Monday, November 16, 2009

Take Off the Skirts

I am a Red Sox fan. I am also a NY Jets fan and a Vancouver Canucks fan. Because I am all of these things I also hate the New York Yankees, the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and the Calgary Flames. I give these teams no credit for their accomplishments and I think every player on their team sucks and is a douchebag. When Derek Jeter comes to the plate my only hope is that the ball hits him so hard in the face that his teeth fly out of the back of his head.

The reason I feel this way is because the teams I hate are the rivals of my favorite teams. They are the teams that have a history against my team and therefore I am supposed to hate them and the games when they play one another are supposed to be more meaningful. I feel this way and yet the players on the actual teams don't feel this way at all, maybe with the exception of the Canucks and Flames who truly despise one another.

I watched a number of Yankees-Red Sox games this year and they all had one thing in common. They were ordinary. These games that used to be a national event have lost their luster and their meaning. Now because of free agency, events like the World Baseball Classic and a lack of interest in history players no longer feel hostile towards one another and instead have adopted a sort of buddy buddy attitude.

Now because Derek Jeter and Dustin Pedroia both play for the USA in the WBC they feel like they have to act all friendly to one another when Jeter is on second in a game. I don't like that. I want the players on the Red Sox to hate the players on the Yankees as much as I do. I want Pedroia to be pissed that Jeter is on second. I want Pedro to throw Don Zimmer to the ground 100 more times before I die or at least something comparable. What I don't want is high fives and laughs when they are playing each other.

This goes for the Jets as well.

When the Jets play the Pats or the Bills I don't wanna see Jets players helping up Tom Brady after a sack or giving Marshawn Lynch a slap on the ass after a big run. Cut that shit out. I don't care if you went to the same college for 2 years I want you to let him sit on the ground until one of the other 10 guys on his team come get him. If you want to slap guys asses go to a gay bar and if you want to be a gentlemen and play sports go play golf or tennis.

Rivalries have always been one of the greatest things about sports. Regular games are always great but a game against a rival team is that much greater. Going to a Red Sox-Yankees game 20 years ago sounds like being at a bar with two rival gangs and you are just waiting for someone to say the wrong thing and a brawl to break out. Now it is just business as usual and 1 game out of 162.

Now not all rivalries have sunk to this low. College sports still does rivalries better than everyone else. Michigan still hates Ohio State and Duke still hates UNC. This will never change and both the fans AND the players get into it. The players get into it because they are emotionally invested and not financially invested like in the pros.

I have yet to mention the Canucks in this rant and that is because I feel like the NHL is the only professional league that still understands rivalries. In the NHL players don't slap each other on the ass and they certainly don't help one another up. It is a mans game where you need to either sack up or pack up. There are no high fives and laugh shared between opponents and they don't even shake hands unless it is the final game of a playoff series in which case there is the awkward handshake line that is always good for a few laughs.

When the Canucks play the Flames there are no laughs and there are no handshakes. There are always plenty of fights, big hits and scrums after the whistle. It is by far the best rivalry game I watch each year as these two teams meet often and every time they play it is exciting. Vancouver may not always win but its guaranteed there will be at least 5-10 moments of joy as someone is either flattened into the boards or have their legs buckle after a punch. In this aspect hockey is unparalleled.

As for the rest of the leagues I am fed up with the whole thing. As a fan of sports and a history major in university I like to go back and read about the history of my teams and of the leagues in general. Because I do this I often read stories of intense moments between rivals that will probably never happen again. My hope is that they will be recreated and I will get to be a part of the legacy in some way but it seems as time goes on this is less and less likely.

I am not saying I want to see Red Sox players fighting the Yankees (although that would be awesome) I really just want to see the players on my favorite teams care as much about the game as I do. That's all.

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