What happens when your son plays for a team that’s not the one your husband coaches?
Jan Elway faced this dilemma when her husband, Jack, was coaching football at San Jose State and her son, John, was the starting quarterback for Stanford in 1982.
Talk about a family sports rivalry.
At SCDS, there are in-family sports rivalries, too.
Sophomore David Boley was a New York Yankees fan as a kindergartner. But when his father, who was born in Long Island, was out of town on a business trip in 2004, Boley had a change of heart.
The Boston Red Sox were winning in the playoffs and eventually won the World Series that year.
So Boley became a Red Sox fan like his mother and like his younger brothers would become.
Boley’s father doesn’t follow baseball as intensely as Boley, so the difference doesn’t cause too much family discord. But his family mostly watches the Red Sox on TV, he said.
Boley isn’t the only student who comes from a broken family, sportswise.
Junior Ben Felix has rooted for the Yankees since he was little. But his father and brother root for the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Yankees’ color is blue (Felix has always liked the pinstripe jerseys, he said), which is his favorite color.
He never liked red, he said, and that’s the Phillies’ color.
The split in the Felix family was hardest during the 2009 World Series when the teams went up against each other.
“It was pretty intense,” Felix said. He and his family stayed up every night watching the games, past Felix’s bedtime.
Felix said it was hard to go to sleep afterwards, because he was pumped up.
He would knock on his brother’s door, yelling insults like, “Ha ha, Phillies suck.”
The Yankees ended up winning.
“So I bragged for months and months,” Felix said.
Junior Max Schmitz is another Yankees fan, but his dad isn’t.
“I can’t remember liking any other team,” he said.
A childhood friend who was a Yankees fan may have influenced him, he said. Schmitz is emphatic when he says he doesn’t like the St. Louis Cardinals, the team his father roots for.
“They are a subpar organization that does not have winning ways like the New York Yankees,” he said.
He and his dad watch baseball all the time.
“We get very aggressive and worked up over this,” Schmitz said.
Both hurl insults at the other’s team, most of which are unfit for print.
And after a win for their respective teams, bragging is a given. How long it lasts depends on how big the win is.
“It could go on for days,” Schmitz said.
History teacher Sue Nellis is also no stranger to family rivalries. Her husband and children are avid Giants fans, while she roots for the Dodgers.
Loyalty to the Dodgers goes back to her grandmother, “Nana,” who thought the best night was one spent in bed listening to the Dodgers game on the radio with a piece of chocolate, Nellis said.
Nellis had some relatives who knew Casey Stengel, a Dodgers player and manager.
And her distant aunt and uncle had seats nine rows over the dugout.
“I got to see some really great baseball when I was a child,” Nellis said. However, she’s married to a man who grew up in northern California.
At first, Nellis tried to persuade her children to root for the Dodgers.
For her daughter Whitney’s first baseball game (Giants against Dodgers at Candlestick Park) when she was 18 months old, Nellis dressed her in a Dodgers T-shirt. “(I) figured the Giants fans wouldn’t kill her,” Nellis said, since she was a young child.
While the fans didn’t kill Whitney, Nellis couldn’t make her a Dodgers fan.
When both Whitney and Nellis’s son Jared were school-aged, their friends were Giants fans, so it was a lost cause for Nellis.
Nellis said she will root for the Giants if they’re in the playoffs, although only if it’s not against the Dodgers, she said.
She’s also sat in the owners’ seats at a Giants game. “I’m sure (my aunt and uncle) were rolling in their graves,” Nellis said.
Nellis once wrote a letter in response to a Sacramento Bee article criticizing Dodgers fans for drinking chardonnay wine and arriving late and leaving early for games.
The 1965 altercation between Giant Pitcher Juan Marichal and Dodger catcher Johnny Roseboro, wherein the former hit the latter with a bat, just served to seal the deal.
Football rivalries can work against a happy home as well. Freshman Jacob Burghgraef ’s parents root for the Oakland Raiders.
Burghgraef’s father tried to make him a Raiders fan when he was 6. He told him the Raiders were the best and had won a number of championships. But they really hadn’t won those titles, Burghgraef said.
But Burghgraef wanted to root for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team that happened to win the Super Bowl that year.
One time, Burghgraef lost $5 on a game.
That was the end of sports gambling for him but not the end of father-son ribbing.
His dad will say “So how are the Steelers doing? Oh, I didn’t hear about it.”
Or he’ll say, “Did you hear that the Steelers got their clocks cleaned?”
If the Steelers lose to a bad team, the teasing is even worse.
Burghgraef gives his dad a hard time too if the Raiders lose, “which is all the time,” he said.
Sophomore Maryjane Garcia and her dad don’t agree on football teams, either.
She roots for the New England Patriots because her dad doesn’t like the team.
“I’m that kind of person,” she said. Garcia’s mother is a Seattle Seahawks fan, so this year’s Super Bowl was a big deal for the Garcia family.
“Between all the fighting and yelling at all the players, who clearly can’t hear you, it was actually quite pleasant,” she said, because she enjoyed having her family together.
Garcia doesn’t trash talk because it’s her mother she would be insulting.
But she and her mother do take bets. “But we usually end up giving it back since we don’t really feel right keeping it,” Garcia said.
If they don’t bet money, they bet each other lunch or dinner.
Garcia said she watches only games featuring the Patriots, so unless the Seahawks are playing the Patriots, the rivalries aren’t a problem.
Football brings out fighting words in sophomore Elizabeth Brownridge’s family, though.
Brownridge roots for any football team except the San Francisco 49ers.
For one thing, quarterback Colin Kaepernick annoys her. For another, she likes to make her parents, who are 49ers fans, mad.
Her mother will get upset and yell at Brownridge and the television.
“She’ll just be like, ‘Ha, ha, in your face!’ or ‘That’s a bad call!’” Brownridge said.
“I just sit there and laugh.”
Previously published in the print edition on Feb. 17, 2015.