Happy Tuesday, Spursland. Jake had the day off from writing the Hoddle so you get stuck with me rambling for a bit.
Let’s talk about rivalries this morning.
Years ago, I took a BS class in college called “Sport for the Spectator” that offered actual college credit and all we did was talk about sports. It met once a week for 90 minutes and was a nice way to unwind on a day where I had three other classes before it. One of those weeks, we talked about rivalries and why they exist.
I went to Ohio State and we were discussing this around the time the Buckeyes were gearing up to play Michigan in American Football, one of the bitterest rivalries in the sport. The hate is easy to explain there: Conference rivals, close proximity, coaches plucking recruits from each other’s states, and sometimes coaches that just flat out hated the other side. Woody Hayes, for example, was quoted one time as saying they were on a recruiting trip in Michigan and before they crossed back into Ohio, they ran out of gas. He opted to push the car across the state line because he refused to give the state of Michigan a single dime. Now that’s hatred.
At the time, I was 20 years old and just a couple of years removed from high school. Living in northwest Wisconsin, towns aren’t exactly close to each other. My school’s conference was pretty widespread, with the longest drive of any school being close to three and a half hours. My school fell somewhat in the middle, so usually we had 60-90 minute bus rides with one exception, and that was our rival: Spooner. We did some really stupid stuff to each other’s school, with the worst being a group of our students going to their football field and stealing their train whistle (Their nickname is the Rails, short for Railroaders) that they blew after every touchdown.
My town and Spooner were separated by twenty miles. Almost halfway between those towns was a railroad bridge. It will forever be known in my school’s lore as the “SPOONER BLOWS” bridge. Yes, this is an actual thing and tradition. I don’t know who started it, but here’s your proof for those who think I’m crazy.
Around my senior year, the other side of it became the “HAYWARD SUCKS” bridge, because the kids from Spooner finally learned how to banter, I guess. These chants would be shouted by the fans of each school constantly during football and basketball games. Eventually, the school administrators got tired of telling the fans to stop it and created a rivalry trophy for the football game called the Battle of the Bridge.
In NCAA football, there are so many random rivalry trophies. Here’s a full list and you can see that a lot of them have trophies that go to the winner until they play again. There are some cool trophies in there too!
The point of this story is how interesting it can be to talk about the rivalries and why they exist. For those of us who are in the States, we have not been fully exposed to the North London Derby. We know of the story in which Arsenal moved from Woolwich in East London on the south bank of the Thames River to their current home in North London, thus causing the rift between the two clubs.
So, in the comments, I would like for our readers who are in the UK to share some stories of the rivalry, whether they show the good side or the bad side and how it’s usually handled on a day to day basis. Likewise, if our American readers have any stories tell, whether it’s about the NLD or even their own rivalries they grew up with, let’s hear them today.
And now the “news”....
Manchester United in black tie for UNICEF as Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jose Mourinho stand side-by-side - Daily Mirror
This headline made me cringe, but it didn’t disappoint. Mourinho and Schweinsteiger look so uncomfortable next to each other.
Jan Vertonghen expects goal-shy Tottenham to thrive against Arsenal - Evening Standard
If he connects on a header with the same power as he had against Leicester just a little lower, he might decapitate Petr Cech in the process.
The Best: FIFA rolls out new rival to Ballon D’or - NBC Sports
I look forward to Christian Pulisic winning every single fan vote award and becoming the new king of FIFA.
Apple just handed Microsoft the keys to the kingdom - cNet
A little non-football news, Apple hasn’t exactly been making friends with their decisions. If you want some eerie foreshadowing, check out this video of Steve Jobs talking about how Xerox screwed up and tell me it doesn’t describe Apple now.
Enjoy your Tuesday, everyone!