Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Recipe for Hate

So there I was minding my own business a day or two ago, just looking for some decent soccer news on the internet when I stumble across this:

My reaction was two-fold. First, I'm setting the over/under for number of games it takes Drogba and Malouda to celebrate a goal by making out at 10. Second, I hate Chelsea. Let me try that again... I really hate Chelsea.

I took some time to internalize that and came to the realization that hate is part of what makes sports so great. Sure it's great to have a team to root for and follow, but it is often just as satisfying to root against a team you hate, especially if the team you like is struggling at the time. How many self-proclaimed baseball fans cheer harder against the Yankees than for the team they like? I have realized that hatred makes up a large portion of my sports persona. The list of teams I like/support is nowhere near the size of the list of teams I hate, and I am totally good with that.

One thing you have to realize when examining this topic is that there are different levels of hatred. For example, there are players you hate until they join your team and then you love them (i.e. Darius Kasparaitis), and then there are players you hate so much that even when they are on your team you still hate them (i.e. Marty McSorley). There are also times when two teams you hate are playing each other and you have to decide who you would rather see win. So even though I hate the Dallas Cowboys, I have no choice to cheer them on to victory when they are playing the 49ers. It can get confusing at times, but the important thing to remember is that part of supporting your team is hating several others. If you don't get that then you aren't a real sports fan.

Now that we have established that hatred is a natural part of following sports, let's take a look at how I spread the hate. Keep in mind that this is more of a greatest hits than an anthology. If I were to write about all the teams and players I hate I would need to take a week off of work. So here goes:
  • The Detroit Red Wings: I just had to start the list here. If there was one sports franchise I could go back in time and erase from existence it would be this one. There are only four good things to have ever been associated with the Red Wings; Gordie Howe, Bob Probert, Bob Errey, and Larry Murphy. Anything else that ever touched that franchise I hate. I even hate Little Caesars!
  • The New York Islanders: You can not be a Penguins fan over the age of 20 and not hate the Islanders with the fury of a thousand suns. Glenn Healy, Steve Thomas, Ray Ferraro, and David Volek ruined the '90s. That team could sign me and all three of my kids to play for them and I would still hate them.
  • Chelsea: Back to the beginning! How can you not hate Chelsea? Jose Mourinho alone is enough to drive you insane. Throw in the attitude and the insane spending and you have possibly the easiest team on the planet to hate. Unless you are directly related to a Chelsea player or you are named Chelsea you have no business supporting this club.
  • Kirk Gibson: The bane of every A's fan is watching Gibby hobble around the bases pumping his fists in the '88 World Series. I had the misfortune of having a roommate in college who was not only a lifelong Dodger fan, but also in attendance at that very game. If I never see that highlight again it will be too soon.
  • Wayne Gretzky: This could be a whole post on its own. "The Great One" represents everything I can't stand in a hockey player. Spend a thousand years looking and you will never find a softer hockey player. Numbers or not, I could name fifty players off the top of my head who I would rate as "better" than Gretzky. I don't think I could name five who I hate more than him though.
  • The San Francisco Giants: This one should be a no-brainer. If you are an A's fan then you hate the Giants, and vice versa. I never could understand the losers who would walk around in those half A's/half Giants hats. That's like wearing a bandanna that's half Crips and half Bloods. You just can't do it! I have to say though, along with the Penguins' two Cups, the A's beating the Giants in '89 is probably the fondest sports memory of my youth.
  • Peyton Manning: Seriously, does that guy need to be in every commercial that airs on every channel during football season? Somebody tell Peyton it's okay to say "No" to things every now and then.
  • The Ottawa Senators: I never had a problem with the Sens before this year. Funny what a difference one playoff series can make. I now officially hate the Senators. They haven't reached Islander status yet, but I won't be running out to buy a Chris Neil jersey anytime soon either.
I could go on forever here. The important thing to remember is that it is okay to hate when it comes to sports. You just have to keep it in perspective is all. I don't wish any actual misfortune on any player. It's not that kind of hate. I just want to see them fail miserably, that's all. That said, if Pavel Datsyuk blows out his knee he probably shouldn't hold his breath waiting for a Get Well Soon card from me.

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