Webster Missed This One

Chip StevensonCorrespondent IOctober 6, 2008

hate/respect (hāt·ri·spekt): verb, to have a healthy appreciation or admiration for a person, team, sport, place, object, or idea that, at the same time, invokes intense and unwavering unhappy feelings

Being a die-hard Detroit sports fan, I have, in a way, been forced against my will to discover this concept of hate/respect (it should be pronounced quickly like one word- haterespect).  
You see, contrary to popular belief, Detroit sports do not always have the type of success that we all dream of, yet I cannot bring myself to root for other sports teams even when the Detroit teams are out of contention.  
Take the Detroit Lions for example- My most vivid memory of Lions playoff lore comes from all the way back in 1995 when Lomas Brown, an offensive lineman on our team, guaranteed victory in the first round against the Philadelphia Eagles, and then the Lions produced a 58-37 loss.  Sweet.  I remember acting like a prepubescent Tony Kornheiser as I analyzed Lomas Brown's guarantee with all the insight that a 9 year old has to offer, and I even recorded it all on my talkboy.  
Clearly, the lack of success of the Lions could push a normal sports fan towards rooting for another, more successful team.  But I guess I am not a normal fan because I will always root for the Lions and any other Detroit team even if they go 31-81 since 2001 and have huge fan-coordinated rallies to get the GM fired (50 games under .500, seriously???!!!!).  
So, to keep my sanity, I often find myself absolutely loathing a more successful opposing player or team with all my soul yet still looking up to them in a way.  And this is how the concept of hate/respect was born.

Just to be clear, there are two distinct yet equally important aspects of the hate/respect concept: 1.) hate and 2.) respect.  For example, I do not hate/respect NASCAR because even though I can't stand anything about it, satisfying criterion number 1, I also do not have one iota of respect for it, violating criterion number 2 (watching men drive around in ovals 500 times? I'll pass).  
So, without further ado, here is a long but still not exhaustive list of things that I hate/respect...

... Derek Jeter.  He's a Jankee, he dated all of those celebrities, and he sucks at defense- all strikes against him. But he still wins so damn much, and he's from Michigan.

... The Intentional Walk.  It's basically a signal that the team is giving up, waving a white surrender flag and saying, "We can't get this guy out so let's roll out the red carpet for you on your way to first base and beyond," but it's still sometimes completely necessary to win the game- bottom of the 10th, less than 2 outs, guy on third, walk the bases loaded to set up the double play and the force out anywhere.

... Chili's Awesome Blossom.  Onions are by far my least favorite food so I would never eat anything close to this (the opposite of ranch dressing), but I respect it for being 2,710 calories and 203 grams of fat. Seriously, that's like a year off your life.

... Male Figure Skaters.  They are so damn feminine (two links because one is not enough) and I hate them for not just playing hockey instead, but many of them can do four full 360s in the air in one jump and that's no joke and they sometimes have to deal with dropping their partners. Yikes. 

... The Mid Season Trade.  They always bring those unavoidable feelings of illegitimacy, but sometimes they bring that sweet success that makes it all worth it. 

... Lefty Specialists a.k.a. LOOGYs (Lefty One Out Guys).  They throw so goofy and they have such a ridiculously small role, but I respect them for coming into those tight situations and getting the opponent's best player out using only smoke, mirrors, and guts

... The Spelling Bee.  Cool, man.  You are a really good speller, and I'm sure you have put in a ton of work to get where you are today.  I use spell check.  

(By the way, last year's winning word was serrefine and I swear that the squiggly red line that shows up under a word when you misspell it just showed up under that word even though I just copied and pasted it from the Spelling Bee's website.  Karma's a bitch.)

... Boy Bands.  They completely sold their souls (my college roommate, Matt Ballinger, is the one all the way to the right), but they made a ton of money and probably hooked up with a ton of girls.

... Whiskey.  Whenever I drink whiskey, I feel like my whole body rejects it- all my muscles clench at once and all I want to do is spit it out.  But I still feel like a man for drinking it, and I can respect any drink that makes your toilet angry the next morning. 

... Fouls at the End of NBA Games.  They usually just prolong the inevitable, and they make betting on NBA games a very unstable venture, but it still works every once in a while and it succeeds at stopping teams like Memphis who as a team shot 61% from the charity strip from winning a championship.

The list goes on and on... I could have included the designated hitter, switch hitters, salads, manual transmissions, and even the city of Boston on the hate/respect list, but I'm sure you get the idea by now.  I'm also sure that more names will be added to the hate/respect list as time goes on, and I'll post more about these new inductees in the future as they get initiated.  Go spread the concept around and enjoy the results.  You're welcome.  

Any major ones that I am leaving off the list?

-Chip S.