At the USC-UCLA game yesterday (which is, apparently, the big game around here, and for which they can’t call their pre-game bonfire a bonfire, but have to call it Conquest), I was standing in line for the shuttle and this guy behind me was making a lot of comments to his wife — or the woman he was possibly romantically involved with, or not, whatever — about how USC students and fans were stupid, ugly, and deserve to lose. He wanted her to point out where the end of the line was only to UCLA fans. He also hypothesized that the USC slogan, “Fight On,” was a prison thing.
This guy was in his late-50s.
The only connection he had to anything about the game was that some of the kids playing in it currently attend the same institution that he once attended. That’s it. No one playing personally insulted him. Unless he’s a big gambler, he had nothing riding on the outcome. It literally did not matter that some people at a school he attended a long time ago might win a sports thing. That really shouldn’t foster hatred or any strong feelings whatsoever, if you think about it.
And, yet, it does.
I have a hard time understanding this. Of course, I understand it theoretically. Of course, I watch the sports things. And, I root for people/teams and I cheer and I care a little bit, but, unless I personally know you, I don’t really care that much. The outcome of a game is not going to ruin my day — even the ones, like the USMNT game this summer, that I totally mistakenly believe “we” are going to win — unless I get beaten up by an angry opposing fan. And, when you apologize to me later in passing for the outcome of a game, it will take me some time to figure what you did to me. Because the answer is nothing.
I really dislike plenty of people, but I dislike them on an individual level. Like the guy standing behind me in line for the shuttle. I was starting to really dislike him, but not because he went to UCLA, because he seemed like probably a jackass.