Sunday, February 4, 2018

Supporting Against

Most of the people who read this blog root for the New York Yankees. This means many things, including the likelihood that they prefer the New York Giants in football, over the New York Jets.

That, of course, is not written in stone. There are many Yankee fans who prefer the Jets, and many New York Mets fans who prefer the Giants. But, traditionally, fans of the 2 older teams, the Yankees and the Giants, are linked; as are fans of the 2 newer teams, the Mets and the Jets.

Once upon a time, this was due to the stadium connection: The Giants played at the old Yankee Stadium from 1956 to 1973, and the Jets played at Shea Stadium from 1964 to 1983. It has been a long time since the respective pairs of teams were residentially separated, so this is no longer a reason. It may just be family connections, now: If Dad and Grandpa rooted for the Bronx Bombers and Big Blue -- or for the Metropolitans and Gang Green -- then, most likely, that's why you do.

If you are a Yankee Fan, this probably also means that you hate the Boston Red Sox. If you are not a Yankee Fan, but you have taste, then you probably hate the Red Sox no matter what baseball team you root for.

If you are a Jets fan, then you probably hate the New England Patriots, who have been the Jets' geographical and Divisional rivals since each team began play in 1960. If you are not a Jets fan, but you have taste, you probably also belong to the people who hate the Patriots.

And your hatred for the Patriots may have absolutely nothing to do with the Red Sox, or Boston as a city. I like Boston as a city, but I despise its sports teams, for reasons above and beyond my own team attachments.

But Super Bowl LII is about to be played, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the new home of the Minnesota Vikings, built on the site of the Metrodome, home of the Vikings from 1982 to 2013 and baseball's Minnesota Twins from 1982 to 2009.

And if you are a Giants fan, chances are, you don't like the Philadelphia Eagles, who have been the Giants' geographical and Divisional rivals since the Eagles began play in 1933, and are about to play the Patriots in the game.

And you probably don't want the Eagles to win, even though the Giants have won 4 Super Bowls since the Eagles last won the NFL Championship, at the end of the 1960 season, 57 years ago, before the Super Bowl era began.

It is okay to like New England as a region, Massachusetts as a State, and Boston as a City. But you don't have to like their sports teams.

Therefore, if you are a Giant fan, and you also like the Yankees, chances are you also root for the New York Knicks, whose greatest NBA rivals are not the Brooklyn Nets or the Philadelphia 76ers, but the Boston Celtics. And, while this blog's author is a fan of the New Jersey Devils, and we Devils fans don't much like the Boston Bruins, more Yankee Fans and Giant fans are fans of the New York Rangers, whose historical (if not recent) geographical NHL rivals were the Bruins.

So if you're a Yankee Fan and a Giant fan, remember how much you hate the Red Sox, the Celtics and the Bruins, and root against the Patriots.

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People who watch Italian soccer probably have more than one rival for their favorite team. Because there are certain teams that the entire country of Italy does not like. Juventus, of Turin, is the most successful sports team in the country. Like the Yankees, the Patriots, the pre-2000 Dallas Cowboys, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Detroit Red Wings, Notre Dame in football, and Duke in basketball, they are the most popular team in the country, but even more people hate them than love them. And, as in each of those cases (yes, I am including the Yankees), there is some reason for that hatred.

The 2 teams that call the city of Milan home, AC Milan and Internazionale, or Inter, also have a lot of fans, but are also widely hated throughout the country. Therefore, a fan of any of these 3 teams tends to hate the other 2, not merely having 1 arch-rival.

So with all the cross-rivalry traffic going back and forth and Italy, they have a concept. They call it "gufare." Essentially, it means "supporting against." Therefore, if you are an AC Milan fan, and the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) Final is between Juve and Inter, you have a decision to make, and, most likely, you won't be rooting for Juve or Inter, but you will be rooting against one of them, whichever one makes your blood boil less.

Therefore, if you choose to side with Inter, thus choosing your hometown of Milan against Juventus, you will say, "I am supporting against Juventus."

Let me show you how much Juventus are hated in Italy. There is a saying: "Amo il calcio, quindi odio Il Juve." It means, "I love football, therefore I hate Juventus."

Americans don't think this way. We might say, "I love baseball, and I hate the Yankees," but even the most intense of Mets or Red Sox fans wouldn't say, "I love baseball, therefore I hate the Yankees."

But, maybe, if you love football, you should hate the Patriots. With their cheating, their arrogance, their dismissiveness of the tendency toward bad injuries (including concussions), and their support of Donald Trump, they represent everything that's wrong with football.

Fly, Eagles, Fly!

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