The science of being a sports fan

April 14, 2013

An interesting article that confirms what you probably already intuited: humans like to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and enjoy being in the company of like-minded people.

The older I get the less I care about following sports at all. In fact, the only sports events I routinely watch are UF college football games, the Olympics, and the X Games. Sure, I’ll go to a sporting event from time to time (I’m much more likely to go when I’ve been given great tickets), and will have a good time, but it’s not something I actively seek out.

The rub here is that I love playing sports, and am about as competitive a person as you ever will meet (with regard to just about anything, really), and to that end, appreciate fully sport and athleticism (and am just as impressed as the next guy with a thread-the-needle pass, a fingertip catch, or a bicycle kick goal). But, for me, it’s a whole different ballgame (sorry) when I know I have zero affect on the outcome, and frankly, I think it’s a bit silly when adults let these games–over which they have no control–impact their lives in any measurable way.

In the same vein, I can’t help but sigh heavily (on the inside, usually ;) when I hear grown men go back and forth about some inconsequential sporting event, all the while “showing off” their knowledge of the sport by reciting utterly useless facts and statistics. I totally get that for some it’s both a hobby and a release, but I just can’t see myself, as an adult, filling my head with such trivial bullshit–there are only so many hours in the day, and I’d rather create and learn as much as possible. (Now, as a kid, I was kind of an encyclopedia when it came to the NBA, and Jordan especially.)

As with everything, though, if you find pleasure in this sort of thing, and aren’t harming others, who am I to judge how you spend your free time?

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