Tag:Red Sox
Posted on: August 25, 2008 11:49 pm

Red Sox/Yankees - Israelis/Palestinians?

IMDb offers this summary for Green Street Hooligans, a 2005 movie starring Elijah Wood.

Unjustly expelled from Harvard when a stash of cocaine is found in his possession, Matt moves to London to live with his sister and her husband Steve (Marc Warren.) He is quickly introduced to Steve's chirpy, cock-sure younger brother Pete (Charlie Hunnam.) Initially, Pete is reluctant to get acquainted with Matt and allow him to tread around the capital city with him because he may be seen by others as an 'outsider', but after a heavy drinking session with him and his mates he quickly changes his opinion of him. On the way back from a football match, Matt is viciously accosted by a gang of Birmingham City thugs, until Pete and his friends step in and save him. It is from here that Matt learns the truth about Pete and his friends- they are football hooligans, operating the GSE (Green Street Elite) 'firm.' Initially afraid of the violence, Matt soon ends up becoming as desensitized to it as his new found friends- but as events roll on, suspicion, shocking revelations and unsettled scores combine to a devastating climax where London's most fierce football rivals- Millwall and West Ham United- are set to go head to head.

During a talk about the Millwall/West Ham rivalry, Matt (an avid Red Sox fan) relates their hatred for each other to that of the Sox and the Yankees. Pete, with vast knowledge of the violence between firms, explains it's more like the fighting between Israel and Palestine.

For those unfamiliar, the two have been fighting for over sixty years. Thousands are injured each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths annually.

Obviously, a sports rivalry in baseball doesn't generate those kind of atrocities. Not even the hatred between one firm and its rivalry could cause hundreds of deaths a year. However, why do games have to provoke any sort of hatred or violence? Maybe I'm being a bit naive here, but dammit, can't we all just get along?

Obviously, there's always going to be rivalries. I'll be honest - they make good games great, and great games legendary. The Red Sox and the Yankees met the first time back in 1901. They've played each other 1,771 times. The Yankees own the lead 993 - 778 (are my Sox really that far behind?!), thanks to what Red Sox fans have dubbed "The Curse". Year in and year out, it always seems like one of the two is a shoe - in to take the AL East and both are popular picks to make playoff runs the past few years.

How about the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears? Two of the most historic teams in the NFL, and they always produce great games. Last year, the Packers lost three games - two of the losses coming against Chicago (who only manged five other wins).

New England and the Colts? It's almost always the biggest regular season game in the NFL, with the two powerhouses colliding. Last year was one of the best meetings between the two, with the 2006 AFC Championship game being perhaps the best game of football I've ever seen.

How about the Lakers and the Celtics? The rivalry was revisited this past year, when the Celtics went from one of the worst teams in NBA to the best. The Lakers had the league's best player in Kobe Bryant. A legendary player vs a legendary team. It's almost as good as the games between the two teams from the 80s.

In college, how about Alabama and Auburn? Duke and North Carolina? One of the most famous rivalries ever between Michigan and Ohio State?

Obviously, we can't eliminate the rivalries. Even if we broke up the current competitions, new ones would form between the powerhouses that fans empty their wallets to see and the teams that just play frequently. Plus, why would we want to remove that history? We wouldn't, of course. It'd be madness.

However, why can't we get rid of the anger? The hatred? That sour feeling you get when you see a guy walk into the restaurant wearing a jersey from the other team? In 2000, Lakers fans started bonfires and then riots following a victory over the Pacers. They destroyed people's vehicles and other possessions. There was a brawl in 2004 between Pistons and Pacers fans. How about the competitors? Tonya Harding had her significant other assault Nancy Kerrigan to prevent her from competing. This year, a Taekwando Champion kicked a referee in the head.

Those are bad. Stupid. No reason for that.

There's a video on Youtube of a Raiders fan punching a Chargers fan just because the Chargers were winning and their fans were celebrating. Sure, it's a big stupid to taunt Raiders fans in the Black Hole, but perhaps beating him is a bit extreme. Later in the video, you see the Raiders fan pull out what appears to be a small pocket knife and stab the Chargers fan in the shoulder area. That's despicable.

It's inexcusable.

It's inhumane.

There's simply no reason for that kind of behavior. Obviously, that's not a common occurrence. I don't need to worry if I'm going to be killed when I go to a football game at Purdue. However, why should there be any conflict between me and fans of the other teams? Should I yell insults at them for wearing an Indiana University jersey? Should they throw their beer cups at me, because I like black and gold instead of red and white? Should I be unable to have a conversation or debate, without insulting them or attacking their opinion, with someone, just because my team eliminates their team from the playoffs or their quarterback throws more touchdowns than mine?

We're supposed to be adults. We're supposed to be good examples. We're supposed to be people who make good decisions and are able to live with the results. We're supposed to do the right thing. We're not supposed to beat, bruise, insult, attack, assault, humiliate, haze, torment, taunt, disrespect, or disgrace other people or teams.

It doesn't change the outcome of a game - beating someone into submission isn't going to make your team the winner.
It doesn't change statistics - calling your point guard an ass or making fun of your running back's appearance isn't going to take away a touchdown or a three pointer.
It doesn't change champions - your beef with me doesn't change the fact I like the guys with a trophy.

All it does it diminish something great, something we love. It takes away the best part of what we have.

There's enough hatred and violence and impurities in the world. We're fighting a war in the Middle East on terror. Russia invaded Georgia. Israel and Palestine continue to fight. There's enough atrocities going on in the world right now.

Let's keep the game pure so we have something we can be proud of.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com