Healthy Rivalries Keep Sports Interesting


The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are a perfect example of an entertaining rivalry in sports

Molly Kennedy, Sports Editor

There are rivalries all around us, in families, sports, and towns. People love competition and a close match. There are long time sports rivalries, while others start in the matter of a season. A few intense games can get fans attention and this can spark up controversy.

In Western Massachusetts there are many rivalries such as Agawam and West Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee, Minnechaug and Westfield, and more. In an interview with the Rotary Club, Aldo Paier recalled his first experience with rivalries growing in West Springfield. The rivalry with Agawam began in the 1920-40’s with a group in West Springfield called the Deadline Gang. They were a  group of kids and teens who grew up in West Springfield’s Memorial Avenue neighborhood. The Deadline Gang had controversy with other kids from parts of Springfield and Agawam. They made a perimeter to limit fighting. They knew that they were not welcomed into certain parts of Agawam and Springfield, and kids from Agawam and Springfield were not welcomed in Deadline Gang territory. Most kids in the Deadline Gang were athletes, so when they played Agawam it became heated.

To this day, playing Agawam is still considered a big deal and winning against Agawam becomes crucial. Homecoming football games in West Springfield are held against Agawam on Thanksgiving Day and  have been going on since 1924. According to Masslive, Agawam leads 63-28-3 in homecoming football games. West Springfield and Agawam both have pretty exciting pep rallies where they will target their rival towns.

Most high schools and colleges have intense rivalries. Although every sport team wants to win, games against a school’s rival tend to get more intense. This can be seen on multiple levels in football.  Almost every football team in the NFL has a rival. They can make a game much more lively. More fans show pride by painting their faces school colors and wearing lots of school apparel and colors.

Professional sports teams also tend to have well known rivalries. In the MLB, a well known rivalry is the Yankees and Red Sox. The Red Sox were the most successful team in the MLB up until 1918. In 1919, Babe Ruth was transferred from Boston to New York. This was the launch of the Yankee dynasty, where they won 26 titles between 1920 and 2003. During this time the Red Sox struggled during the 50s and 60s and had a bad record. Later on in the 1970’s, the fans on opposing teams would become violent with each other during games and in 1973 specifically there was a fierce fight between both teams. Present day fans for both teams taunt each other in games, but most of time when events looks like they are getting out of hand people are removed. Nothing aggressive on the field has happened within recent years with the Red Sox and the Yankees.

Still, rivalries can sometimes become too intense and turn violent which can lead to an unsafe situation. School rivalries should not turn hateful, and healthy rivalries can be beneficial. As students it is important to take a sport seriously and try hard, but it is also important make sure to have fun while playing.

Rivalries are fun and beneficial as long as they don’t get out of hand, teams are able to push each other to get better and overall help make watching a game more enjoyable.