Rivalry Losing Steam In Politically Correct World

Kenjon Barner wants YOU to root for Oregon.
Kenjon Barner wants YOU to root for Oregon.

Photo by Kevin Cline

Kenjon Barner wants YOU to root for Oregon.

The debate over rival-rooting-etiquette came into question this week on a local radio show, prompting passionate calls of “We’re all in the same state,” and “I root for both teams unless they’re playing each other.”

Quite frankly, I had to turn the channel.

I wrote an article after the Newtown shooting talking about the lines between passion and insensitivity in sports being blurred, with fans too often crossing over to being mean and cruel towards people of different beliefs. And I stand by that thought. Losing sight of the mission at hand — winning games and beating your rival — is becoming easier and more accessible with the rise of social media. Fans have access to rivals at their fingertips, which often leads to insulting and vile comments being thrown around.

Unfortunately, this action overshadows the best part of sports — simply beating your rivals, and showing them that your team is better.

I found the argument that fans should root for the state to be vile. It takes away from the passion of the game, especially in college football, which has ridden the coattails of rivalries to heights never before seen. Do Texas fans cheer for Texas A&M because they reside in the same state? Absolutely not. Do you think an Alabama fan would be caught dead rooting for Auburn in any circumstance? Doubt it. So why, in the state of Oregon, admittedly a different animal altogether, are we looked down for wanting the Beavers to go 0-12 on a yearly basis?

The argument that “it helps Oregon” if their rivals are good in bunk. Oregon, as the example, doesn’t need OS to win 10-games to make a Civil War win meaningful. If they have done their job, and assuming the rest of the conference isn’t 6-6, the Ducks will be fine. A strength of schedule boost by the Beavers will do nothing to help 99% of the time.

It’s becoming increasingly popular for parents to teach their kids that it’s good to root for both teams. But if we look at the overall arch of society, this is a small, yet significant turn. Back in the day, not every kid received a trophy at the end of tee-ball season. There were winners and there were losers. Kids were taught the value of being a good sport in victory and defeat. Now? Everyone

gets a ribbon. While it’s a nice ego boost, we’re creating a world of entitlement amongst our youngsters. In a small way, rooting for

Oregon and Oregon State face off in another lopsided Civil War

Photo by Kevin Cline

Oregon and Oregon State face off in another lopsided Civil War

the entire state of Oregon is kind of the same thing…

Oregon lost? Oh well, let’s root for the Beavers now, because they’re still winning.

It’s a slippery slope. Sometimes in life your team simply is not as good as others. And that’s okay. The key is to stick by them through thick and thin. That’s where passion and discipline comes from. Not jumping from bandwagon to bandwagon.

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Joel Gunderson

Joel Gunderson

Joel Gunderson grew up in a small town, where the only thing he did for fun was worship the Oregon Ducks. He later moved to Eugene, where he studied journalism at the U of O. After working in radio, he married the woman of his dreams and settled down. Joel now spends his days studying Journalism and the fine world of grammar, all the while worshiping the ground that Charles "Chip" Kelly walks on! Follow him on twitter @gundy85

  • hoboduck

    You could not be more right. Ballzy to say such things Joel. I am now wondering how much flack you are going to take for expressing such an “outdated and unacceptable” view. Well, just don’t worry about it, cuz you know we are all winners. :-) Where’s “my” trophy?
    Go Ducks WTD

  • hokieduck

    Well, if it is “vile” of me to root for other Pac12 member teams when the Ducks are not affected because it makes the conference look better and, thus, positively impacts my Ducks, then call me “vile.”

    BTW. Nice win yesterday, Beavs. Continued good luck in the CWS.

  • Old Oregon Fan

    Those of us of a certain age that grew up in a state where neither UO nor OSU was even relevant for DECADES (1955ish to 1995?) tend to root for both schools. I root for the Ducks first and for the Beavers in all games except the Civil War. No one rooted harder for the Beavs in their College World Series championships of 2006 & 2007 than I did. I hope they win again this year. Go Beavs!

    P.S. My brother has 2 degrees from UO and I went there for one term.