nderscoring the great rivalries of world sport is historical context. Elevating the competitive tryst of two athletes, two teams or two nations are the political or cultural environs that inform the contest. A game of water polo 15,000 kilometres away from a revolution; a football match 19 years after an Islamic revolution; a 100m final raced under the imposing béton eaves of the Olympiastadion.
The early days of the association were dominated by battles between titans in and . The league’s popularity was driven to new heights by arguably the greatest rivalry in basketball history between and .
A Baseball Fable
Three disconsolate baseball fans met in the woods. Each was very much concerned about the chances of his team returning to the World Series. Frustrated, the turned to God.
"When will my Cardinals return to the World Series?" the St. Louis fan asked. And God replied: "Not in your lifetime."
"When will my Cubs return to the World Series?" the Chicago fan asked. And God replied: "Not in your children's lifetime."
"When will my Red Sox return to the World Series?" the Boston fan asked. And God replied: "Not in my lifetime."
Source: Red Sox vs Yankees : The Great Rivalry (page vi)
It's been called one of the great rivalries of the art world — a clash between egos, riches and ideologies. In the spring of 1932, capitalist (and prolific collector of Mexican art) Nelson Rockefeller hired Mexican painter and staunch socialist Diego Rivera to paint a mural for the lobby of the newly erected Rockefeller Center in New York City. Sketches were drawn and approved, but when reporters leaked that Rivera had added an image of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, a battle began.
And a chance for us all to revel in the last great NHL rivalry one more time. Because it was classic. Even for the guys who suffered the most through it.