Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sports Rivalry -- I don't get it

There is a great article on The Situationist about March Madness and sports fandom.

For some reason, this enthusiasm for one team over another is something I don't experience very strongly. I occasionally go to a football game with my boyfriend, and once I identify what colors "our" team's uniform is, I do find myself watching the game from their perspective and hoping they win. But it's just not a very strong preference -- I'll find myself cheering after an impressive run or something by the other team.

I'm not sure why I'm like that. Seems like a pretty normal thing for people to strongly identify with a team, nation, university, or any other in-group that presents itself. It's obviously irrational, and my boyfriend, for example, will happily admit that it's irrational but that it's fun to get caught up in it anyway. But he's pretty balanced about it, compared to some other fans I see. We sat behind a guy at a Crush game the other night who was on his feet the whole time, yelling, red in the face, looking genuinely upset and angry with every referee call that went against the Crush. He was disturbing for two reasons: he seemed incapable of believing that his team was capable of an error; and he wasn't equally gleeful when things went his way. I wonder if for a guy like that, his whole life isn't just one bad day after another.

Must be some personality trait that you just kind of have or don't have, and I come up deficient. I guess I sometimes get a little smug about thinking I'm more rational that everyone else, but the fact is most of the sanest, most rational people I know are sports fans, and they can easily separate the fun of boosterism from rational analysis of a situation. I wonder if there's some benefit to that mental trait, that I'm missing out on.

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