Despite growing up in a household that rooted for the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears, I became a Cardinals fan early on because my father brought me to as many Cubs versus Cardinal games as he could.
I was never pressured to pick a sports team to root for, and even my mother was a Cardinals fan before she met my father.
I developed my own opinions and subsequently became a New Orleans Saints fan because of their strong team.
I see different types of internet memes related to sports teams all the time, usually making fun of other teams or players. This is all good fun, but sometimes people can take rivalries too far and resort to just flat-out bullying or even worse, violence.
An example of this can come from the Football War, which was a short conflict between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969.
War nearly began over soccer games where players were reportedly mistreated while visiting, which escalated as they visited each other’s countries for a series of games.
In a less serious matter, rivalries can end up hurting friendships over how heated anything surrounding sports can get.
According to a study from West Virginia University, aggression related to a person’s team identification, or which team they root for, can influence the likelihood for them to act violently towards opposing teams, verbally or physically.
Unnecessary violence or negativity from sports team identification and rivalry is never okay. Sports are meant to be fun. Insulting others based on their team preference can keep people away from the sport you enjoy, and it doesn’t contribute in any positive way.