Your sports rival is a good team to root for

Hatred for your sports rivals just spreads more hate.

Thus, I will not continue this practice. Both the Bears and the Packers are fine teams to root for. The Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, and Cardinals are all fine teams to root for. (this came about from a conversation on Twitter)

Think of your rival team. Can you say the following?

“Both [insert my team] and [insert rival team] are fine teams to root for.”

Sound strange? Do you want to say, “no that is wrong!” If so, you are submitting yourself to a culture of hate.

Maybe you think “I don’t HATE my rival, they just suck.” If you can’t say your rival team is a good team to root for, then you hate that team. Such is the binary life of hate.

I’m not saying that we should throw all binaries out the window. There is indeed good and evil in this world. We do sin. We do bad. Not everything is good.

But right and wrong does not apply to everything. Misapplication of such binaries leads to racism and segregation. I fear that this binary treatment in sports influences people to apply this attitude of hate to other aspects in life.

The problem starts when people are hurt by sports fans of other teams. This person who has been hurt returns the hurt back. The cycle of hurt continues, and then the fans of each teams views the “other” fans in a particular light, and that cycle of hurting turns into hate.

The hurt turns to hate. The hate becomes the reason to hurt.

I refuse to hurt.

It seems so strange to not hate your rival, because our culture has embedded this expectation that we are supposed to hate our rivals. It’s no longer that you were hurt by the other fans, it’s just the CUTURAL RULE that says you are to hate the other team. Culture establishes a rule of hate.

I don’t want to succumb myself to hate. Thus, I make the stand to not hate my rivals.

My story of rivals

As a kid growing up as a Cubs fan, I didn’t hate the Cardinals. I saw the Cardinals as a good team. In fact, I was even a fan of the Cardinals Gashouse Gang of 1934. I drew portraits of Dizzy Dean. The Cardinals have a rich, rich history. In fact, one could say historically they are the best team in the National League.

Only once I became an adult, did I learn to hate the Cardinals.

Also, I grew up as a Cubs fan on the south side of Chicago where the White Sox rule the land. I learned to hate the White Sox because I was constantly attacked by Sox fans.

It’s silly. And sad.

What should we do?

I try to put aside all the times I was hurt. All the times people called my team nasty names. I put that aside. I forget about it.

I challenge you to forget all the times fans of your rivals has said mean things to you. Seriously. Forget it. (aka forgive them). Break the cycle of hate.

Try to view the sports landscape as new. What if we view fans of other teams not as”different” people? Instead, just look at the teams for what they are—a pretty random collection of players playing a game.

My entertainment in sports is seeing good plays and bad plays, uncovering wonderful stats, creating new ways of creatively representing the game and its players. (e.g. via illustrative scorecards).

I want to have fun following sports. I hope you have fun following sports. And we can all love our neighbors.

Jesus said to love your enemy. He didn’t put an asterisk on that statement saying “except for your sports teams, you can hate them.” Love your enemies–including your sports rival teams.

Matthew 5:43-48

If you have a religious or philosophical argument for why it’s ok to hate your sports rivals, I’d like to hear it.

One thought on “Your sports rival is a good team to root for

  1. A loosely related article, “This drawing explains a surprising amount about your political views” https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/9/16/20856316/poll-yougov-painting-ideology-trump

    This article touches on “a well-known finding in political psychology that people who score high in a personality attribute known as ‘openness to experience’ tend to have more left-wing political opinions.” and “People with artistic temperaments are prototypically ‘high openness,'”

    This openness reminds me of being open to not hating your sports rival. That is, being willing to listen to fans of other teams, and what they have to say. I’m guessing most sports fans don’t express a high openness to their rivals. That’s a bit sad.

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