Why Do We Live Through Sports Teams?

vikings helmet“The day after the Minnesota Vikings dramatic, last-second victory over the San Francisco 49ers, fans are still celebrating, talking about “our win.” But we didn’t really help the team. Why do we feel like we win when our teams win?”

I’ve talked here many MANY times how much we love our Vikings. But it goes further than that. We, as a family, love all our sports teams. I will admit to being a bandwagon fan for most of the other teams but we are fans nonetheless. But this was on Good Question the other day and it makes perfect sense to me.

When our teams win, we walk around with an almost euphoric feeling. When they lose, we feel a sadness. I wonder how many of us are like that. I know we have a lot of folks here who love their sports teams and I think a lot of us that come here are in the same boat. But the Good Question brings things up such as making us feel closer as a state or a group who all like the same teams. We feel a sadness when they lose as well as the happiness when they do well.

So, if your team loses, do you walk around like you’ve lost your best friend and when they win, do you act like you won the lottery?

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17 Responses to Why Do We Live Through Sports Teams?

  1. SKL says:

    Well, I’d like to know what it’s like to have a winning football season over here. It’s been a really long time.

    I think it’s strangely complicated (never thought I’d say that about football fans!). We somehow hook our identities up to these teams, which have basically nothing in common with us. I feel it has something to do with the fact that the teams are representing what our cities have to offer. And we are part of what our cities have to offer, too. So if our team sucks, does our city suck, and does that mean we as individuals suck a little? Does that connection make us hope to at least make a respectable showing on televised Monday Night Football? And then once we decide we actually care and choose a side, if we lose, that also means we backed the loser, another reflection on us. And of course the opposite psychological reaction if we win.

    But the funny thing is, I don’t feel that way about some other things that come out of this metro area. Take Dennis Kucinich . . . oh yeah, I’m really gonna cry if he loses! So why is football different? Well, at least with football, you always have “some” exciting plays, even if you end up losing. Can’t really say that about certain politicians . . . .

    And don’t we all sometimes want to put our heads down and ram those obstacles that are standing in our way? Wouldn’t that be refreshing if we could do it without breaking anything? Could watching football offer vicarious stress relief? (Though a lot of people get heart attacks during football games too.)

    Then too, there’s something cool about everyone in the house jumping up and down, screaming, and cracking the floorboards after an interception followed by a touchdown, to the point where Mom comes up from her laundry to ask, “did they get a home run?” LOL.

    My neighbors used to come over to our house during football games. They said they weren’t there to watch football. They were there to watch us watch football. A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ah!!

  2. joanharvest says:

    When I was married to the wasband he would watch all the football games on the weekend. I would lay on the couch and nap. Now everytime I hear a football game I fall asleep. It is the perfect sleeping pill. As far as our local team it’s the Patriots. Do I know anything else about them, no. I have watched the Superbowl but just for the commercials. Now I find the commercials on the internet.
    I love Superbowl parties only because I get to cook for everyone and then drink myself silly.

  3. Vicki says:

    Remember the world series games in 1987 and 2001 when the twins won? ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh the excitement…Homer Hankies and all….. It most definitely brings people together.
    then there is the Vikings, so close yet so far away.lol

    • shanef says:

      Don’t mean to be an ass by correcting you but it was 1987 and 1991! I still watch those world series games occasionally and I still get chills from them.

      • Vicki says:

        Oooops, your absolutely right..I knew it was 91′ another one of my great typos..Thanks Shane for the correction. 🙂

    • Joy says:

      I remember those World Series. I can’t ever remember having so much fun with something. We all gathered at our house and we had outfits and our homer hankies and nobody would dare move or sit in a different spot. It was just so much fun. I can remember we had bowling on the last night and watched it at the bowling alley and when we were driving home everyone was honking their horns and had homer hankies hanging out the window. I can still remember how cold my hand got. Talk about feeling as one in a group. We all loved the same thing. I’m not sure I’ve ever had that much fun.

  4. shanef says:

    As far as the Vikings go I’ve seen it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But I am no bandwagon jumper, where’s the satisfaction in that. The only time the Vikings really disappointed me was in 98, how do you go 15_1 and not go to the superbowl? They would of played the Broncos which would of been hard for me to watch, because I was a huge John Elway fan too. Joy knows what I’m saying. Anyway this is the year the SILVER FOX will lead us to the promise land LOL, I hope!! GO VIKINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. mssc54 says:

    I think it’s like a fantasy of sorts. Since we have never done that ourselves we fantasize that we are in some way contributing to the success.

