MYSTIC RIVER, MA – Reading about our adorable ret@rded New England neighbors to the north – in Jillian Brooks’ Boston 101 column Thursday – got me thinking of how much I actually like the BoSox, ’cause they hate the Yanks as much as I do [as a Met fan]. That in turn got me, a native of Ghana, thinking about how heated rivalries can get between teams and fans.
I wear my blue Met hat (the original one) when I stomp the sidelines coaching the New York Rugby Club. The NYRC’s colors are blue and orange, but the blue is closer to Yankee blue than it is to Met, Knick, Giants or Rangers blue. With Opening Day looming tomorrow, baseball is on everyone’s mind, and rugby players happen to be huge baseball fans. A player – and Yankee fan – pointed out the difference in colors, saying I was not in uniform. The NYRC has been around since 1929 and that’s likely why it has the darker blue, as Walter O’Malley, his Dodgers and the S.F. Giants didn’t leave us the Met and Orange until long after that. (Hey Walter, thank for Jackie Robinson, but you’re still a bum, O’Malley!!!)
Anyway… I told this rabble-rouser that I was all too aware of the rugby team’s poor color choice but that this was a hat day, what with the rain and all. He then offered me a Yankee hat, so as to “be in uniform.” I was momentarily stunned. How could I take my Met hat off? Especially after being called out? But that’s when divine intervention parted the heavens and I heard the words, courtesy of clubmate and fellow Met fan John Keegan, that will stay with me forever:
“No, Junior. Wearing that [Yankee] hat would make angels cry.”
Free from that struggle, I thought about how downright diabolical we can all be when it comes to sports rivalries. And they are worldwide:
Yankees/Red Sox: Biggest rivalry in all of American sports. It is mainly because Boston -the city and its citizens – always wish they were NY. 🙂
Yankees/Mets – Two teams sharing a city always makes for angst, especially if you’re on the short end as a second citizen like us Met Fans are.
Cubs/White Sox – Again, two teams sharing a city. Considering only one of the teams has won it all in 1000 years make hometown bragging rights all the more critical.
Lakers/Celtics -Listen, they had a video game called Lakers vs. CelticS And Other NBA Teams, that is how much people care about these teams. Even when they were both bad, they made for great games.
Cowboys/Washington Native American Slurs – Yeah, I had to be that guy. This one started out of genuine dislike of the coaches for the other guy’s team. It grew to the owners and has never left.
Jets/Dolphins – The funny thing these teams have been bad more than they have been good but whenever they play each other there is always a classic match.
Cowboys/Eagles – Mention the Body Bag Game to Philly fans and they smile. TheY hurt 7 cowboys that night – as in stretchered off – but lost the game. It’s like Bunker Hill to them.
Maple Leafs/Canadians – Hockey is the national sport of Canada. These two teams were part of the Original Six teams that made up the NHL when it first started. They share a country and battle hard even though there are so many more teams. Funny thing is you rarely if ever see a fan of one living in the other province, if they are they keep it to themselves like Witness Protection.
NOTE: Manchester UTD and Chelseas kicked off at 7:45 AM this morning on ESPN. Turn it on.
Real Madrid/Barcelona – See the Leafs V.Canadians and just replace Hockey with Soccer
Manchester United/Liverpool – Liverpool have won 21 titles in the history of the league Man U is up to 20. The vast Majority have come in the last two decades, Liverpool haven’t won one in nearly two decades. I am a Man U fan and I love that they hate us. They hate us cause they can’t be us.
Boca Juniors/River Plate (Argentina) – Much like the Yankees and Mets except these two teams dominate Argentine soccer it is rare when the national title does not go to one of the two teams.
Glasgow Rangers/Glasgow Celtic – This has the highest death total of any soccer rivalry to date at 150. If you can imagine the Red Sox and Yanks sharing a city, then add Religion. Yes, Religion. The Rangers represent the Protestant half of the city, the Celtic the Catholic half. The players are nowadays of different faiths but it matters little to the fans. These clubs are always on top like the Argies, but when you hear stuff like the Celtic was using it winnings to help Irish families during the great potato famine while Rangers were doing what ever they could to hurt Celtic turnout and keep said proceeds from helping, you see the unfortunate significance. That aside – GO BLUE!! (Rangers wear blue, Celtic Green).
New Zealand/Australia – Like US v. Canada in Hockey, Rugby is NZ’s hockey and while Australia have other sports they love to fight their neighbors and beat them. Aussies are competitive like that it is always a good fight when these two meet. Watch this.
England/Everyone – Yep, everyone hates England. The French, The Scots, The Irish, The Aussies, everyone. It is a result of their global dominance that all their former colonies and medieval rivals still hate them to this very day. The Welsh rugby team had a good year if they could say, “At least we beat England.”
India/Pakistan -Understand that these two are rivals in every aspect of their very existence. India develops a nuke, Pakistan hurries to develop a nuke. When England left India, you had Hindu’s and Muslims making up most of India – yes, religion again. They couldn’t live together peacefully, so two separate nations were created. India produces the most tea leaves in the world, Pakistan consumes more tea than any other nation. You think they’d have a trade agreement. Nope. They hate each other. Now take these countries, whose national sport is cricket, and have them fight it out – for days! It is only because war is too costly that fans settle for Cricket.
Am I ready to die for my teams? No. But of the ones I do root for, if the Mets could shore up 2-5 in their starting rotation, get Beltran and Reyes healthy… I just might be willing.
Rex O’Rourke, tomorrow.
NOTE FROM MTM GRAMMAR DEPT: Junior Blaber uses the plural conjugation for verbs, as he learned Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s Proper English, not ours. For example: “…while Australia have other sports..” That ain’t a typo – it’s correct outside North America.