Wednesday, July 3, 2013

American History Told Through Sports Rivalries

By Joe Parello  @HerewegoJoe

The 4th of July is nearly upon us, and as we get set to celebrate our independence, let's take a quick look back at our history, as told through popular sporting rivalries.

Florida State Seminoles vs Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes

Long before the white man arrived in the new world, the native people of this great land had to conquer both wildlife and the elements.

Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics: The American Revolution

This was as close as I could get to finding a Patriotic themed team vs something British without the cop-out of "America vs England in something." I mean, Celtics are from the British Isles, so I'm gonna call this a win.

Washington Redskins vs Dallas Cowboys: America's Unethical Treatment of Native Tribes

Not only did early settlers brutalize the native population, infect them with diseases, strip them of their culture and force them to move far from their homes, we still haven't changed this highly offensive team name. For shame.

Lance Armstrong vs French Doping Authorities: The XYZ Affair

Much like President John Adams, who was surprised and furious the French would demand bribes to formally negotiate peace, Lance was shocked to discover that the anti-doping rules of cycling were finally being enforced.

San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers: Westward Expansion and Manifest Destiny

This great rivalry began on the east coast when it was the New York (Baseball) Giants battling the Brooklyn Dodgers, and continues to this day with stabbings and brutal beat downs on the west coast. God bless America!

US Soccer vs Mexico: The Alamo

Ok, total cop-out on this one, but at least the US and Mexico have a legitimately hate-filled rivalry in soccer.

The Battle for the Black Diamond Trophy: The Civil War

This battle between West Virginia and Virginia Tech in football hasn't taken place since 2005 (it was announced today the two will meet annually again, starting in 2021), but represents those enlightened West Virginians separating from those backward-thinking confederate Virginians during the Civil War. Of course, the stereotypes of these two states have changed a bit since then…

Notre Dame vs Boston College: Prohibition

Prohibition of alcohol was an agenda pushed by rural religious extremists (Notre Dame) upon a largely urban and Catholic immigrant population (Boston College). Ok, it doesn't really work because the rural religious groups were Protestant and ND is Catholic, but I'd like to see you find a rural Protestant university with a college football team.

Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals: The Great Depression

This actually has nothing to do with The Great Depression historically speaking, but have you watched these teams play each other in the last 25 years?

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbo vs Lou Ferrigno: World War II

Arnold may be Austrian, but there are rumors his dad was a Nazi, so I think this works. He and his little Italian buddy Franco Columbo ended up besting the new American power-house Ferrigno at the 1975 My. Olympia competition, scoring a minor victory for the Axis Powers 30 years after the fact.

Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier: The Civil Rights Movement

You know the story by now. Ali scared the crap out of white people (He didn't go to war and now had a Muslim name), while they still kinda liked Joe Frazier. Ali never let Frazier forget that he was a white favorite either, essentially calling him an Uncle Tom. Heck, even Bryant Gumbel, the whitest black dude ever, wrote "is Joe Frazier a white champion with black skin?"

Rocky Balboa vs Ivan Drago: The Cold War

Wait, this is from Rocky IV? Oh well, I guess I should've said The Miracle on Ice.

Los Angeles Lakers vs San Antonio Spurs: The Political Polarization of America

You can get taxed into the ground in LA or enjoy your guns and freedom in SA. 'MURICA!

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