I got into an interesting conversation on Facebook the other day after I posted an update that said, "Kentucky loses. It's a good day." A friend called me a "hater" because of my happiness at Kentucky's loss. Unfortunately, my reply is too long for Facebook, so I thought I would post it here.
Just so everyone knows, I don't "hate" any school or their athletes. I'll quote from one of my favorite theologians, N.T. Wright. "One of the reasons for the abiding popularity of watching sport is that we know from the start who's who. We emerge from the murky world where we live most of the time into the artificially bright light of a straightforward dualism. We support this lot; that lot are the enemy...That's what we want life to be like. We watch sport because it allows us the luxury of a clear-cut dualism in a world where, for the most part, things aren't that easy." (Following Jesus, p. 85).
In my world, "this lot" that I support includes the Reds, Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Xavier and Duke (basketball), OSU and Notre Dame (football) and Hendrick Motorsports (NASCAR). "That lot" which are the enemy include the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, Kentucky (basketball), U. of Michigan (any sport), Roush-Fenway Racing, and pretty much any team from the state of Florida.
I don't even know how some of those teams ever got into one lot or the other, but there they are and there they will remain. I frequently admire teams in "that lot," although I refuse to root for them under any condition, and seeing them lose makes me smile. I've personally hired a rabid Kentucky fan and a Washington Redskins fan. One of my best friends is a Steelers fan. I don't hate any of them, but the teams they support fall into "that lot," and that allows for some good-natured dualistic fun from time to time.