    Everyone wants to be a winner, few want to be a weener. 🙂

  6. trishatruly says:

    Sorry. I can’t really relate to this one, Joy. I don’t have a “my team” in any sports. I just don’t follow sports much. Oh, I’ll watch a game if someone else puts it on but I never flip a game on just for me.

  7. Just a Mom says:

    My youngest daughter and I are Cowboy fans. My husband and my oldest daughter can’t stand the Cowboys. So when on that rare occasion that they lose 🙂 I don’t really walk around sad because they lost so much but because I know I am in for a week of being slammed from the husband and the older daughter!
    We are a little bummed that our LASTROS, I mean Astros didn’t play better this year!

  8. Gary says:

    I’m not quite that extreme with my sports teams. When they win it’s great and when they lose it’s a bummer but I don’t feel like I have lost my best friend or won the lottery, except once.

    The Chicago Cubs were up by 2 runs and needed 6 outs to go to the World Series and they blew it. I couldn’t believe it! They fell apart in the 8th inning and blew their chance at the series. I thought that was the year the cubs were gonna go all the way and they blew it. It felt like a horse kicked me in the groin and it took me a couple weeks to get over it. LOL

  9. nikki says:

    It is funny when the Vikings play…we all say….WE play tonight…like WE actually go out there and play with them. When the Vikings played the niners this hose was on the edge of or seats….ya see me and my brother are from Sacramento so the niners were the closest team and sadly my brother is a die hard fan. It was WAY too close for my liking! I didn’t even want to look! When Favre made that last pass I about pissed myself…I know not very lady like! We screamed so loud the whole neighborhood probably heard us! I had my retired Carter jersey on and I took it off…they started slippin so I felt I had to put it back on…yea that’s why WE won!! LOL it was Carter!!

    • nikki says:

      never answered the question I suppose! I think just because of what you said…everyone is sharing in something and that unites people. It’s a good feeling when the team you love so much wins…and sad to see them lose.

  10. Laura says:

    I agree with SKL that it’s a “city identity” thing. Coming from Chicago, it’s Bears all the way, but then we have the South Siders (Sox) vs the North Siders (Cubs), and woe betide the South Sider who pulls for the Cubs….

    Although I have to say, I miss the Old Days when we had the Crosstown Classic. This was before inter-league play (look at me, talkin’ like I KNOW what I’m talkin’ about, when I couldn’t care less about baseball), and the Cubs and Sox would play each other. It was a wonderful game every year, there’d be a lot of good-natured trash talk, the stadium was always packed, and much of the proceeds went to charity.

    Anyway, I don’t take it personally (ok, yes I do, but I don’t sulk) when the Bears lose. I’m to used to it. I’m used to the disappointment. I do like to think that I’m just a little nicer, though, when they win.

    It boils down, I think, to camaraderie and the ‘group thing’. Also, because of the “but for ____, it coulda been me,” at least for the guys. Most of us, at one time or another, were part of a team, many of us were on baseball or football teams (in my case, it was the marching band, and we were actually FRIENDS with the footballers!), and we still remember that friendship and bonding that went on during that time. So when we watch “our” team, we’re remembering that, and tying into it.

  11. When my son and I go to the ballpark to watch the Dbacks, I find it easier to simply accept that they will most likely lose.

    Think that’s unfair or pessimistic? At minimum the last two seasons of play have been disheartening. And yet, we still go. Why? Because it’s a day at the ballpark.

    It’s easy to ride the “we” wagon, and that’s one of the things that makes a game so enjoyable, that personal investment. But it’s still a game, and if you accept that wins and losses are an intractable part of that then it’s much easier to deal with.

    The Dbacks sucked this season, and my hunch is they won’t be much better next . . . but it’s still baseball!

  12. This is an interesting question, Joy – from a psychology standpoint, I mean. Think about it – there has always been this phenomena all through the ages. When the Greeks wrestled in their gymnasiums a couple thousand years and more ago, I’m sure that their friends cheered on and would feel euphoric at the vicarious win or depressed, angered and disappointed if their champion lost. There’s something in us, as humans, that makes us want to believe in other people’s talents, I suppose.

  13. Darc says:

    Interesting reading these comments. True “we” don’t actually play the game, but I think there is a “we” in the sense that the support the fans give the team really does spur them on. As to why I, as a fan, feel the highest of high when my team wins (thank you to every Boston team that has taken me there) and the lowest of low when they lose (and to every Boston team that has taken me there–still love you!), I really cannot explain it. But I would not trade it. What a ride! (and p.s. I am a girl)

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