Why You Need Professional Sports In Your Life

Image in public domain. Original available at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/Football_%28soccer_ball%29.svg.

This story could just as easily have been called “Why your ears bleed when you sleep upside-down,” because as everyone knows, the editors who write the headlines don’t actually read the articles first. But that’s beside the point. What we’re explaining today is why professional sports matter, and I mean matter in your life and mine.

Never mind that Vim Vocifero was a champion boxer in his youthful days. Never mind that he won several medals on his school football1 and baseball teams. The reason professional sports are important for grown adults, especially men, starts with the sense of achievement they build deep inside a person’s soul, while he lounges on the sofa drinking beer.

If the team wins, the spectator wins. If the team makes it to the “playoffs,” the spectator gets to watch the playoffs. If the team wins the championship, the spectator wins the championship. He gloats to his friends and neighbours that his team won. He has something to brag about, because it’s partly his accomplishment. After all, he was the one cheering them on, even if it was through the screen from the couch with the chips and drinks.

In fact, studies show that professional sports have an almost religious effect on a person’s mind. First, one takes a curious interest in the activity of the players; second, one becomes a “fan;” and finally, one feels oneself an extension—nay, a member—of the team, such that when the team is defeated, one feels deeply distraught, but when the team is victorious, one feels exuberant, lively, even glorious. Thus, a sports fan will often debate zealously to defend his favourite team and players, lest anyone else spite them. As such, sports fulfil a deep-seated human need, and give people something “greater” to fight for.

Another reason professional sports are important is because they give a person something to talk about. For example, say you are attending a “luncheon” with your coworkers. Now, ordinarily, this is an awkward situation. No one really likes their coworkers, or considers them friends, anymore. Most coworkers are in fact quite the opposite—either they are causing you headaches and giving you more work to do, or they are in the way of your next promotion. So a “luncheon” with “coworkers” is quite awkward, and you generally have no interest in talking to them, but you are stuck there due to the comestibles.2 So, enter professional sports. “What did you think of the big game?” “Who do you think will win the next match?” “What size shoes does that halfback wear, anyway?” These are the sort of questions that save you from having to talk about real life with people you mostly despise.

And speaking of real life, professional sports also serve as a reminder for several aspects of reality. One is that you failed to “make it” to the “big leagues.” The shattered childhood dreams, the midlife crisis, these give you a healthy dose of “reality.” Further, they remind you of the necessity of exercise. Watching a football match reminds you that running around kicking a ball for three hours requires a lot of preparation, that is, a daily dose of exercise, hours at a time. Which is why you don’t run around kicking a ball for three hours at a time, but instead watch someone else do it.

  1. That is, soccer, for our American readers.
  2. Which may even be cheesy comestibles.

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