Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2014

Talk with D-Rok: Hate is good

By Derek Helling, Sports Editor | Apr 10, 2014
Photo by: Journal file photo Derek Helling

I’ve always felt that one of the necessary elements to being a complete sports fan is hatred. Hate engages your emotions just as much as love does. It creates a storyline that you are personally invested in.
The simple fact is that sports, like many other forms of entertainment, need villains. Imagine literature without villains. Without Poseidon’s efforts to prevent Odysseus from reaching Ithaca and the suitors’ work to usurp Odysseus’ throne, Homer’s classic poem would be quite dull. In the same way, the drama of sports is greatly weakened without villains.
Another benefit to hatred in sports is explained by the phrase, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Individuals who share a common hatred can fraternize on that trait.
Another real benefit to hatred in sports is that it can be an escape from the disappointment of a poor season by my favorite teams. Even in losing seasons, seeing the teams that I hate lose can soften the blow of that disappointment. Additionally, it gives me a second team to cheer for besides my favorite in a particular sport, that second team being the particular opponent of the team that I hate in any given game.
Let’s be clear about what the objects of hatred should be. I’m not advocating directing that toward individuals. Whether on the prep, college or professional level, when the uniform comes off, there’s a person underneath. That individual is someone’s daughter or son, perhaps a parent, perhaps a spouse. The colors they put on when they are on the playing field shouldn’t make them the target of my hatred. The target should be the colors themselves, not the person wearing them.
I have my own college and professional teams that I despise for a variety of reasons. It warms my heart to see the teams that I hate struggle to win in a fashion similar to getting a hug from one of my nephews.
As long as it’s not directed at people, but at teams, don’t be ashamed of your sports-related hatred. It makes the games more interesting and creates common ground between fans of different teams. Hate, of sports teams, is good.

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