One more lesson generated by Los Angeles Dodgers’ (and former San Francisco Giants’) front office guy, Ned Colletti:
I know I’m way way in the minority on this. After all, people love to hate. But I find myself identifying with and liking both sides of rivalries.
I’m a Giants fan, but I don’t hate the Dodgers. I like Ned Colletti, for example. I like Dodgers right fielder, Andre Ethier. I don’t understand why, just because I like the Giants, I have to hate the Dodgers. The Dodgers are human beings. Some of them may be jerks, but a lot of them, like Ethier, are probably pretty cool.
Maybe it’s because I went to college in LA. Maybe it’s because my daughters both live in SoCal. I mean, should I hate them, too? I can like kids going to both Stanford and Cal. I have former students at USC that I like a lot, yet I’m a UCLA guy. (My daughters went there.)
In order to evolve as a species, we need to end stupid rivalries, especially sports rivalries. It’s weird. I don’t think the players hate nearly as much as the fans do. They compete hard and want to win. But after it’s over, for most of them, I bet, it’s over.
Another weird thing about me is my allegiance is more to people than to teams. If I like the players, I like the team. Not the other way around. For example, when I was a kid, because I adored Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, I was a huge LA Laker fan. When they lost the 1969 championship game to Bill Russell’s Celtics, I cried. Today, I routinely cheer against the Lakers because I’m not particularly fond of Kobe Bryant.
It’s not the team. It’s the people on the team that matters. At least to me. Would it be wrong to teach this idea to others? Shouldn’t we want to our kids saying, “It’s not the country, it’s the people in the country to whom I owe my loyalty”
In the “Us vs. Them” disputes, if we examine them closely, we might discover that those belonging to Them are often at least as cool as those belonging to Us.