Team rivalry doesn't have to be aggressive
No matter what sport or level, there is always a team rivalry, but there is a difference between a friendly competition that is spurred by hate or respect. University of Michigan and Michigan State fans have been notorious for butting heads on the turf, but in recent years, coaches have become more civil with the in-state rivalry.
"Bragging rights is fun," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said. "So people who work in the office together, the people in the neighborhood, all of whom are flying their respective flags … these games should be an opportunity for there to be a lot of camaraderie, a lot of healthy competition and the bragging rights, which don't last a real long time cause before you know it here's another contest."
When competition is at its peak, some players may forget that everyone has their eyes on the same prize, and every player, coach and administrator is working as hard as possible to reach that goal.
Parents with kids in youth sports should encourage friendly competition with respect as these colleges are trying to do. In fact, parents can promote friendships between players on opposing teams, handshakes at the end of games and a "well done" pat on the back.