Just What's in a Rivalry?

Paul PreibisiusAnalyst IDecember 3, 2009

While I normally attempt to keep my articles to a more journalistic (amateur that they may be) perspective, 135 miles worth of daily commuting makes for a many “what ifs” and “I wonders” to tap dance through my skull. 

Occasionally this means something with a more directly opinion/curiosity over hypothetical/analysis leaks through.

The concept of the hyper-rivalry, and an intrigue over it, is one of those such times.  I am a fervent Chargers fan, enough that a loss will equate to at least one broody, sullen day (which I suppose is better than flat-out angry).  So when it comes to my own team, emotions can run quite strong.

To spend just as much emotional effort hating another team escapes me.  I get the idea of rivalry, and any division win is just a little bit sweeter than a ‘normal’ game. 

Yet on the converse, I can’t actually dig up the same passion against the other team as I have for my own.

I am more knowledgeable on a game by game/play by play basis when discussing my choice of favorite team, this is undeniable. 

Yet I still enjoy going into a Raider or Bronco forum and playing with hypotheticals and conjecture about what is going on with a given team, what might be done to improve, etc.

It baffles me to go to an article about a rival team, just for to lambast and trash said team.  What is the allure of that strong of a disdain? 

It is not pure jealousy, as some argue.  I have seen too many fans of ‘good’ teams bash a struggling rival, or a fan of a middling team bash a rival team of similar performance/quality (and every variation in between). 

Sports are about strong feelings and support.  No one expects a valium-hazed lot to sing kumbaya in the parking lot before a game.  But why not put that energy into doubling support of one’s own team?

This is not a rebuke, it would be hypocritical to pretend to tell folks how to be a fan.  It is, on the contrary, curiosity.  What is the attraction of it?  Why do you enjoy it (if ‘enjoy’ is the right word)? 

Could you ever bring yourself to take a third-party look at a rival team?  Please fire away with comments on either side of the fence.