"Don't let what divides us be stronger than what unites us." The quote from President Barack Obama speaking at the McKale Center in Tucson on Wednesday in response to last Saturday's shootings.
The usage of the word "hate" in sports comes up a lot this weekend when breaking down the Jets vs. Patriots and Ravens vs. Steelers and also the Arizona Wildcats vs. the ASU Sun Devils.
As Obama spoke to the nation from The University of Arizona, he provided Tucsonians and Americans with the confidence that we will recover from this tragedy, in which six were killed by a crazed gunman.
The first step in the recovery is today with the huge rivalry game of the Cats and the Devils. If you ask any U of A fan, they will tell you that they "hate the Sun Devils."
I ask all of you to take a step back and just ask yourself if it is really possible to use the word hate about an institution to the north just because the schools play one football game and two basketball games per year.
Yes the Wildcats and Sun Devils clearly have a long standing rivalry and yes as a U of A fan, I want to beat ASU by 40, but I just don't think that after last Saturday's events, I will be using the word "hate" to describe my feelings toward our rivals 110 miles to the northwest.
As the future of the United States of America, students of both U of A and ASU need to unite for a better future in this fine nation and stop "hating" each other over a few athletic competitions.
Sports can certainly help us during the grieving process, as a New Yorker, nothing helped me better to get over the tragedy of 9-11 than the Yankees and Mets playing meaningful baseball games.
During the periods following 9-11, you never heard any Yankee fan or Met fan saying that they hated the other team.
It just wasn't the right time to be using that word after such a terrible event of a terrorist attack that impacted every citizen of the U.S.A.
In New York today, the main focus of sports hatred is against the New England Patriots. As a New Yorker, I would admit I am pulling for the Jets because I couldn't root for a team with New England in its name over a team from my town.
The problem is all of the loud mouthed Jet fans and their boisterous head coach want to tell me about how much they "hate the Patriots."
I understand that in a rivalry, the teams aren't going to be very fond of each other, but after such an impacting event on our country last Saturday, I ask that both New Yorkers and New Englanders just take a step back and realize that "hate" might not be the most appropriate word to use about what essentially is a game.
Games are played all around the world, and I am not sure that in everyone of them have to use the word "hatred" to describe them.
Whether it be in Tucson or New York, I ask all fans to make sure that "Don't let what divides us be stronger than what unites us."