Rivalries: Plural Noun: Competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field. Although rivalries are prevalent in everyday life, and have been since the beginning of time, we most relate to them in the world of sports. From the time we are kids and begin playing competitive sports, and continuing until our playing days are over, our competitive nature lives on and our rivalries then stem from being fans of our favorite teams.
There are some very famous rivalries in the sports world. In fact there is even a rivalry amongst fans and experts alike as to which rivalry is the best, or the biggest. Yankees & Red Sox. Cubs & Cardinals. Cowboys & Redskins. Duke & North Carolina. All examples of some of the biggest and most debated examples of famous sports rivalries that there are. But every fan of every team has a team that they despise and consider a bigger rivalry than any of those.
A rival can even be different for fans of the same team. An example would be our very own Indiana Hoosiers. Living in the southern most part of the great state of Indiana, so south that I see Kentucky from my front porch, the University of Kentucky would be more of a rivalry to me than Purdue University. Whereas Hoosier fans from the northern part of the state would most likely consider Purdue the bigger rival. Now, that's not to say I don't dislike Purdue because I do, and as a Hoosier fan that's pretty much a birthright. But I loathe Kentucky. Hate is a strong word and one I don't normally use, but if I were to use it, it would be to describe my feelings towards the University of Kentucky.
As you can imagine, living so close to Kentucky like I do, there are a lot of UK fans in my area, and I encounter them on a daily basis. I even have some people I call friends that are UK fans. But the majority of them around here are actually knowledgeable about the game and not the arrogant *bleep* that we usually associate with UK fans. None that I know personally have ever claimed that "this was the year they would go undefeated' nor do I know any that have pulled their couches out into the yard and burned them after a loss.
Although I know a few, there aren't many Purdue fans down here in southern Indiana. I believe due to not having any banners hanging in Mackey Arena, the Boilermaker fans suffer severely from whats commonly known as "little brother syndrome." I mean seriously, how else would you describe a fan base that chants "IU sucks" at every sporting event they play, no matter who they are playing? If that doesn't define jealousy I'm not sure what does. They have had some good teams in West Lafayette, teams capable of hanging a banner or two in fact, but they've yet to do so. Injuries have played a part in what could have been championship seasons for them, but they have for Indiana as well. So let's say that without injuries both teams had won two more banners apiece, then IU would have 7 and Purdue would have 2, which would still leave them 5 behind "big brother."
I love rivalries. And for me, being a Cubs fan and an Indiana fan, I get to be a part of and enjoy one of the best in baseball. And as soon as IU & UK resume their annual series I'll get to enjoy one of the biggest college basketball rivalries in the country, to go along with a huge in-state rivalry also. Which rivalry is the biggest in sports? I think that will always be up for debate depending on who you ask. Every fan should feel like their teams biggest rival forms the best rivalry in sports because that passion comes through at games and makes the atmosphere even more enjoyable.
Rivalries can be fun. And in todays world of social media, taking a jab with a well thought out meme, or joke, is a way to get that jab out there instantly. Of course remember, it's always best to put a little thought into what you're saying and who you're saying it to also. I mean you don't want to look silly continuously saying another team sucks at events that they're not even playing in. And if you're losing the game while you're doing it you look even sillier. And ESPECIALLY when you're doing it about a team that on the national scene is obviously your superior. (Yes, that was a jab)
Here's to rivalries. A huge part of sports for players and fans alike. They bring out the passion and the pride in both. Bragging rights may not seem like much to the casual fan, but to a die hard, there's not much better.