Everyone wants to win. Everyone wants to be the best, and most try hard. But sometimes the only difference between who won and who lost is who wanted it more. And often, we need a rival to make us want it more. There in a nutshell is Rivalry Week.
Rivalries are usually the most heated when they are between those who in other circumstances might be close, like siblings. Anyone who ever had an older brother will know what it’s like to not be able to get their hands on the basketball and how that makes them want to grow up, get taller and play keep away from him.
I know of a married couple (not me) who as part of a normal happy relationship are now in a heated battle over who can get the best gas mileage out of their new hybrid! It’s great to beat out a stranger, but it means more when that person means more too.
For me, I have a good friend I play golf with. He’s a hockey guy like me, and we have a lot to talk about between holes; work, life, the usual. But when all is said and done, I really, really enjoy beating him. Now of course, he sometimes gets the better of me too, but that just makes me practice my swing and try all the harder to make him the one who has to buy the drinks after our next Sunday duel. Losers pay after all.
…Or maybe that rival is a team 1 hour and 19 minutes (according to Google) down Quebec Highway 117. Neighbours and rivals, but not quite friends! Not when there is so much at stake.
Rivalry Week is a treat for fans and a way for our 18 clubs to hone their killer instincts. Back to back competition with natural and or geographic foes adds extra pressure but also extra fun to these special games. Players are never tempted to phone it in for Rivalry Week; there is too much pride at stake – Losers pay in the standings after all. It’s not yet the playoffs, but these are no ordinary games. I urge you to attend one – perhaps bring your own personal rival for a night out – and you’ll see what I mean!
** Photo: Denis Baillairgé and Gilles Courteau rivals in golf, but long time friends in hockey. Photo credit: QMJHL Archives / Photo taken in 1996