It is a question that you face very often. It is often posed to you by a frustrated mother, wife and/or girlfriend, and sometime even by yourself. And while this question is often asked in rhetorical fashion and meant only yo ridicule your obsession, it is valid and must be pondered. The following blog is an investigation of the counter-intuitive relationship between fan and team and is meant to suggest a possible explanation of why you feel the way that you do.
All relationships in life are mutual. There must be two or more entities who give to each other in order for a relationship to exist. You may give your time and effort to your employer in exchange for some of his earnings. You may exchange love and care with your family members. But all relationships involve give and take, whether the items being transferred are concrete, or abstract. However, it is difficult to explain what you and your team exchange. You may say that they entertain you, but you don't feel the same care for other entertainers such as circus acrobats or musical artists. And many people enjoy taking in a hockey game without feeling compelled to care for a particular team. It is a deeper feeling than that, Furthermore, you give little to your team. Your purchases may pay for a fraction of the play's salaries, but some of that money plays for the Zamboni driver and you don't feel much love for him. Most importantly, the players on the team you love don't care if you pass calculus or get a raise, yet you care if they are successful or not in a game that you have little to no control over.
You may be tempted to ignore this question and chalk it up to instinct. You say it is just who you are or how you were brought up, and as a result, it doesn't need to be rational. But deep down, you know that it cant be true. The entire American culture, sophisticated as it is, glorifies sports. The majority of Americans and Canadians have at least one sports team that they root for. It is difficult to believe that an obsession that ensnares millions of people, young and old, wise and foolish, wealthy and impoverished, is completely irrational. You may ignore this fact as well, or you may try as I did, to find to a reasonable explanation. In any case, if you are still reading, I will suggest a reason that may or may not work for you. But it is certainly worth considering and perhaps it can explain why you love your team.
The comparative example is an investment. Say you put your life savings into the Coca-Cola Company. You do this not because you have some profound emotional attachment to the stock, but rather because you hope it will pay dividends in the future. However, once your money is in the stock, you become emotionally attached to the company. You follow its progress every day. You read about executive decisions made by the company and analyze if the new bottle shape being introduced will generate more sales.You can't affect how Coca-Cola's stock fare but your money is at stake and as a result, your emotions are as well. When the stock goes up, you are happy, and when it fall, you may become down.
Sports, too, is an investment, but instead of money, you invest with emotions. Your team may have nothing to do with you other than where they are located, but once you decide to care about them, their success and failure makes all the difference in teh world to you. You jump for joy when they score that late goal, and mope when they blow that third period lead.you know the stats,you write blogs and you turn over heaven and earth to find that damn link to that live online game feed. You laud or criticize managerial moves and you analyze the pros and cons of shuffling the line combinations. All of it is done in the name of your investment, and things that in other instances would be considered labor, could not be more enjoyable to you. And whereas something important is at stake when you are invested in Coca-Cola, all you need to invest in your team is some trivial emotions. If your team loses, at the end of the day you will still have your life. But you need a reason to feel those highs and lows that tease tour senses, and sports are one of the few things that can provide that. It is a drug without the harmful effects, it is an investment without the risk of bankruptcy. It is a way to ignore your relatively emotionless journey through your routine and uneventful life. How else can you, as a Chicago Cubs fan put it, "cry like a baby and laugh like a hyena for a week?" Sports gives life that kick and even the lows become enjoyable because, as Three Days Grace puts it, you would "rather feel pain than nothing at all." So the next time you are asked why you love your team, respond proudly that you enjoy to love them, win, lose or shootout loss (draw). And that is more reason than any to love your team.