Sport rivalries go back in time as long as there have been sports. I know to some of you I am an obnoxious fan, but I really do try to keep it light and realize it’s just a game. Albeit an avid football fan, my teams of choice are the Seattle Seahawks and the University of Washington Huskies. To prove I can be a good sport, I am engaged to a Green Bay Packer and a good friend is a Duck. SEE?!
But yesterday I suddenly realized that I, in part, am circulating negativity back out into the universe, and for that I am sorry.
I have been known to express my disdain for other teams. Growing up I was a Dallas Cowboys fan (from which I have repented), but I still have residual distaste for the San Francisco 49ers. Then jumping over to the Seahawks, um, let’s just say that distaste took a violent swing upwards and now I reallllly don’t like the 49ers. In fact, I have been known to say that I hate them.
I’m sorry to have said that. I just felt threatened. I should have said that I love the Seahawks and I hope we win.
For my college team, there are a couple teams I’m supposed to dislike, one being the Washington State Cougars (meh, they’re just jealous…Joni STOP), another being the Oregon Ducks. Uuuugh, I can’t even stand typing the latter’s name….
I admit it. I used to hate with my whole body the Oregon Ducks. It didn’t start out that way however. When I was in school, I was groomed just like any other young Husky, to believe that the green and yellow of that obnoxious (sorry, it slipped) team represents all things terrible in the Northwest. I’ll admit I bought into it a little bit, but that’s not when my former hate began to flourish.
It really started when I began meeting fans from Oregon. When I was 18 or 19, one of my high school girlfriends had obviously moved to Oregon and she started writing Facebook posts that were pretty out there in my opinion. Extreme posts showing pride for Oregon. Now I have nothing wrong with pride, but the pride came from a place that I contest we fucking knock off.
Almost every single post was about hate for another team. I can’t recall specifically what they were about, but I remember being pretty shocked and honestly had to hide the posts so I could retain fond memories from high school with her.
Fast forward to now. Again, I cannot stand behind many of the things that I have said whilst getting caught up in the hate culture that surrounds team sports, and have come to a decision to stop it. My reason was when I discovered something pretty disturbing, ridiculous, and outright childish yesterday.
The Washington Huskies play the Oregon Ducks this coming weekend, and apparently thus brings something called “Husky Hate Week” in Oregon. I knew the Ducks didn’t like us, but holy shit balls, Husky Hate Week?? Apparently it all started in 1948 when “Washington voted for California and not Oregon to represent the Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl, and the Ducks have never forgiven the Huskies.” Alright, fair enough. But Hate Week?
Now I realize that NW residents are not the only ones to participate in a hate week, so all of you – myself included – stop being gross. A rivalry should be just that – a rivalry. The same article I just cited calls this broken relationship a “healthy hate.” All I have to say is, honey – there’s ain’t no such thing as healthy hate.
Rivalries can be fun and great things, but hate? NEVER.
I get that this article won’t be received well by many, as though suggesting friendly competition instead of hate culture would somehow take away the “fun.” But I don’t care. And other people seem to agree in ceasing the hate. I have a lot more fun when I am not being screamed at for being a Husky or a Seahawk, told that I’m ugly because of the colors I am wearing. I’ll hear crap like, “All Husky girls are husky!” e.g. fat. Are you freaking serious? Get outta here.
I am extremely against teaching children to hate someone else. And pardon me as an old lady in her late 20’s, but college kids should not be groomed to believe in hating another team. Football is about loving your team, not hating another. Trust me, this is VERY HARD for me to write as an avid Husky fan, but I am tired of the hateful culture between Washington and Oregon. Between The University of Texas and Oklahoma Sooners, or any of the extremely heated rivalries in the country. I know that I haven’t always been a part of the solution and definitely have used the word, “hate” before, and for that, I apologize.
I am not going to argue any kind of slippery slope or suggest that the example I’m about to present may happen at a Northwest football game, but I do want to point out that extreme fanaticism can lead to extreme results. This July, yes July of 2013, in a soccer match in Brazil, a referee gave a player a red card. Angry and consumed with, dare I say, hate the team member and referee got into such a heated argument that the referee fatally stabbed soccer player. Obviously enraged but certainly overcome with emotion, his family and fans stormed the field to attack the ref. The gruesome story ends with the referee brutally murdered, in a public stadium mind you, as he was beaten, dismembered, and decapitated. His head was even placed on a stake in the field.
Again, I am not saying this could ever happen in the United States, but I am pointing out that extreme hate and fanaticism can be a bad thing. Hate is never healthy. I honestly am at a point where I have to avoid certain places given a certain game or team colors that I’m wearing. I don’t want to be harassed anymore. I even declined to attend a party that I put together because I knew I would be one of the only Huskies surrounded by many Ducks, and I just don’t fucking care to defend myself over it anymore. I went to a great school, I’m an ok person, and if you can’t figure out how to be nice to me then you don’t get the pleasure of my company.
Now Huskies, we are guilty. I’m sorry Dawgs, as much as we want to blame Oregon for being [insert negative adjective you normally use] and the reason that things have gotten this bad, you’re only partially right. We are to blame too. It doesn’t matter who threw the first insult, but we can be the ones to cool it down. Maybe a little, “good game” when you see a Duck. I KNOW, it’s a huge thing I’m asking of you, but maybe give it a shot and see what happens.
And Ducks….I believe in you. You can be the voice of reason to calm your friends down a little. If you say that you are a good fan, then be one. When others are urging you to assail hateful things toward another team, maybe decline to chime in or even stand and say something nice. Every little bit helps, and I think that we can make this game a little more fun, a little less hateful, one fan at a time.
I know I’m getting a little Brady Bunch on you, but I think we will enjoy the game more when there is less hate and fear. As an old adage somewhat goes, “It’s easy to be kind to your friends, but a true show of character is to be kind to your enemies.”