The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders will face off on home ice against their arch-rivals, the Waterloo Blackhawks this Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.

When I first came to Cedar Rapids, I wondered "was this rivalry real or just an exaggerated effort to sell a few more tickets?"

After speaking to several fans at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena during a recent game, I have come to the conclusion that the rivalry is very real. Many of the fans I spoke to said their opponents "play dirty" and they see more fights between the two teams whenever they face off.

But exactly why do these two teams seem to hate each other so much?

I recall a time when former Green Bay Packer Offensive Lineman Mark Tauscher told of a similar bitter rivalry between the Packers and Minnesota Vikings.

Tauscher said for the most part, the individual team members actually have a lot of respect for each other. He said several players even enjoyed the company of their competitors off the playing field. But on the gridiron, it was just...different.

Thus, it is not uncommon for teams to actually fight so hard against one another that animosity is inevitable. All I know is that it makes for a great game!