Today, the Ti-Cats play the Argos in the CFL. It is one of the largest rivalry games in the league. I am, as I have mentioned, a Dallas Cowboys fan and they have a number of rivals the biggest being the Redskins. Michigan and Ohio State is one of the biggest rivalries in NCAA. In the NBA you have Lakers and Celtics as the major rivalry in the sport. But the Raptors have always been a team with out a real rival.
When they started in 1995 they had a rival in another conference with the Grizzlies. However, that ever really turned into much as the franchises went in different directions fast. The Raptors were always the better of the 2 teams, for basically the entire run of Grizzlies in Vancouver. There was a brief time, when the Raptors first made the playoffs, and the Knicks were actually in them, where they faced each other in back to back seasons. The Pistons seem like a logical rival but have always owned the Raptors until recently with the Pistons collapsed.
Once T-Mac left, Orlando became a rival. The two teams also met in the playoffs once and now Vince Carter is there. In fact where Vince goes has turned into the Raptors rival by default. I don't think the Miami Heat are going to be the Raptors rival in any sense. You need to have it be competitive to be a rivalry right?
It is the one thing that has never really developed for the Raptors. Some would say Boston is a rival but again over the history that has been far to one sided to be considered one. I guess part of having rivalries, if not done based on geography, you need a playoff history, or play in same division and battle for first on yearly basis. As much as the Raptors franchise is heading into it's 16th season their are still some things that you would have expected to happen by now. Having a constant rival would be one of those.
Why don't we make the Cavs are rival now. The two teams are in same situation having their stars bolt to South Beach. Both are expected to struggle and be in a rebuilding process. Cleveland kills us in the bitter department about James leaving them. The attitude here has been kind of like we have seen this movie before. I have yet to see a Bosh jersey in flames. Not that I am endorsing that you go out and be the first to do that.
So as I sit down tonight and root against Toronto in the CFL it just got me thinking, the Raptors are the only team I support that really has no rival. After all rivalries are part of what makes sports fun. Be it Ti-Cats/Argos, Leafs/Habs, Michigan/Ohio State or a hundred others you could mention. When those rivalries happen it means something beyond the records of the teams and it really doesn't matter what season it is. If you mention those two teams together their is a built in reason to watch. The closest thing you get to a playoff atmosphere in the regular season.
Sure everyone will watch when Bosh and Raps hook up, but that isn't really a rivalry it is more of a side show. We need someone to hate beyond just players that have left us. That kind of feeling that the idea of being a friend of someone that likes that other team turns your stomach a little. Sports is about passion after all and rivalries are a huge part of that.
So....Go Cats Go and enjoy your weekend....unless your an Argo Fan....just kidding.....kinda.