Football, basketball, baseball, NASCAR, and even golf and curling – there is something so appealing about these sports. There seems to be an innate need to see the competition and root for an athlete or a team. So much so, in fact, that people face open hostility for wearing, or not wearing, a giant cheese hat in certain regions. Why is that? Why do we care so much about sports?
It could be that we feel a need to belong to a group. To an entity that is bigger than ourselves. That is also why there is such camaraderie in political parties, religious groups, social movements, and so on.
We identify with others that share our passion and we wear our colors like countries show their flags. Every time we win, we deserve it and half the times we lose, there is a fix or a grave injustice. Cheering for an athlete or a sports team makes you feel like you are a part of a close community where anything that isn’t related to the sport in question doesn’t matter.
That is why we often take it personally when the team moves or one of our icons changes teams. For more serious sports fans, this is akin to betrayal.
The events in the world can be pretty grim. At any point in time, there is something beyond terrible happening somewhere. We don’t even have to be concerned about global issues, there are so many things we are personally facing that there is little to no energy left to worry about humanity.
In times like these, it is important to have a hobby that helps you unwind and forget your troubles, if only for a couple of hours. The joy and the adrenaline rush you feel may exhaust you physically (yes, it can happen), but you are recharged and ready to deal with your personal issues. These may or may not include rent, utilities, unforeseen medical expenses, litigation processes, family problems and so many more. Sports provide a healthy distraction from everything that is pressing hard on our shoulders.
There is another aspect to consider – health. We are not talking about only watching sports. Being a part of a sports team or partaking in sporting activities not only builds muscles and endurance in the short run but also makes many ailments of old age less severe.
Not to mention that every time you finish a training session or a friendly game, your body is so freaked out that it may be attacked and stressed out, that it overcompensates by releasing endorphins. These are not only natural pain-killers but also mood-boosters. Plain talk, you feel happy from working out.
And that’s not even covering the dopamine rush when you actually win. Your body may be tired beyond belief, but your head is so high on your own juices that you are a few seconds away from singing ‘We are the champions’ every time you enter a room. These are just a few of many reasons we get hooked on sports.