The Bond of Sports

Maniac (n): A person who has an obsession with or excessive enthusiasm for something

The past three days have been exciting for me. Not everyone in my sorority house may agree, but with the Final Four on Saturday, Yankees’ opening day on Sunday and the “Big Dance” on Monday, my television has not been turned off sporting events.

I have grown up watching sports, my mom is the biggest Yankee fan that I know, and I can remember watching NBA and NCAA games in the living room with my dad when I couldn’t sleep. All members of my family have some sort of investment in sport teams, be it the Yankees, Eagles, Giants or Knicks. When our teams win, we are happy, and when they lose there is a sense of sadness around the apartment.

After these past few emotion-filled days, I started thinking about why I, and others, become so emotionally invested in sport teams. I do not contribute to the team -- when they win I haven’t done anything to help (although I do dream that I had), and when they lose, nothing in my life has been affected. Maybe my purchase of Yankee tickets has aided their enormous salary budget, but that does not give me direct investment in the team. Are we pathetic for being so obsessed? Do we need to get on with our own lives and not let athletes determine our moods?

I guess when phrased in that way, I am slightly embarrassed, but then I think about why I like the teams I do. For some teams, I have just admired the way individuals play the game. I used to love watching Duhan play for Duke, so I started following Duke basketball and became a fan. On the other hand, the Yankees make me excited to be from New York (I know, I know many people believe that Yankee politics should make me embarrassed). They have an exciting history which makes my hometown city even more interesting. And I have to say, there was a special sense of unity when people come together for the victory parade after the World Series. Oh, and how could I forget -- what New Yorker was not proud when Eli Manning led the Giants to a Super bowl victory over the Patriots?

Now I am aware that being excited when your favorite team wins is not as crazy as going into a depression when they lose, but no one likes a fair-weather fan. Maybe investing yourself, at least to some extent, in sporting events allows us to feel connected to others.

By reading sports blogs, or watching Sports Center, or sitting next to fellow fans at a game, we are able to see that we share a human connection with others. I think this is what many people search for -- and there are crazier ways to find that connection than turning on ESPN.


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