I hate is winning their division, I won't be watching in October hoping for them to lose the pennant.
With the Lakers, it's hard to put my finger on why I hate them so much. They have always been a successful franchise but with a salary cap, the playing field is even so I don't view them as winning by unfair means. I have always disliked Kobe, they stole Shaq from Orlando (my hometown team), they wear purple, I live in Los Angeles and hear about them everyday, and Bob Horry once played for them. I guess any one of those reasons could be the reason for my hatred. I remember those series between the Lakers and Kings though like they were yesterday. I would rather watch them lose a close game 7 than watch them get swept. I want the Lakers to be successful. The NBA needs them to be. I do not believe I am the only Laker hater out there.
People will always hate losing more than they enjoy winning. I also believe they would rather watch their rival or most hated team lose a close meaningful game than be irrelevant. That's why I need the Yankees and Lakers to win early. Win a lot. Get your hopes up. Become the favorite. Win the first 3 games of a 7 game series. But lose. Lose a heartbreaker. Make me watch. But more importantly, make me remember.