The Dangers of Sports Rivalries

Honor Westcott, Reporter

Even if you are not a sports fan, you are too likely to have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of sports rivalries and what they can ensue. Whether professional sports or your local high school division, it is apparent that far too often emotions are set aside as fans get too caught up in the sport and as a result of this bad etiquette is promoted within sports.
I came upon this realization at a Junction vs. Fruita game that I attended earlier this year. It was apparent both sides were guilty of it. The Fruita students chanted “greasy pork chop” and how Junction girls were “easy to sleep with.” This verbal abuse was met with opposition from Mrs. Duel trying to calm the student section; however, one person was not enough to drown out the chants of at least fifty Fruita Monument students. Junction was no better. During the halftime performances, they shouted and taunted the POMS girls specifically during their routine when amid their tricks the uniforms would fly up to reveal shorts underneath. The band was a victim as well during the halftime performance, receiving obscene hand gestures from Junction’s student section.
It is clear that rivalries have gone beyond just sports. We have transformed sport into a way of trying to assert our superiority over another school state or group and this is dangerous in a number of ways.
For one, the pressure from the fans and the team has a tendency to make plays more verbally and physically aggressive when on the field. This creates a dangerous situation, when it comes to physically some athletes will go above and beyond in terms of aggression on the field which often results in players getting hurt for unjustifiable reasons. When rivals Chicago Black-wakes and St. Louis Blue battled each other on the rink, the intense competition due to the rivalry led to a total 278 minutes spent in the penalty box because of violence against other players. Many members from both teams were injured as a result of the game and earned itself the nickname “The St. Patrick’s Day Massacre.”
Verbal abuse is also a large issue when it comes to sports in both fans of the sort and the trash talking players. rivalries result in an increased amount of verbal abuse that occurs on and off the field. Players definitely have issues with trash talk especially when playing against a rival team but, the majority of the conflict in regards to verbal aggression comes from the fans. Not only is it the fans yelling at the players that is an issue but altercations between fans of rival teams have also become a large issue in sports. In 2017 at a Bengals and Steelers game, two fans got into a physical altercation that occurred because one fan was trash talking the other team. Trash-talk that has the potential to lead to these alterations prevent others from enjoying the game.
So although you may have a strong dislike for the other team for the safety of the players and other fans, tone down the drama and save your trash talk for after the whistle blows because at the end of the day all of us just want to enjoy a good game.