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Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Friendly Rivalry

Hey All --

As some of you may be aware, this weekend was Week One for the NFL.  Back to spending all day Sunday, Monday night, and sometimes Thursday night watching teams of super-developed athletes find ways to overpower, outwit, outgun, and out-man each other.

Usually this involves rivalries that get re-kindled several times each season between certain teams.  Many times, these rivalries are geographically based.  Today, Week One included a matchup between a team representing New York City and its suburbs (including Northern New Jersey), and one representing Buffalo and its suburbs -- a classic battle between Upstate and Downstate New York!

Since I actually had a few other plans this afternoon that would take me away from the 4th quarter of this game (which may have been the most exciting part), I was watching the earlier portions of the game by myself.  However, it just so happens that some of my friends in Western Upstate New York had gathered at someone's house to watch that game together, exhorting the efforts of my team's opponents.  Although we were separated by more than 400 miles, through the magic of Facebook, we experienced this game together, each taking good natured jabs at the other team's painful and obvious weaknesses, and loudly celebrating each team's scoring, or successful appeal of referee calls on review (now that they happen on every other play).

Even though my team managed to win this game, and my commentary proudly reflected that, there was obviously no real malice aimed at the other team, or the city it represents, or its fans.  It was nothing more than good old-fashioned pride on display as two teams who've struggled in the AFC for many years did their best to start the season right.  And yes, this would sound better if the NFL Films guy were narrating it, but they usually save that golden voice for playoff-deciding games, conference championships, the Super Bowl, and anything deserving pain-staking, artistic slow motion.

It's only me, but maybe if there were more people out there in the blogosphere who had friends in rival cities that could virtually watch games between their two teams together, it would just make the experience that much better.  In football, this could be all season long, but in baseball, hockey, and basketball, it could easily fit into the playoff schedule.  Imagine Skyping and Facebooking with "the other side" during the Stanley Cup or the Super Bowl?  Even if it were a blowout and somebody had to mail the winning team's fans something of value, it would be a shared experience that would make the game that much better.

So let's all try to make this happen during the season whenever possible.  And better yet, if the NHL manages to take a hint from other leagues and try to avoid this looming lockout, maybe throwing in a few regular season games as shared experiences may send a message to those owners and players that too many people love the sport for them to let labor disputes tarnish it.

Feel free to comment, all!