More than a game

rival /raiv(ə)l/ n. & v. – n. 1 a person competing with another for the same objective.
enemy /’enəmi/ n. (pl. –ies) 1 a person or group actively opposing or hostile to another, or to a cause etc.

Rivalry comes in many forms and many levels of intensity. Every football team in Brazil – and potentially in the world – is a rival of Palmeiras’. A few, like Vasco, enjoy a privileged relationship; when the two meat on the pitch, the supporters in the stands often mix up, watching the game side by side. However, an absolute majority of rivals fit in the “não fede nem cheira” (don’t stink nor smell) category, not provoking any specific reaction.

Other rivals make many Palmeiras supporter’s hearts beat faster. This can relate to the historical or actual strength of the team (like Flamengo) or some bad blood due to recent provocations; Sport, from the city of Recife, is a good example of the latter.

Then, there are the local teams, promoting the derbies… The rivalry comes from years, decades, sometimes close to a century of co-existence. Beating Santos feels great. Beating Corinthians – the biggest rival of them all – feels fantastic. Rivalry is good.

Don’t mistake a rival for an enemy. An enemy is something very different. São Paulo Futebol Clube is the enemy. The cut goes deep and has never healed. Neither will it ever heal. Palmeirenses know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t done your homework, do the short read-up on the events of 1942 (scroll halfway down this page), when a leader died and a champion was born.

Palmeiras haven’t beaten SPFC in the Morumbi stadium since 2002. Tomorrow is just as good a day as any to reinvent that spirit from 1942. Actually, it’s an above average day to reinvent it. Hell, yes!

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