Watching sports games is an entertaining hobby that people partake in all around the world. Why are we so attached to our favorite teams?
When entering the sports world through analysis one has to understand that at the heart of every sport there’s one word that comes up; “fun”. It is fun to play and almost just as fun to watch. We get intrigued by what’s presented in front of us when the stakes are that one team or player is going to lose and another is going to be crowned a winner (in most instances). That’s such an interesting concept considering most everybody wants to play a fair game so that a fair winner can come out of it. As fans, everyone gets to pick their favorite and root for them. Perhaps even stick by their favorite team / player through hardship when they’re losing a lot too. That’s what’s known as loyalty in fanbases and it is greatly rewarding once the team you’ve been supporting through thick and thin actually starts winning.
A Sense of Community
We root for our favorite teams and develop a sense of community with fellow fans of said teams. There is something great about meeting up with fellow fans of your favorite team, even if you’ve never meet these people before, and just having a fun time watching your team play.
In loss, there’s a comfort shared throughout because you know that the pain you’re feeling they are also feeling it just the same. And in wins, the celebrations and the shared feeling of joy is an incredible thing to experience.
There’s not much that can bring people together in this world, and sports is certainly one of the few that can and does actually do it. Whether you’re rooting for your hometown team, or a team in another continent that you could only ever dream of being able to watch them play in person, you can always feel included. Even within your own family or friend group the chances are that you won’t be rooting for the same team but that just makes it even more fun to tease them about it once your team beats their favorite team (or annoying when your team loses).
The sense of victory, the joy, the tears, the celebrations, this is what the best of the sports world has to offer. There are instances when one team wins and the hometown goes all out to celebrate. For example, when an NBA team wins the championship, they usually hold the trophy celebrations within the city where everyone is invited to share the celebrations. There are typically thousands upon thousands of people who show up singing, dancing, and celebrating the night away. You don’t HAVE to be there to be considered a “real fan” though, as even from your living room you can feel every emotion that everyone who is there is experiencing. For a lot of people, going to see their favorite team play in person is one of their main goals, especially if their favorite team is situated far away geographically. This is once again something very particular that sports instill within every kid and adult who is growing up or has grown up around sports in some sort of way.
The Not-So-Positive Side of Sport Fans
Unfortunately, not everything is sunshine and rainbows when it comes to rooting for sports. There are constant instances of horrible behavior that fans engage in, even though generally that behavior is frowned upon by everyone. Instances of fans using racist language towards even players of their favorite team are common, as was the case with the English national football team during the EURO 2020 tournament.
Additionally, the sports world is rather dominated by a certain group of people. Minorities of any kind do find it rather difficult to get integrated and sometimes feel left out due to some of the stigma that surrounds sports. Even women can face difficulties when rooting for male sport teams due to the blatant misogyny that some sports have ingrained.
Moreover, while most of the time there is respect shown to the opposition team and fanbase, that is not always the case. There are times when things get completely out of hand between fans and fighting ensues. That is not a pretty sight to behold for anyone and it’s certainly not what sports are about at heart. Though outside forces can play a role as well, e.g. when two rival teams are facing off and the fans are more hot-blooded than usual, that doesn’t make it any more ok for fans to hurt each other in any capacity and under any circumstance. Sometimes people forget that there’s a reason it’s called a “game” and take things a little too far.
Enjoying Sports Respectfully
It should go without saying that respect should be at the forefront of every sport. It is never a matter of life or death, whether it’s football, basketball, tennis, golf, rugby, boxing.., the reason why billions of people tune in to watch is because ultimately it’s a lot of fun. There is so much enjoyment that can be attributed to watching sports, and as such trying to be respectful to the opposition should be a given. That way everyone can have a good time and no one gets hurt. Now isn’t that better than losing your cool and fighting with each other just because the opposition scored a game-winning goal on minute 89 of the game?
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