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
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.