What Makes a Rivalry?

Photos courtesy of Kevin Cline Photography

As a life-long athlete, sports have always been my object of affection.  Be it friendly competition, or detested, passionate dislike for an opponent, sports exude a thrill and passion infecting to the human soul.  But as a Duck fan, I am beginning to forget what the word rivalry means.  Are teams supposed to exchange wins and losses?  If one hypothetical team — let’s call it ‘Team O’ – beats another team — let’s call it ‘Team W’ — say…seven, eight, or nine straight times by double digits in football, can we really call it a rivalry until Team W shakes it up a bit?

Krebiel Photography

Four straight BCS appearances says no one beats the Ducks on a regular basis.

I have been wondering about these questions in my years as a Duck fan, while listening to older, vintage Ducks talk about the youthful, modern and less-seasoned Oregon students and fans.  The elders speak of Beavers and Huskies with a hatred and malice of past experiences that I can only equate to a National Title loss to Auburn and an opening loss to LSU.

Gary Breedlove Photography

Mariota will keep Oregon fans comfortable this season.

As a decade-old Duck fan, as opposed to a quarter or half-century follower, I only have memories of whopping the rodents and canines back to Pop Warner.  I don’t hate the Beavers because, well, I’ve never had to.  I have always been on top against the Pac, and as a student I’ve been to four straight BCS bowl games.  Call me spoiled, but my rivals are the teams that pose a threat (Stanford), embarrassed my team (Boise State), or couldn’t even be a good winner (LSU).

Forgive me for my ignorance since I am a ‘newb,’ but this is just what I have experienced.  While I fully understand the rivalries with the Beavers and Huskies of old — and honestly I don’t care much for the mutts — I have always just brushed them off, thrown up the ‘O’, and celebrated another dominating performance as all college kids do — with a nice glass of…. milk.  I long for the day that the Huskies can make it a game.

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