Watching the Seahawks-Falcons game from this past Sunday, I was drawn to the rivalry and showmanship that accompanied the Richard Sherman and Roddy White matchup.
A quick primer for the uninitiated: Sherman plays defense and most of the game was up against White, a receiver for the Falcons. Early on, Sherman had some great plays on defense, knocking down some passes from the Falcons quarterback, Matt Ryan. After each successful play, Sherman would taught White and Falcons fans. White would yell something back at him.
This continued, even when White caught a long touchdown pass against Sherman. When White scored, Sherman mock applauded him. Here's a GIF:
To me what was outstanding, when I usually don't care for much trash talk, is that each player made the other better. Sherman's success early in the game knocking down passes forced Ryan and White to adjust and they scored because of it.
And this is what our rivalries should do for us, whether on campus or in an office: they should make us better at our chosen craft. They should force us to adjust in order to improve. They should make us better, and not worse.
Rivalries that result in violence, hatred, or bigotry don't have a place for us, whether in the classroom, the quad, or the cafeteria. But rivalries that improve the community by making us care more, try harder, and work better should be welcomed.