Connecticut: The Bleeding Kansas of the Sports World
"Bleeding Kansas" is the name given to the that territory as a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which was pushed through Congress by President Pierce. The legislation overturned the Missouri Compromise and allowed new states to vote for or against having slavery in their territory instead of having it determined for them by their location north or south of the Missouri line which sliced America figuratively in half. People from both the north and the south rushed in to vote their minds, leading to bitter fighting. Now I would like to borrow this term and apply it to my home state of Connecticut, which is sandwiched in between New York and Massachusetts (with Rhode Island on the side), with the town of Durham being the midpoint between Boston and New York City. We do not have many professional sports teams of our own to speak of, so most of our residents take sides between rival teams from New York and Massachusetts. While the subject of sports is not as dire as the subject of slavery, the rivalries can become quite fierce.
I'm not a sports fan, but it appears to me that the two most popular professional sports in America are football and baseball. This year's Super Bowl featured the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Normally, from what I've researched, the Patriots' usual rival team is the Jets; however, this match-up seems to be even more provocative and divisive among fans in my state (i.e. I run into more Giants fans than Patriots fans). Either way, the rivalry in this sport almost pales in comparison to the baseball rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. In a realm where trades throw loyalties into question and curses determine luck in terms of winning and losing, this rivalry has become famous even outside the country. In Connecticut, though, this is as real as it gets: friends and families feud over which team to root for. The rest of us are caught in the middle just like children of divorce (which I can say because I am one).
Thankfully, this has not become an issue in the realm of basketball. The teams from those two states (the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks) are not actually rivals at all but are pitted against teams such as the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, and Los Angeles Lakers. In Connecticut, we have the Rock Cats (baseball) and the Suns (basketball) as well as college teams (especially the UCONN Huskies in basketball, football, and just about any sport), but even those don't spark much heat. The team that created the most buzz and had the biggest following outside of college football or basketball was the Hartford Whalers, our beloved hockey team which was sold by our unpopular former governor in the 1990s. Aside from our anger over that, we normally didn't have much to worry about in terms of hockey rivalries. Recently, however, I've read that the hockey teams of both New York and Massachusetts (the Rangers and the Bruins) have entered into a rivalry against each other. I disinterestedly await the fallout that may yet be to come.
Additionally, I have read about a soccer (known everywhere else as football) rivalry between two teams in Scotland (U.K.). However, the issue there is religion, as one team is comprised of Catholics and the other of Protestants. To me that's as stupid as the cross-town rivalries known to high school sports, which can also get pretty ugly from time to time as vandalism is commonly perpetrated by both sides (in my home town).
Blassingame, Wyatt. The Look-it-up Book of Presidents. Random House: New York, 1993.
Coolbaugh Gethin. "Boston Celtics, New York Knicks Rivalry On Hold for the Moment." boston.sbnation.com. 3 Feb 2012.
Spark34. "The Top 5 Sports Rivalries and Why You Should Know It." infobarrel.com. 20 Nov. 2011.
Trotta, Daniel and Daniel Levering. "NFL-Super Bowl Reignites New York-Boston Rivalry." sports.yahoo.com. 1 Feb 2012.