Student Voice


April 25, 2024




We must endure all things: love and sports

February 10, 2011

There are two types of “love” that encompass my life.  One is for my beloved professional sports teams, and the other is for family and friends. However, there is a gray area that connects family and friends, and passion for professional sports. What happens when you are forced to choose between one or the other?  Between joy for your significant other that you have known for a short period of time or your beloved team that you have cheered for since you could walk? This dilemma may seem as an easy decision; after all, how could sports come between you and a partner who you have known for so long and have shared deepest thoughts and memories? 

I find that there is a wrench that must be thrown into the fire. How do you “defend” a partner who cheers for a team you have grown to envy and hate; a team that you have despised, rejected and wish nothing but the worst for since childhood? The most obvious example, and most personal to those living near the Minnesota/Wisconsin border is that of the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. What is it that attracts us to the opposite side (or team)?

If you truly claim to be a Vikings fan (which I surely do), shouldn’t there be an immediate red flag that rises when you find out that your “crush” is a die-hard Packer fan? Conventional wisdom would tell you that this relationship is doomed to fail. But as the age-old saying goes; what is mean to be will find a way. 

For the true sports fan; you live, breathe and die with your team and let nothing stand in the way. Isn’t that the way that love is supposed to be too?  Isn’t love defined as accepting someone for who they are, no matter what the circumstances may be?  Isn’t it love that forces you to put down the remote during “the big game” to go to the in-laws or to a dinner party?  However, isn’t love also part of sticking with your team through the good times and the bad? 

Doesn’t that mean that we surrender all common sense and make bets such as wearing the opposing team’s jersey if they lose or having to deal with hours of shunning and bitterness at the expense of the other’s bragging right and glorious moment, if only for a brief moment? 

So the question I seek to answer is how do we, as passionate sports fans who are convinced that we are the number one fan of our beloved team, balance a personal relationship with a person who believes in something we are destined to hate?

I always have to chuckle when I share the story of “bringing home” by my Packer fan boyfriend.  The first question my dad asked him was not about his religion or background, not about his values or parents’ occupations, but what football team did he cheer for?  Now, my dad may have been skeptical because I had already told him that he was from Wisconsin. Somehow, he did end up approving. There are many things that we as humans are capable of loving. 

But as for me, I would rather stick needles in my eyes than cheer for the Green Bay Packers.  The reasons?  Well first and foremost; because they are bitter rivals with my Vikings.  Second; although I will still love my boyfriend, even after the Super Bowl there is still a jealous love that makes me take pleasure in his despair, but only when it comes to sports.  The answer to to the question if we can balance our love for sports and significant others; remain loyal to our team but also to our partners is not an easy one. Just know that love conquerors and endures all things. Right, “pookie bear?”

Ashley Goettl is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the Student Voice from fall semester 2011 to spring semester 2013.