When rivalries go too far

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Rivalries are good but sometimes things go a little overboard

Rivalries are a part of sport.  They create an intense atmosphere but also an exciting one.  Fans want the bragging rights.  They want the pride that comes from knowing their team defeated their rivals. Teams want to walk away content that they got the job done in a heated matchup.

However, sometimes rivalries are taken a bit too far, especially among the fans. The BYU-Utah men’s basketball game from Wednesday night is a perfect example of that.  As expected there was a lot of buildup to the game and not all of it in a positive manner.  Take a look for instance at the tweet below from the Mighty Utah Student Section.

Now don’t get me wrong, BYU is guilty of some of the things portrayed here.  But should putting down another school for their mistakes be the type of thing that fuels a rivalry?

It all boiled over to the game as well as many fans saw.  Late in the game BYU’s Nick Emery landed a punch on Utah guard Brandon Taylor and was ejected.

After the game, Taylor and Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak both said that Emery said “stay down” after the play.  Either Krystkowiak has significant hearing or he is trying to add fuel to this fire as he was on the other side of the court in a loud arena.

Either way, what has happened to getting back to playing with intensity and controlling those emotions, especially in rivalry games?  Both teams want to walk out of the arena with a win and both teams are going to play hard so why push it to another level that doesn’t need to be there?

It has happened at UVU as well.  On February 27, 2014, fans stormed the court after the Wolverines defeated New Mexico State.  A brawl ensued and regulations about fans running on the court have been implemented.  Now, when New Mexico State comes to the UCCU Center, it is the biggest game on the schedule for UVU fans.  How is it that a fight against a team that has dominated the Western Athletic Conference fuels a rivalry and hatred?

Whatever fuels the rivalries, there is hope that the way fans act will change and that they will realize that it’s just a game.  Cheer your team, support them, stand behind them.  But lets not continue to go overboard when it comes to playing our rivals.