Yoshi’s definition of rivalry

Rivalries exist in sports and make sports more attractive. For example, in the AFL, MCG is packed on Easter Monday when Geelong and Hawthorn play.


Recently I was thinking how rivalry was established in my mind in Japanese baseball.


* Please note the author is no longer watching Japanese baseball because the games are too boring and how media broadcast on free to air TV. Even I dislike the sport now.


When I supported a big baseball team, an opponent team from the same city chose to offer four balls deliberately towards a famous good player who later played in the US. I hated how they treated him and started disliking the opponent’s catcher and manager. Even the manager was liked in Hokkaido (where I was born and grown up), I hated the manager because of how he treated then my favourite player. Indeed the opponents became my rivals.


This process can be seen how St Kilda supporters feel towards Collingwood due to the Nicky Winmar incident in 1993. He was thrown racism comments by opponent supporters and then stripped off his gurnesy to show his proudness of an indigenous.


Then how are cross town rivalries established?


Essendon and Carlton are said old enemies, but their rivalry could be established as the modern one in 1981 when then Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy brought dislike towards Carlton from his old Richmond. Carlton and Richmond shared successful era in 1970.


Two success teams can be rivals. Then sharing the most flags of 16 each by Essendon and Carlton expresses rivalry itself.


Grand Finals can create rivalries. It’s said St Kilda and Collingwood are rivals due to one-point win in the 1966 Grand Final (as well as Winmar incident I have mentioned above).


Then Geelong and Hawthorn are said to establish modern rivalry in the 1989 Grand Final and to deepen it in the 2008 Grand Final. The infamous Kennett curse continued making the rivalry more bitter afterwards.


Disputes and decisions can also create rivalries.


The Blues’ another old enemy of Collingwood were admitted into VFA in 1892. Carlton found Collingwood would play only 17 games that year even playing at least 18 matches was required to VFA clubs. Then the club secretary suggested the league to cancel the game against South Ballarat and to have an extra game against Collingwood.


They faced the first game at Princess Park and Carlton won. But the rivalry had been seen as friendly one until 1910 VFL Grand Final. The massive brawl occurred at the last quarter and players were handed heavy suspensions. Collingwood won the Grand Final, and Carlton vowed to never forget the day. Five years later Carlton avenged and won the flag.


On the other side of the world, in the English Premier League, Everton and Liverpool have huge rivalry that brings most red card games when two clubs play as Merseyside Derby.


Surprisingly their home stadiums are only less than a mile away across Stanley Park.


Everton President John Houlding created the rivalry in the English football. Everton played at Anfield since 1885. Then the rental dispute occurred between Houlding and the club committee. And the dispute was involved by politics causing faction. Consequently the Everton committee left the stadium and the club was relocated to Goodison Park. Then Houlding established Liverpool FC in 1892.


Sports are great but politics affect sports a lot, sadly.


Another remark of rivalries is coming from players’ issues. The modern rivalry of the Western Bulldogs and Great Western Sydney has been established due to Ryan Griffin’s trade request from the kennel.


My hidden rivalry is existing towards Melbourne Demons because Dees lost to St Kilda deliberately in 2009, it’s said. I am happy with wins, but feel disgusted if the opponents have no efforts.


In my opinion, we won’t have passions of sports without rivalry. Let’s enjoy rivalry.

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Ged Zochling says

    Love your work Yoshi. Simple, clear and beautiful.

    Do you have a Twitter account?


    Ged Zochling
    Nhulunbuy, Australia

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Hey Yosh,
    Nice work. Collingwood v Carlton rivalry is the most heated I reckon. If they had played more finals in recent years this would become more apparent.

    In Greece, Olympiakos v Panathanaikos brings the cops in full riot gear. Got to see it first hand in 1993. Scary and exhilarating at the same time : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-_FGAw3aG4

  3. G’day Ged and Phil,

    Thanks for your comments guys!

    Ged – Thanks for your compliment. Sadly I have no Twitter account but I am on Facebook and Instagram.

    Phil – Thanks for the video link. The incident is so crazy and fans from both clubs seem to have exaggerated passions and behaviours. I took further research and the BBC article says both clubs have big rivalry history. Massive!! And I agree with you that rivalry would be bigger if two clubs appear Grand Final. St Kilda had rivalry with Geelong as both clubs had tough times and established the new era in mid 2000s and appeared Grand Final in 2009. And blockbusters can create rivalries too; St Kilda and Carlton had friendly rivalry while both clubs played the following day of Mother’s Day. Moderated flares occurred on the field.



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