In a recent press conference, Jerome Tang made a poignant statement in regard to the rivalry between Kansas State and Kansas. "My message to our students, I don't want them to show up to the game and yell and scream and for our fans to show up to the game because they hate the other team. I want them to show up because they love Kansas State." Tang explained. This quote got me thinking, about the Kansas State fanbase's past when facing Kansas at Bramledge, about Texas Tech and what happened with Kevin McCullar, Mizzou and how they reacted to KU being on their court for the first time in a decade. The list goes on, but the common denominator among all was one thing: "Hate" and rivalry.
These terms can sometimes go hand in hand, especially if the rivalry extends beyond sports, such as the Border War. Sometimes the hate is used in a lighter, more playful sense, KU calling K-State "Little Brother", the back-and-forth jabs between fans and players alike, and stuff that is seen as rivalry, but maybe not as ugly or fierce as say, KU and Missouri constantly reminding each other on their respective histories, namely dating back to the Civil War era. However, that type of true, disrespectful hate can seep into really sports exclusive rivalries. The KU/K-State fight at Allen in 2020, throwing personal insults at one another like what Texas Tech did to Kevin McCullar, and other obvious examples. You get my point, sometimes rivalries can get ugly, but does that ugliness have a place in today's rivalries? That is the question I ask today to you, do you enjoy the energy behind rivalries? Is it too much? Is it too little? What needs to change?
As for what I think, I think a healthy dose of venom is alright, but violence and personal insults are a bit much. When you're shouting praises about Quantrill, a man that will live in infamy in American history given what his mission was, it's somewhat of an issue. Banter or not, the man left a negative impact and defended one of the ugliest parts of American history. Is that truly what the University of Missouri represents? On the same side of the token, Kansas fans, you were not there when the raiders burnt down Lawrence, stop acting like it. Bringing up why the rivalry exists is one thing, using it as weaponry to monger hatred and vitriol on a level that could escalate to violence is another. Violence in sport should be left in a controlled environment, in other words, the field of play. Sports are not even close enough justification to inflict violence on one another, but a bit a vinegar never hurt.
I ask your thoughts though: Is the level of "hatred" in rivalries today okay? Do you want to see more venom? Less? What do you think needs to change? Let me know in the comments below, and be featured in next week's ScorchCast. Cheers!
Burn Notice: 10/10 Burning Hatred