Directing Team Loathing: Is it Possible to Share Disdain for More Than One "Arch Enemy?"
- Updated: April 5, 2009
Arch enemy. Nemesis. Rival. Adversary. They are all terms frequently associated with a lone team that represents all that is evil in the context of one’s own fandom. Each word evokes a singular opposition — one that, beyond all others, draws the ire of a fan base. For the Red Sox, it’s the Yankees. The Wolverines have the Buckeyes. Giants-backers reserve their loathing for the Dodgers. And so it goes.
But what happens when all of the sudden a second franchise makes a play to steal your affections. And by affections, I mean undying, vitriolic hatred. Such is the dilemma I now face. It came glaring to life as I caught a few minutes of ESPN’s Sunday night broadcast of opening day action. Braves. Phils.
For so long, I’ve bled blue-and-orange and reserved my disdain for only one foe – those tomahawk-choppers and their fair-weather “supporters” from Hotlanta. Larry Jones, Bobby Cox and the whole crew were the focus of our rage. From Rocker to Andruw Jones to Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux, no Brave was spared. They were the hated. It was an open-and-shut case.
But, now, as I watched the Braves take the field, I found something strange happening. It wasn’t that my distaste for Atlanta has dissipated, but, rather, that the Philthadelphia Phils were tapping into my hate gene just as strongly – if not stronger. Rollins, Victorino, Myers…just like the Bravoes it didn’t matter much who, once they donned the uni it was all over.
So, we find ourselves at a loss. Can a fan split their derision? Is it possible to have arch-nemeses? We think not. While we can’t stand the ‘Phins, our true antagonists are the Pats. Instead, it appears I must choose a mortal enemy on the diamond. This will be tough…