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Sports rivalrys, helpful or harmful?

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There have been a number of interesting games played recently involving teams who are rivals of one another.  While some of the spirit of rivalry adds to the excitement and enthusiasm of a game and to the fun of being a fan, too much negative emotion can lead to some real problems.  This fact was played out this past weekend with the BYU-Utah match-up. 

 The long-standing rivalry of these two teams adds a spark to the interest level of fans who seem to be either died in the wool Ute fans or 100% true blue, Cougar fans.  There’s no doubt about it, having a team to enthusiastically cheer for makes the experience a lot more fun and it’s even kind of fun to “diss” the opponent as well.  However, when the line gets crossed and the sentiments become downright beligerant and sometimes obscene, things have gone too far.

 BYU and Utah have each had their share of wins against one another.  Most years they seem to match up pretty well and this year was no exception.  The game ended in a tie, calling for a period of overtime play during which the Utes added another touchdown to bring their score to 23.  When BYU got possession they were able to get a touchdown and win the game 26-23.  Fans rushed the field and there was mayhem and chaos (good natured for the most part).  Unfortunately, some of the fans were not as gracious as one would hope for, nor were some of the players.

 It made headlines when BYU quarterback, Max Hall (obviously in the heat of the moment) made some incredibly thoughtless remarks about Utah and didn’t just limit his feelings to the team but included the entire school and all the fans as well.  Not only were those remarks ill-advised they were also only partially true.  Hall went on to make a clarification and an apology for his tirade saying that his remarks were made as a result of the assaults made on his family (both verbal and physical) during other play-off games.

 How unfortunate that it has to come to the point of such bitterness and anger.  How sad that we can’t all enjoy our sports and our teams and have fun cheering them on and even booing our opponents without it getting so out of control.  In this latest game, no matter who the winner was, a bad taste has been left about the whole experience.  It would be nice to think that we’ve all learned a good lesson and can move forward with better intentions for next time.  I wonder how likely that is to happen….