WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS New York vs. New England THE FANS

On the northern fringes of New Eng?land, Burlington is a city divided. The sides have long been drawn with the division becoming ever more distinct with every passing sports season. For many residents, the question on their minds is “Boston or New York?” when pledging sports allegiance. But many students fall unwillingly into the gray area between these two factions. This has boiled over into the very fabric that makes up Burlington and UVM’s academic and social community. ESPN has called the “Boston/New York sports rivalry,” one of the greatest in all of American sports and with the title comes a long and illustrious history between the sports teams and the two cities in which they call home. Everyday life in the Northeast, the geographical region whose largest cities are subsequently Boston and New York, is constantly permeated by this athletic tug-of-war. After decades of New York seemingly having the upper hand, recent years have shown the reemergence of Boston sports and a leveling of the playing field.2007 saw the Boston Red Sox win their second World Series championship since 2004, the Patriots assembling one of the greatest football teams ever and the resurgence of the Celtics, leading many to believe in a “Boston Renaissance,” tipping the scales in Boston’s favor. But the Giants’ upset over the Patriots in this most recent Super Bowl once again stoked the coals of the Boston/New York rivalry. But why has this rivalry resonated so profoundly at UVM, spilling outside of just watching the games? Charlie Trinkle, a freshman from Philadelphia noted that it was not uncommon to attend a house party and hear some Boston fan start a “Yankees suck” cheer only to have it erupted into a chorus.It is a familiar remark to hear non-Boston fans talk about how vocal supporters of Boston teams are. Senior Austin Dumas applauded this fanaticism by saying, “There’s a general feeling that they’re passionate fans” only to add “they take it beyond what it should be.” While Dumas is an avid New York fan, there is a sense of what student and Brooklyn resident Isaiah Benedek calls “Team Racism.” The rivalry physically erupted on the night of Oct. 20, 2004 with riots sweeping across the UVM campus. As the crowds grew, the fires burned brighter. Campus looked more like a combat zone and less like an educational institution. Owen Beck, a senior who witnessed the riots, considers the incident to be “the culminating moment in the Boston/New York sports rivalry on campus.” This rare event has become the high-water mark in this heated exchange between the two cities sporting communities and how it plays out in campus life. After the dust had settled, the clean up and replacement of damaged property on campus came to $18,000, Mary Dewey, Director of the Department of Risk Management, said. Police Chief Gary Margolis, a 10 year veteran of the UVM Police Force, said that this incident was the first of its kind at the University. The events, according to University Public Safety, have been labeled as “Celebratory Riots” which, by definition, are “people celebrating the win or loss of a team, and they move into a mob mentality where they lose track of their decision making,” Margolis said. This was all over a game. The Red Sox ended an 18 year World Series appearance drought by defeating the New York team that was ahead by three games in the A.L. Championship Game. It was this moment of jubilation that sparked the destructive nature of the large crowds that gathered on Redstone Campus.Boston subsequently went on to win the World Series and ending an 86 year period of waiting for many fans. The importance of this victory for Boston sports can be seen in the faded t-shirts celebrating the 2004 playoffs still worn by students. Nightlife in Burlington has also been affected. Jeff Amato, a bartender at What Ales You and student at St. Michael’s College, was working the night of the Super Bowl. While he did speculate that a majority of patrons that night were Giants fans, he noted that “had the Patriots won, we would have done a lot more business.”With the opening of baseball spring training this past week, yet another season will soon begin for people of Burlington and UVM students as they will be thrust back into this familiar bout pitting Boston and New York against each other. Whether involuntary or not, they are forced to live in the midst of a heated rivalry while its side effects penetrate various aspects of daily life. While the ghosts of the past may still haunt the minds of many sports fans, it is important to look to the present to continue this heated and historic rivalry.