Sports are a universal language, activities that bring people from across the country (and from across the world) together to play, watch, and marvel. One of the most compelling components of sports is rivalry – the fight between the “good guys,” aka your favorite team, against the “bad guys,” aka the most hated team in your city. It’s the electricity of the competition, the constant push and pull of leads and ties and wins and losses that grip us to these games. We want to win just as badly as the players on the field do, and there’s only one way we can express that sensation of desire: by cheering on and rooting for our favorite team as loudly as we can while booing and cursing our rivals. Rivalries between certain teams have existed for decades, but nowadays, there are a few across all of sports that stand out among the rest. Here are five of the best current rivalries in sports.
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New York Yankees versus Boston Red Sox
It’s a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme. Yankees versus Red Sox. This rivalry can be traced back to 1919, when the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees, thus creating the “Curse of the Bambino,” a championship drought that would plague Boston until they finally won the World Series in 2004. In the past decade, it’s been a lot of back and forth between the Yankees and Red Sox, as both have won World Series during the past 10 years (Boston’s actually won three, including 2004), and in some ways, the unpredictability of which team will come out on top when the two of them play each other has only made this rivalry more interesting to watch.
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Vancouver Canucks versus Los Angeles Kings
The rivalry between the Canucks and the Kings is toxic that the dram even goes off the ice, where the two teams have always play hard-fought games against each other and have split their two postseason series in the past four years. LA Kings players have been quoted saying, “We don’t like them [the Kings] , absolutely,” and even the Kings’ Twitter page was used to mock Canucks’s fans back during the 2012 playoffs. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to see these two teams play each other during this postseason, but I doubt the Kings care since they’ve made it to the Stanley Cup Finals again.
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Seattle Seahawks versus San Francisco 49ers
Two head coaches who dislike each other from back in their college coaching days. NFC West opponents that play each other twice a year during the regular season. A thrilling back and forth NFC Championship game against one another last season. Oh yeah, and that trash talker, Richard Sherman. Is there any real question why the Seahawks and 49ers are on this list together? It’ll be interesting to see if the 49ers will be able to dethrone their rivals, as the Seahawks are coming into the 2014-15 NFL season as the reigning Super Bowl champions after easily defeating the Broncos back in February.
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Miami Heat versus Indiana Pacers
These two teams just met up again in the Eastern Conference Finals (with the Heat winning again), but it’s the back and forth on the court, no so much the winning and losing that make the Heat and Pacers one of the more interesting rivalries in sports right now. Whether you’re talking about Tyler Hansbrough flagrantly fouling Dwayne Wade, Shane Battier kneeing Roy Hibbert in the gut, or even Lance Stephenson blowing and talking into Lebron’s ear, there’s been no shortage of drama between Miami and Indiana over the years.
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Rafael Nadal versus Roger Federer
These two tennis players were ranked No. 1-2 in the world for years. (Federer is now currently ranked 4th.) Together, the two of them have won an astounding 15 of the last 16 Grand Slams, most of them over the course of five sets. And yet it seems that Nadal has the edge when it comes to this rivalry. He’s only 28 years old, while Federer is 32, and more importantly, over the course of their 33 matches against each other, Nadal has a commanding 23-10 lead over Federer.
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