Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rivalry and James Boag's Lager

What makes a Rivalry?  I've dropped quite a few paragraphs over at the Penn State sports blog Black Shoes Diaries on the matter from the conference expansion rumors up through the recent schedule announcement for 2016/17.  It may be better to start with what a rivalry isn't.  A rivalry between two teams/clubs/schools does not come from geography, playing each other frequently, or exchangingtrophy (though such things can help get one started and keep a rivalry vigorous through down years).  A lasting rivalry requires meaningful or memorable games, such as standing in each others way toward post season glory or controversial antics or calls.  A contest need not be especially close or have dramatic implications, so long as there's a memorable narrative fans can take away.  Once you have those memorable contests, you need to keep playing, giving fans an opportunity to relive and expound upon those memories, whilst passing the feelings and sense of community on to younger fans.  It's that sense of community and patriotism (for your team and against that team) that builds a strong and enduring fanbase.
Pitt and PSU had this for a while, year after year of close games and shared memorable experiences.   But Pitt lost it's mojo for a decade with some bad teams and diminishing fan support in a region dominated by pro franchises.   All the while PSU grew more distant in the Big Ten until they eventually decided to drop the Pitt series for more variety and national appeal in their schedule.  There will always be folks who work with fans and graduates from the other school to keep the conversations alive, but without new contests the memories of past games will grow stale while new fans have nothing new to contribute and resort to academic comparisons and empty what-if scenarios.

It's a bit different with pro teams, since the scheduling is usually out of their hands and they have more simplistic organizational goals, but the principals of shared memories and opportunities to relive them as a group are just as true and just as important to the organization's popularity and bottom line.  Savvy owners and commissioners seek to promote and protect these rivalries and sometimes succeed (keeping Dallas in the NFC East) and sometimes fail (Separating Oklahoma and Nebraska into different divisions).
If this image just feels wrong to you, you certainly understand what a rivalry is.
James Boag's Lager was another Outback Steakhouse find.  It's brewed in Tasmania and that is its most distinguishing characteristic. I found it to be a refreshing, archetypical pale-lager.  I'll call it "the Heineken of the southern hemisphere," though perhaps with smaller production and less of an ad campaign.  Nothing special and inflated in price do to its origin on the complete opposite side of the world; I wouldn't get it again.

1 comment:

  1. Blogger does not change the url if you re-title a blog post. My typo is now immortalized forever.