When you look at the New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox, the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins or the Phoenix Suns against the San Antonio Spurs, you realize that there is something very special that you are about to see.
You are about to see two teams that hold such a huge grudge against each other that there are no favored teams in each match-up. One day it could be one team that wins, the next the opponent comes out victorious.
There is so much passion and determination that lights a fire upon each player's eyes.
Whether they are on a basketball court, a football field or a baseball diamond, something is going to stand out on the playing surface that keeps the rivalry going for many years to come.
This weekend, one of the biggest rivalries here in the area is going to go down in a big way as the Calallen Wildcat baseball team faces off against the Robstown Cottonpickers for the last time as District 31-4A rivals.
There is always something unpredictable about this rivalry that erases any expectations once these two teams hit the field.
These are two different teams that usually trade off each year to see who the dominant team in the district is.
In the last two years, the Cottonpickers came up victorious, winning the district title.
Last year, both teams were tied after the regular season was over, forcing a tiebreak. As the two teams met in Robstown's Fairgrounds Field that Saturday April afternoon, Robstown practically dominated and showed that they deserved to win the district title with a decisive 7-3 win. The win gave Robstown a first-round bye, while the Wildcats were put up to the daunting task of being in the same half of the Region IV bracket as the Moody Trojans.
Calallen met the Trojans in the Area round of the playoffs where Moody took the Wildcats to three games. The Trojans went on to beat Calallen in the final game, ending a season of promise for the Wildcats.
This year, Robstown came out with an inexperienced squad. Although they were favored to become a playoff contender, it was a struggle for this team to even get there.
After an 0-2 start in district play this year, including a close loss to Calallen, Robstown Coach Steve Castro assured me that it was not time to hit the panic button and he was right.
Despite getting blown 10-0 from the Wildcats in their second meeting, Castro remained confident as the Cottonpickers went 5-3 the rest of the season.
I have seen Robstown play this year and I have seen Calallen play this year.
Both teams have something in common and that's how much fight they have.
Although the Cottonpickers overall record of 21-12 is nowhere near the 33-1 record that Calallen has (not counting the exhibition game they had the week before they played Floresville in the Area round), they have not given up.
Whether you finished first or third in the district, once you make the playoffs all bets are off.
When the Cottonpickers played the H.M. King Brahmas in the final game of the season, they knew exactly what was at stake. If they failed to win, they would be in jeopardy of not making the playoffs for the first time since 1985. That's a long time.
With such a storied history of making the playoffs, Robstown needed an extra inning to pull a 5-3 win against H.M. King to get in the playoffs.
The Cottonpickers had to pull off a comeback in their first match against the Roma Gladiators to get to Area.
Robstown blew a lead against the South San Antonio Bobcats in their second game, but they came back stronger in Game 3 with a 9-5 win to set up a meeting with the Wildcats.
Calallen has been beyond impressive this year.
Their lone loss came in the hands of Moody. Luckily, they will not have to worry about them after the Alice Coyotes upset them in the Area round.
The Wildcats have looked like a team possessed. They won their last state championship in 2005 and since then, they have been hungrier for another one.
In several games I have covered this year, this team has practically plowed past everyone thanks to some hot bats and sensational pitching.
Robstown was not a problem for Calallen. In fact, none of the teams in District 31-4A were a problem for the Wildcats. They finished 10-0 in the district.
Coach Steve Chapman is not one to talk about records or polls. By the way they are No.1 in the state and were recently ranked No. 6 on rivals.com's National High School Baseball poll of the 50 best high school teams.
He's the coach that takes it one game at a time. Game after game, the Wildcats have put the fear in almost every baseball team they have played and they are going to make things difficult against a Robstown team that apparently does not believe in the word underdog. The Cottonpickers will be just as ready for Calallen as they are against them.
It is going to be bittersweet that these teams will no longer be district rivals after they finish the playoff, knowing that these two will not fight for district position after this match-up is done. I can expect a dogfight (with no Michael Vick in attendance) between these two teams. The winner is going to be the team that wants it more. Will it be the team that's been on top of its game since the first pitch of the regular season or will it go to the team that just won't quit?
One thing is for sure. The biggest winner will be those that witness a great rivalry between the Calallen Wildcats and the Robstown Cottonpickers.
Juan Carlos Reyes is a sports reporter for the Record Star. Readers may contact him at 361-387-4511 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.