Rivalries are the cornerstone of football. It helps bring in money from alumni and fans who want to see their arch enemies fall at the hands of the community they have put so much heart, soul and effort into.
Rivalries are the lifeblood of the sports world to Americans. We love to tailgate, play horseshoe, and chant our fight song at the top of our lungs. A rivalry is determined by a certain balance of hatred and respect that supersedes the game itself. They are usually deep rooted and often times we don’t even remember why we dislike each other, but darn it Roll Tide and War Eagle.
Something is in the air this year, and I’m not talking the coronavirus. Rivalries are back, and just in the nick of time.
The rivalries surrounding our local high school teams have slowly crept away as the years have gone on, some having stopped entirely like the Reeltown-Tallassee rivalry that hasn’t been played for 17 years until they hit the field this coming Thursday.
Benjamin Russell-Sylacauga are also renewing their historic rivalry, no longer letting sleeping dogs lie. The Wildcats want all the smoke from the Aggies and vice versa.
With the football season constantly being in question due to the pandemic, the pride of fighting an old foe has been the driving force for our area schools leading up to the season.
Horseshoe Bend coach Jeremy Phillips has pacing and waiting for his team’s chance to go out and play Wadley in the Generals’ opening game.
Central Coosa coach Brett Thomas is eager to get the season started in the Cougars new region. A new region creates the perfect opportunity to establish new rivalries, while closing the chapter on old ones like B.B. Comer and others for the time being.
My first year working as a fulltime sports writer, I am excited to see these rivalry games unfold. You can read more about these rivalries in our upcoming football preview section, the 2020 Gridiron Guide which publishes Wednesday.
Local rivalries aren’t the only ones that mean something.
With college football being the mess it is right now, the SEC could be looking to make changes in either the East or the West, making way for new rivalries amongst Southerners as well.
Right now, I’m convinced if the NCAA steps in and cancels college football as a whole the Iron Bowl will still be played at its usual time slot in November. Football is the food we eat and the air we breathe not only in the South, but as a country. However, the game wouldn’t be what it is if every game was the same. When LSU plays Alabama, I’ve made my plans three weeks out and don’t plan on missing a snap. When Auburn plays Georgia in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, you watch; it’s must see TV. From the elaborate bands, to the cheerleaders, to the crazy fans, it’s a circus you wish you could visit every day.
With that being said, with or without football, tradition means something. Colors don’t run and if football as we know it is canceled, we will all surely will be devastated. Our hatred for a rival team fuels us in our daily lives, driving us to be better than the other on a day-to-day basis. For me, it’s all about being better than a Dallas Cowboy, which I’m not currently in jail so I must be doing just fine.
Ryne Gallacher is a sports writer for The Outlook.