Super Fan? Here’s the Root of All Your Rooting
The world of professional sports is a multibillion-dollar industry. Sports events are an EXPERIENCE, and a really big show. These shows are designed to create memories for us from the sights to the sounds, smells and emotions we experience. Think back to the first time you got a team or player T-shirt, or a sundae served in a helmet at the stadium as a kid. You probably started to get hooked right then.
Parents get kids involved in sports at an early age because those activities are great for teaching lessons about hard work, teamwork, and how to win and lose with dignity. Kids (and adults, too) get all that—but they also attach memories to the experience. Going out for ice cream after a big win (or a crushing loss), or seeing our families, friends and neighbors celebrating, and high-fiving each other—this is what gets us hooked. The community is what binds us and helps us to develop into full-on sports fans.
Being a sports fan gives you the opportunity to put your whole heart and soul into something that ultimately has no real-world consequences. It matters both deeply, and not at all. Not many other experiences in life allow for this.
People get hooked on sports for different reasons. For some it is “good stress,” but for others it is an escape. Some love the entertainment aspect, while others relish the group affiliation and the sense of “belonging to something.” Win or lose, diehard fans never lose their passion for their team, no matter what. Having blind faith in a team is often easier, and frequently brings more stability than many other aspects of the fan’s life.
There is such a thing as sports psychology. Some psychologists believe “fandom” is in our DNA, and has evolved from primitive times when we lived in small tribes and where we battled “for our people.” Our athletes represent the primitive drive that our ancestors had, as they battle it out on the field. Others believe sports give us a sense of community and sharing beyond our normal circle. It levels the playing field for all of us. “We” are in this together. “We” will win. “We” band together against our opponents.
A Great Release for the Super Fan
Being a sports fan also allows you at times to be disinhibited—you know, like the shirtless guy with the painted green face screaming and jumping for joy. For a brief time, fans let go of their pretenses and constraints of “normalcy,” and it can be a great release. It allows for a true connection with our deepest emotions.
Being a sports fan gives you the opportunity to put your whole heart and soul into something that ultimately has no real-world consequences. It matters both deeply, and not at all. Not many other experiences in life allow for this. Win or lose, getting lost in the game should be something you cherish, not dread.
Philly fans are not vastly different from other fans. We all experience the deep connection to our primal instincts, to the game, to the community, to the emotional release, and to the experience. We just show it in more unique and intense ways than other cities, and that’s what makes us such a special fan base.
Congrats to the Eagles!
Angela Cantwell, RN, MSN, is clinical director of nursing for Einstein Behavioral Health.