Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Personal Essay--The Emotional Tie of Sports

It struck me late Monday afternoon when I was watching the Iowa State-Tulsa Liberty Bowl game.

I had just invested three-and-a-half hours rooting for Iowa State and the Cyclones were going to lose. It was a sad time. It was a sad two days actually. Sunday, I watched my favorite NFL team lose to a certain opponent north of the Iowa border. Therefore all told, Monday evening my emotions were definitely down.

The so familiar losing outcome in my sports watching world made me think. When I was young and my favorite team lost, my mother would say: “Somebody has to lose and somebody has to win.” My response was “Why do my teams always have to lose.” But really, why does an outcome of a sports game pull so much weigh on my emotions?

I think the answer lies in a word from the financial sphere. My emotions rely on the “investment” I place on a particular team.

I have watched hundreds of college football and basketball games. Currently, I cheer for Iowa State basketball and football and Baylor basketball. In the past, I was invested in North Carolina State. I always cheer for teams with a personal connection.

But similar to finance, when my investment is high in a particular team, my emotions will ride on a victory or a loss. But then I ask myself: “Isn’t sports a form of entertainment? Does it really matter in my particular life whether a certain college team wins a ballgame”?

Probably a good thing to ponder as I begin the year 2013.

What are your emotional ties to the sports world?


Julies said...

I believe the financial does play into it, and not just with time investment. When Indiana University loses, I've also put my money into tickets, parking, sweatshirts/candy striped breakaway warm-up pants/shoes/leather coat/tile symbol in my kitchen floor/pillows/blankets/light up signs in the window/posters/drinking glasses/car magnets/Christmas ornaments (including a stocking)/stuffed animals

Fans who are in it to the end wrap up a lot of their energies into these games. Yes, losing has an impact. It doesn't ruin my life, but it does dampen my mood. On the other hand, a win ... ah, a win is worth all of it.

Paul Delger said...

Thanks for your comments, Julie. I think these days athletic departments want fans to have a real emotional attachment to their teams. Because college sports is huge business, schools needs fans and particularly donors. The days of buying a bb ticket for $15, cheering for your team and going home is esentially over. That's not essential wrong, just different.