This post will be unpopular but….
A rivalry game should bring out lots of back and forth and good natured ribbing among fan bases. A rivalry game should be celebrated when it is played because we have seen many good rivalries go away, only to return in shortened bastardised versions of themselves. Meaning they play for a couple of seasons, then they go away again. Since the return of this Pitt Penn State Rivalry, the “good-natured ribbing” has been everything but. To watch it unfold on social media is telling.
I realize that the attitude and behavior of a “few knuckleheads” should not dictate if a game is played or not. But from what I have seen and heard so far this week, I would be all for this rivalry just going away. The fan bases take things too far. Regardless how far removed from the Jerry Sandusky Scandal, some Pitt fans are still embarrassingly ugly when showing their disdain for their “rivals” to the east. While the Penn State fans use their superiority complex to belittle the daylights out of Pitt fans. To sit back, watch and listen to these groups shows me just how nasty these fan bases are.
I had a conversation several seasons ago from a good friend of mine, a Very Staunch PSU fan I worked with and he said that as much as he enjoys the idea of this rivalry, he wished it would go away because of how much hatred it brings out. I used to think he was nuts, but I am not so convinced he wasn’t completely accurate.
The fact is, this rivalry should be played because they are both Major Universities and in state competing against similar talent. Penn State as a whole is a much larger school, with a vastly larger fan base that feels they are above this game. While Pitt fans, albeit a smaller group, are every bit as loud because they have the “little brother” complex. They feel like they get no respect from that other team and fan base. That part of it on both sides is childish.
The Foul mouthed hatred spewing from the twitter feeds this week should be embarrassing to both groups.
As a fan, I love this game and regardless who wins, it is a game that should be played every year. In all actuality, Penn State,Pitt, and WVU should all play each other, but that is neither here not there. And by the way, The Pitt WVU rivalry brings out the same type of hatred. I was greeted with a Jack Daniels bottle to the head from 4 rows behind me while at Mountaineer field nearly 20 years ago. I was not wearing Pitt attire, but I was rooting for them and that is all it took.
I can tell you, the media only stokes the fires more and because the local media is comprised of so many PSU Grads, Pitt fans as a whole really feel like their backs are against the wall. Anything that can be taken even remotely negatively, will be taken as heavy bias against Pitt.
So is this what many would call the Knucklehead phenomena? A few screwing things up for the many. Or are rivalries with fan bases this close and with this much hatred actually good for the game? It is a question worth debating and although I believe this is an unpopular sentiment, it would not bother me after these 4 years of games to see this game go away. It does not bring out the best in either fan base or their alumni. I can not emphasize this enough, I am talking about the few, not the many.
Once again though, it is a game that should be played. How do I stratal both sides of this you ask? “Like and Adonis” on Steroids.