I was going over my Facebook wall the other day when I saw someone post a tweet from @Bobby_Heugel.
Bobby’s apparent logic in cheering against the Texas Rangers is based solely upon the fact they are Dallas’ baseball team. This tweet is indicative of a behavior in Houston that is getting more than a bit old. It made us look foolish when the Houston Texans played the Dallas Cowboys earlier this season, and it’s just silly when you try to apply the same hatred towards the Rangers. . .
Houston, get over Dallas already.
I’m not saying that you cannot hate Dallas. It’s a free country, you’re able to hate whoever and whatever you wish. However, if your hatred of Dallas centers from anything relating Houston, well, I’m afraid that is all part of your own Houstonian insecurity, and has very little to do with anything in Dallas. And, frankly, Dallas doesn’t give a damn.
Before I continue, let me give you some of my own personal history with Dallas. I went to school at Texas Christian University from 1996-2000. One of the first things I did as a new Fort Worth resident was subscribe to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It didn’t take me long to see that the people in Fort Worth exhibited the same kind of disdain for Dallas that I had grown up with in Houston. I found Fort Worth to be a pretty great city, and felt like if two great cities like Houston and Fort Worth hate Dallas, then Dallas has to be worthy of that ire. I went on to continue to happily proclaim my distaste for the Big D.
But this started to change fairly recently. You see, I have a brother that lives in Dallas. He was born and raised in Houston, just like me. He was a big fan of the Oilers, Rockets and Astros, and continues to be a fairly dedicated Houston sports fan. However, shortly after he moved to Dallas, he became a Cowboys fan. I know, I gnashed my teeth, and he has gotten an earful. Here’s the thing, my brother had to put his Houston pride aside to have any kind of social life in Dallas during the NFL season. It’s part of the very fabric of the culture there, and I can totally understand that, although it pained me to see him in a Cowboys football jersey.
He recently told me that after the Astros traded Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, that his last ties to the Astros had been cut, and he didn’t think he would really follow the team as closely. Factor in the aforementioned Texas Rangers World Series appearance, I’m sure his baseball allegiances have been similarly changed. He still loves the Houston teams, but his #1′s are now Dallas teams. It was while we were talking about the Texans vs. Cowboys game this season when he intimated to me that Dallas fans were mostly apathetic to beating the Houston Texans. Frankly, they didn’t give a damn whether the Cowboys beat the Texans or not. They were more concerned about what was happening with the Giants, Redskins and Eagles. You know, the teams they actually have rivalries with.
Which brings me to my next point. Houston vs. Dallas, from a sports angle makes no sense at all. To have a real rivalry in sports, there are a few things that need to be present to call it a rivalry. They are listed in order of importance.
What’s In a Rivalry?
This is the foundation of a lot of sports rivalries. However, interstate rivalries are only a big deal in college football.
In any sport, you play your division rivals more than any other teams in your league. Rivalries come from constant contact, constant back-and-forth for the division lead and title. In short, your divisional rivals are the first teams you walk over to get to the top. In this category, only one Dallas team shares a division with its Houston counterpart.
This could also be called Playoff Rivalry. This is really a bigger source of the bad blood that feeds a really great rivalry in professional sports. This is generally indicative of a short to long period of time where two teams that are sitting at the top of their conference or league meet year after year in the playoffs. You know, going in to the season, that the road to the championship will run through one of two cities, and winning home field advantage isn’t only about being at home against this one team during the playoffs.
One of the greatest rivalries in sports is the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Boston Celtics. They are two of the most storied franchises in the NBA, and they have fought on the biggest stage in their sport more than any other team. Houston and Dallas teams have NEVER played each other for a championship in a major professional sports league.
Houston Texans/Oilers vs. Dallas Cowboys
As this is a football rivalry, and this is Texas, this is certainly a great opportunity for a good rivalry. However, at no time have these two teams faced each other with something other than bragging rights on the line. This would be the quickest match-up to reach a good boil if they ever had the chance to meet in the Super Bowl. However, Cowboys fans, of which a strong base exists here in Houston, don’t really care about the Texans. The Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, the Texans are years from ever getting to that level, if they ever will.
Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks
As this is the only divisional rivalry, it has the most bad blood, but that has only really come about over the past 5 years. The Hakeem Olajuwon era, the golden age of Houston Rockets basketball, never featured a great tussle with the Dallas Mavericks. Furthermore, the last few years have been the only time these teams have really been good enough, at the same time. The Rockets have two titles on the Mavs and, like the Texans, it will take them a long time to catch up. This match-up also pales in comparison to their either teams’ rivalry with the San Antonio Spurs.
Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers
There just isn’t anything to suggest these teams are true rivals. They hadn’t even played during the regular season until Interleague Play was introduced in Major League Baseball in 1997. Since then, these teams haven’t been all that good at the same time. It wasn’t until this year that both had even earned a trip to the World Series.
Again, I am not suggesting Houstonians become fans of Dallas sports teams. You are free to cheer however and whoever you choose. However, I will state there is no historical basis hating these teams. More often than not, the rivalries that are so hyped by Houstonians have less to do about the teams than they do about the intercity rivalry between Houston and Dallas. While I didn’t touch upon it above, it goes without saying a great rivalry needs two parties to care about it. In the case of Dallas vs. Houston, I’m afraid Houstonians are the only ones who care.
In the end, I think we’d all feel better if we just said, “The hell with Dallas,” and go on living the good life in Houston, Texas. It’s often said that life is too short to live in Dallas. I’m starting to think life is too short to waste time hating Dallas.