Suffering from severe writer’s block, I asked a friend if he had any suggestions for what I could write about this week. After a moment of thought, he responded, “Why don’t you write about what happened in Boston, and how other sports teams supported the city. Something like, ‘It shouldn’t take such a terrible thing for the Yankees to stop hating the Red Sox.” I told him I’d think about it, and we went to our separate classes.

644164_10151414894307781_1550523617_nI did think about it. I thought about the Yankees putting up a “United We Stand” sign at Yankee Stadium. I thought about “Sweet Caroline” playing on the loudspeakers in ballparks and arenas across the country. I thought about Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce’s speech before Game 1 of the Celtics-Knicks series. Don’t get me wrong. All of these tributes were special, but the more I thought, the more I disagreed with my friend. It should only take such a terrible thing for the sports world to put their differences aside and rally behind one another.

Nothing in the world is better than a good rivalry. Every year, on Texas-OU Eve, my Dad will run into my room and make me do push ups and sit ups, all while he yells, “Do you think Bob Stoop’s kids are sleeping right now?!” I’ve woken up at 4:30 am before the Packers-Bears NFC championship to run five miles (all while decked out in Bear gear) just to give the Bears a little extra mojo to beat the Packers. Nothing is more satisfying than beating an age-old rival. A good ol’ fashion basebrawl, like the Padres-Dodgers one, is more riveting TV than any episode of Dexter has ever been. The 1980 Miracle on Ice was about so much more than sports. The US and the USSR were bitter enemies, yet on the ice, only six penalties (three by each team) and one of those six was a delay of game, an incredibly low amount considering the two countries were the push of a button from plunging into a nuclear war. Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert battled each other on the tennis court for fifteen years, yet long after retirement, the two foes have become close friends.

If I have to root for OU, the terrorists have won!
If I have to root for OU, the terrorists have won!

Rivalries should never get to the point that they reached on Opening Day of 2011, when two Dodger fans stabbed a man simply because he was wearing Giants gear. Rivalries—deep down—are good-natured. They’re another way to make Wednesday interesting and a handful of the 162 ballgames so compelling. The outpouring of support that New York teams gave to Boston reinforced this. Yes, the Yankees say they are better than the Red Sox, but Yankees fans and Red Sox fans don’t hate each other. One of my family’s best friends is a Sooner. It’s okay to wish for someone’s team to finish under .500, but this weekend really showed that we Americans understand that life is about more than sports, although it can seem like it’s the other way around in the middle of the student section at a Duke-UNC game.

There’s a time for Yankee fans to put their arms around Bostonians and sing “Sweet Caroline,” and there is a time to split the Cotton Bowl down the middle, segregating burnt orange and red. We’re Barcelona or Madrid fans, but we can put aside our differences when someone is in need (as we should). Yet if we always do that, it will diminish the significance when we do.



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