by Rick Nash
The past week has sparked an almost-shocked tone of discussion about the existence of schadenfreude in sports, particularly football, consumption. I'd imagine it's because only the half-hearted fans rear their heads towards the end of the season to join in the conversation and are shocked by what they see. "You're all so AWFUL to each other!" they'll say. "These people are your friends! Stop being so mean to them!"
Yes, they're our friends. And yes, we do take pleasure in their pain. And they do the same to us too. That's typically the common bond that makes us friends. It's what we talk about. It's how we relate to each other. Not to be too blunt and sexist, but in stereotypical terms men tend to rip into each other about sports and girls tend to build each other up by talking about how their hair looks amazing (yes, I realise that a lot of men/women don't do one and do the other, but I'm illustrating a point using offensive, lazy stereotypes here...and now you understand it better, so fuck off).
The battle of Man Utd vs Liverpool is about as primal in sports' fans existence as it is for cats to forever be the enemies of mice. It makes no sense. Surely the two can co-exist in peace? I'm sure they could, but if cats and mice didn't beef then we wouldn't have Tom & Jerry or Itchy & Scratchy. Similarly United and Liverpool fans probably wouldn't find football nearly as interesting without this pointless, never-ending feud of 'My Dad would bash your Dad' proportions.