“Agree to Disagree, But I’m Probably Right” : Why do We Love Sports?

Parker Abate, Columnist

I sat and watched Game 2 of the American League Championship Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians and wondered: Why do I love sports so much? Why do we, as a society, love sports so much? We sit or stand in front of our televisions, or at a live event, and watch men and women compete against each other on fields, courts, tracks, and even ice. Why are our days, weeks, months, maybe even years, ruined because of a sports team winning or losing?

The obvious answer here is the unconditional entertainment that sports provides. We love walk-off home runs, exciting dunks, incredible saves, game-winning drives, and my favorite: folks fighting. We pay a solid amount of money via pay per view to watch a couple of fights leading to concussions and blood being drawn. We, as sports fans, love to see a bench clearing brawl in any sport, and certainly love when it when two athletes from the National Hockey League decide to drop the gloves and throw hands. Why do we love famous athletes fighting each other? Well, because it is unbelievably awesome.

Sports also give us something tangible to believe in. Alongside whatever religion a man or woman follows, a sports team or teams can be next in line for some people and for others, first in line. Our teams are right in front of us on the television or in the flesh. Have you ever been at a professional sporting event and thought, “Wow, that is the guy/girl that I watch on television. This is the team that I follow and root for throughout the year. This is them.” I know I have. This is not just because these are famous athletes whom you are seeing in person. It is also because you are present to watch the individuals who have made you joyous, upset, and miserable perform in the sport you love. It is such a beautiful thing that we have this love for sports that has turned into what it is today.

Anaother tangible: Sports give us something to be a part of. When I see someone weaing a Pittsburgh sports shirt, I make sure to give them a high five or say “Go Steelers” (or whichever team the shirt represents). We are intertwined in what some may call a sports fraternity or sorority. When we are at a sports event, we come together with thousands of screaming fans just like us. We can have every difference in the world with the guy or girl next to us, but, when it comes to the team we support, we are best friends.

Sports provides competition. Many people are extremely competitive. Most of us are unable to participate in sports at the highest of levels, so we live vicariously through the athletes we follow. When we are done school or work for the day, competition does not stop. It continues to be competitive when your team plays your friend’s team. Your spirited day continues.

Perfect games, no hitters, successful Hail Mary passes, buzzer-beaters, and more. Sports give us all a chance to witness history. We witness history every four years during each presidential election, and every so often with new technologies and scientific developments, but sports give us a chance every single day. The Immaculate Reception, David Tyree’s “helmet catch,” Bill Buckner’s notorious error  – just to name a few. These are defining plays in sports history that all fans love to talk about. Can you imagine being there for these plays, watching them on television, or listening to them on the radio? We are able to witness history and talk about it for years to come. The best part about it is that iconic events can happen on any given day of the year, and no one may see it coming.

Sports allow us to be passionate. Maybe it is painting your whole body, wearing no shirt in freezing temperatures, screaming at the top of your lungs and losing your voice, heckling opposing fans, or the countless other ways that we show our support for our teams. Sports fans are remarkably obsessive, which is completely acceptable.

Sports have touched my life since I was a very young boy. The reasons above only begin to describe why I think I, and millions of others, have been affected by sports in their lives. Sports allow me to get away from anything and everything. I watch, knowing my team is not going to prevail each game, but, for some reason, I expect them to anyway. I invest time and energy in each team I support, because I love being a part of something. I am proud to be that crazy fan whose day, week, month, and maybe even year could be ruined all because of one loss in a sports game.

I love sports.