Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rivalries and Derbies

I was perusing and had a read over some of the Cascadia Rivalry articles. It dawned on me that MLS has always used the word rival or rivalry rather than the universal soccer term derby (darby is the British pronounciation) for a heated match/grudge match. Though, numerous announcers especially the British invasion has used the traditional term. In a way being that I am pro use of American terms and people for announcing MLS matches I find it a very calculated move by MLS to use this term.

Yes, derby isn't a common word in the American vernacular unless we are talking about horse racing, ala the Kentucky Derby. However, in that case we use the American pronounciation for this word (being an English teacher who teachs outside the USA I find this fascinating).

Yet, the true reason I believe MLS uses the word rival or rivalry is because of the negative connotation the word could have in the soccer world. MLS has always been about family friendly entertainment, and by replacing the word derby with rivalry it gives it a slightly friendlier connotation. A connotation in which the teams play a hard match on the pitch, but at the end of the day shake hands and everything is okay. Say the name derby, however, and the people who have experienced it will know the difference in the feeling and atmosphere that is experienced on a derby day.

I have no problem (for once) with MLS writers and the league using the word rivalry in place of derby for those US fans that are unfamilar with the term. However, that one word can create so much emotion and passion in a true football fan; and by using the universal soccer/football terms so many can be educated on the ettiquette of the greatest game in the world

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