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Sports for Dummies: Rivalries are far greater than just another game

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that today there is a football game. And this isn’t just any football game, but the Border War, the rivalry game against the University of Wyoming. 

You might be wondering, why is this game so much more important to us than the game we played last week, or the week before? Why do we root so hard against some schools than others? Why are rivalry games even a thing? There are a few reasons things get more heated between certain teams than others.


Distance, or lack thereof

I would argue that most rivalries spring up because two schools are close to each other.

Both of Colorado State’s rivals, the University of Colorado and Wyoming are only an hour drive away. Games between teams become a battle for glory in the area. CSU and CU both want to be known as the best team in Colorado. CSU and Wyoming both want to be known as the best team on their side of the state line.

There are rivalries between teams in the same state or same town all over the country. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, or the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. They all “hate” each other because of their proximity and because the outcome is about more than just the score. It is about bragging rights. 

They are sick of each other

Some teams just play each other entirely too often. They know each other too well, they can make each other tick and get under each other’s skin with no effort.

In certain sports, like baseball or hockey, teams end up playing each other back to back for multiple days. So not only are they seeing a lot of each other, but they do not have time to cool off from the heat of the first game before jumping straight into a second.

The Colorado Eagles just finished up a pretty stellar rivalry with the Rapid City Rush. The two teams met up more times than any other teams in the league before the Eagles left for the AHL, meeting 77 times in the Eagle’s 15-year tenure in the CHL turned ECHL. That’s at least five times a season, where other teams might play each other twice at most.

The sheer amount of meetings led to hostility, flaring up a rivalry. 


They can’t seem to beat each other

Some teams just have a history of playing close games or nail-biter series’ against each other.

There might be one team that beats the other every time and angers the underdog. Or maybe the results are pretty split, but they both get motivated wanting to be the one that comes out on top this time.

The Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have a proximity rivalry, but they also face off against each other often because they are both good teams.

The Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings have hated each other for some time because they met five times in five years in the playoffs. This is similar to the playoff streak between the Penguins and the Washington Capitals, with the Capitals finally coming out on the top of that one last year, making it the second out of 11 meetings the Capitals have won. It is not hard to hate a team you just can not beat. 

So if you are confused as to why we care about Wyoming enough to run the game ball from Laramie to Fort Collins or carry a big heavy bronze boot statue around, you are probably not alone.

But rivalries arise for many reasons and are not taken lightly by fans and athletes alike. So while today isn’t the Rocky Mountain Showdown or Homecoming, it is a big game and a good time to get hyped. 

Ashley Potts can be reached a or on Twitter @ashleypotts09. 

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