You’ll never fail to know whenever there’s a big game coming up, even if you’re not a sports fan. You’ll see it in the overcrowded coffee shops and lounges and the nearly empty streets. You’ll know about it in the ads you see online and the notifications you get from your apps. You may even win a free meal from your favorite restaurant if you’re able to guess the winning team accurately! This phenomenon of sports obsession is so intriguing that scientists, psychologists, and sociologists have been studying it for ages. Are you curious about what they’ve reached in their research? Though the research is still ongoing, they’re suggesting that people are so obsessed with sports for the following reasons.
1. A Way to Express Their Sense of Self- Obsessed with Sports
You see it everywhere. Whenever a fan talks about the sports team they support, they’ll always use the term “we” in describing whatever they’re feeling. This unconscious way of speaking gives us a deeper look at how their subconscious is working; it’s an integral way of expressing themselves. Every sports fan out there doesn’t consider the team they’re supporting strangers – the team represents them. Whenever they brag about their team, they feel like they’re expressing themselves.
Their manner of speech perfectly mirrors the achievements, failures, feelings, and thoughts of the team. They can get too invested to the point of getting heart attacks, literally. The fans become too invested in the sport that they even mirror the hormones surging through the players in real-time – which we’ll get into when discussing the scientific aspect of the obsession. All in all, their self-esteem rides on the result of the match, and you can clearly see it in their every action.
2. A Need to Belong
There’s more to supporting a sports team than fawning over their players. In fact, socializing with other fans plays a big part in making fans who they really are. Whenever they’re a match, no matter how big or small, you’ll find the fans gathering to watch the match in real-time. It’s like an unspoken rule, that other fans automatically become part of the family. You’ll even find complete strangers becoming the best of buddies after sharing the experience of watching the match together. This need to belong is one of the strongest motivations for a normal person to become a strong fan of a sports team if only to enjoy the social-psychological benefits of belonging to an entity of similar fellow human beings.
3. Sports Betting Increases the Entertainment Value
Not all sports fans get into gambling, but most hardcore fans will. If you ask them, they’ll tell you that sports betting takes the experience to a whole new level of excitement. Although watching sports is fun on its own, there’s nothing to increase its entertainment value like betting their own money on the outcome – and oh boy do they become invested. These hardcore fans make sure to follow the best sports handicappers to increase their odds of winning by following their speculations. In fact, sports handicappers are a perfect example of obsessed someone can get with sports to the point of making a living out of analyzing games and teams. Sports betting is a form of taking risks, and everyone knows that the higher the risk, the higher the reward.
4. It’s a Great Escape
Even if there is no money involved, watching sports and supporting a sports team is a great way to escape. The festive environment that gathering with your friends, shouting, laughing, and even crying is a great way to disconnect from the stress of everyday life and catch a breather from work and home issues. It’s certainly a great way to find leisure and enjoy relaxation without paying for a vacation or traveling overseas.
What Science has to Say About this Obsession
Do you ever get too invested in a TV drama that you cry when the heroine cries or feel satisfied when the main characters finally start dating? Do you remember how thrilled you solve the mystery in a crime novel? The same happens to you when you support your favorite sports team. You feel the aggression spiking, the satisfaction celebrating when they win, or the disappointment overwhelming when they lose. The aggression is mainly due to the levels of testosterone spiking in your blood, which actually mirrors the levels in the players on the field. You feel satisfied due to the spike in dopamine levels, a happiness-inducing chemical, after a win, or feel totally bummed after a loss due to the rise in testosterone without an accompanying rise in dopamine.
The phenomenon of obsessing over sports is not limited to one region, nationality, political party, or religion – it’s a worldwide sensation that gathers fans of all ages and genders. It’s almost as if it’s an integral part of human nature! When you look into it, there are various reasons to explain this obsession. As long as it’s controlled, a healthy form of obsession and Obsessed with Sports can actually work in favor of promoting our social-psychological well-being.