Sports Revelation

Why Do I Love the Idea of Rivalry Games?

This rambling originally started with the idea “rivalry in sports is bad.” I initially thought rivalries in sports are bad, because too often we read tales about fans taking these rivalries too far. However, the more I thought about this, the more I realized, I love rivalries. I mean, I really, really love sports rivalries. I love the history and the pageantry of these games.

I was flipping through my 5 channels, yep that’s right 5 channels. I do not have cable (like the fancy other guy who writes for this website). So, last weekend I was flipping through my limited, but free, amount of high definition channels when I stumbled upon the West Virginia/TCU football game. I thought most teams were playing conference games around this point in the season, so I found it odd that these two teams would be playing each other.

It then struck me, West Virginia and TCU are in the same conference, the Big 12. West Virginia in the Big 12, that’s just weird. But whatever, I’m sure it’s good for the WVA football program and the University. Besides, this is what schools do now a days. Schools jump conferences, as thier conference gets eaten by another super-conference, and in the end, the world still spins.

For some reason, when I see West Virginia, I always think about University of Pittsburgh. I’m not sure why I place them together, hand in hand. I know Pittsburgh is now in the ACC. Wait, don’t Pitt and WVU have a rivalry game, the Backyard Brawl, or something like that? Do they still play this game?

No, these two teams do not play each other anymore. This rivalry started in 1895, and consisted of over 100 games played. Currently, this game is dead.

I find this sad.

Notre Dame, also, no longer plays Michigan. These two powerhouse football programs, which first met on Nov. 23, 1887, have played each other 42 times. Now, these two teams can longer find a way to fit this game on the schedule.

I find this sad.

Both of these rivalries began over 100 years ago. Now, that’s a rivalry. However, I guess money speaks louder than history, tradition, and silly rivalries. This is sad. Rivalries have an added aspect to their games. This is why every year I’ll watch the Army Navy game. This rivalry game is filled with great history.

Many years ago, I had the good fortune to work with a couple of retired Army and Navy gentlemen. They each spoke of the Army-Navy game with such pure emotion. Listening to these individuals, I started to understand it was more than just a college football game. It was an event that helped shape these men’s life. This game represents what’s good in college football and college sports today.

Some fans will continue to take rivalries too serious. As long as these fans are out in the world we will get stories of idiots and poor choices taking away from the good in rivalries. These tales of shenanigans will make the front pages, while sadly another rivalry is found in the obituary section killed by money and conference realignments. We need to enjoy rivalries while we can. As long as rivalries exist, teams like UVA and Virginia Tech will have something to look forward to during thier down seasons, like this year, when these two teams get together for the 96th meeting of The Commonwealth Cup.

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Long live rivalries in sport! We want to hear from you. What’s your favorite sports rivalry, we want to know.

Remember to enjoy the rivalry games, and make sure to enjoy them responsibly

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