The Importance of Rivalry

I’m currently mired in what may very well be the most miserable few months of my existence. Given this situation, I’ve been pondering a lot of existential questions, and have come to some conclusions. Bear with me for a bit, the point is coming.

I don’t want to delve into the details of my situation, but the most important question it has forced me to ask is, “What is a really valuable pursuit? What could I be doing that would feel right?” This is a difficult idea for my dumb little mind to wrap around, but eventually the sludge gave way and my brain pumped out an answer. The most fulfilling path would be one with clear cut results. I want to be doing something where I know exactly how well I’ve done, how I will be measured, and what the consequences ill be. Enter rivalries.

As a microcosm of society, rivalries are beautiful. Rivalries provide a sort of faux-conflict that allows for us as fans to focus in and not worry about anything else for just the brief window of that clash. There are no moral victories in rivalries, no half-measures, no second-guessing of wins. Your team wins and you win, or your team loses and you lose and the rivalry builds.

So while I sit and question why I’m asked to do the seemingly aimless tasks which emanate endlessly¬†from my superiors, I can take solace in the fact that when Notre Dame comes up against Michigan, or the Yankees head to Fenway for a weekend, I’ll know exactly where I stand and exactly how to act. Even in defeat, a sort of bitter joy comes of rivalries, in knowing that something you care about makes perfect sense.

Signing off from the depths of hell,

Mickey O’Connor

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