When I hear the names of those other cities…Pittsburgh, Detroit…my hair stands on end. My spider sense tingles at the sound, like nails on chalkboard. Those dastardly cities with their gag-inducing sports teams.
Detroit: home of the Tiggers and the Pistons, and so close to that team up north. The octopus thing at Red Wings games? Who throws an octopus, honestly?
Pittsburgh, of course, with the spawn of Satan, their mismatched helmets and stupid little washcloths. Cute how all their teams match, too. What’s next? Their sports stars endorsing hair products for men?
Now that I’ve gotten through my over-exaggerated sports rivalry reaction…
I don’t really hate Pittsburgh or Detroit. For one, I haven’t been to either city enough to get a real sense of them. And what I have seen, I’ve liked. I want to know them better.
I still throw in some jabs, as my U of M grad cousin can attest. But deep down, I have no real hatred. I’ll even pull for Mich*cough cough*igan as a Big Ten team…unless they’re playing other Big Ten teams, teams from Ohio, or underdogs.
We have an interesting relation with those cities, historical rivals in both industry and sports. Now the three of us are in the same situation. How can I hate a city when I empathize with them?
Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh…all Rust Belt sentinels looking to solve their problems. If anything this should bring us closer, working together for a better Fresh Coast region. As it is, we look at each other to see what is or isn’t working.
The three will have to compete to attract businesses and industries, and a rivalry will be ever present. Not a bad thing, especially if it means keeping up with the others’ successes.
Painful as it is, the Steelers have been a consistent competitor for playoff spots and Super Bowls since the 70s. And this is what Browns fans want, a team that will challenge the Steelers and the league for success year after year. The Steelers become not just a rival, but a target to aim for. If the Browns improve and achieve some of that consistency, the team becomes better off and the rivalry gets better.
We should want the same for our cities as well. A good, healthy rivalry can be beneficial to all parties if they are willing to step up to the challenges.