HOW TO DEAL WITH A SPORTS RIVALRY IN A FRIENDSHIP

With every new sports season comes a friendship challenge for many of us sporty vinas. Even for those who are not necessarily fans of football or baseball, sports at any time can breathe life into some of us. There’s simply something magical about being able to root for a team, to watch them play, and share your love with other fans.

But what happens when you can’t share your love of your team with your friends? In fact, what if your closest friend roots for your team’s arch nemesis?

First of all, relax. It’s not the end of the world! Part of celebrating our differences is recognizing that our vinas are all humans with their own unique interests, and that includes sports teams.

We may take our sports seriously, but if we have friends that cheer for our most disliked teams, we should be good sports ourselves. Here are a few things to remember when dealing with sports rivalries in a friendship:

Key word is friendly in the term “friendly competition.”

The teams on the field can sometimes be not-so-friendly when playing each other, but that doesn’t have to be the case with your friends. You can be friendly and competitive. Make friendly bets on which of your teams will win more games or win the playoffs. Start a fantasy league together. Go to a game where both of your teams are playing, and have the fan of the losing team buy the winning team’s fan a beer. At the end of the day, you’re still vinas despite the colors you wear.

Don’t take it personally.

Still, sports is competition and in competition, you need to have a thick skin. Trash talk comes naturally in a sports rivalry. It’s OK to rib on your friend’s team and it’s OK for them to rib on yours. Especially in the heat of the moment, some of us may say very negative things about the team, players, or even an entire fanbase. Remember that general negative comments have nothing to do with you. If you feel otherwise, ask your friend to clarify and try to calmly talk it out. When things do get blatantly personal, that can be a problem.

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Try to find common ground.

If you’re both fans of the game and not just individual teams, it should be fairly easy to meet somewhere in the middle. Talk about players you like on the other team. Talk about other teams you both like. You can even talk about teams you both don’t like. You may disagree with your friend on their favorite team, but you may find that you actually share other sports-related opinions in common.

Respect the rivalry.

Sports rivalries are storied and to be respected — after all, it’s just one reason why sports can be so fun! If your rival team wins the playoffs, congratulate your vina because those moments are special for every sports fan. Even if it’s just a regular season win against your team, be a good sport. Share memories, facts, and insights of your team and the rivalry and learn from one another. Put yourself in your friend’s shoes and try to see the game their way, even if just for a minute.

Sports rivalries can be heated, but as long as there’s respect and understanding on both sides, they can make your friendship fiery in a good way. Keep representing your team and have fun!

Looking for a vina to talk sports with? They’re waiting for you here!