I had a rough weekend. My sports teams lost.
No, not the ones I play for. The ones I follow. They really shouldn’t have an effect on my life but they do.
I want to know why. Why do I pour my heart and soul into following certain sports teams. Why do I feel good when they win and bad when they lose? Why do I put this much emotional stock into something I can not control and doesn’t affect any other outcome of my life?
That’s a loaded question.
Is it a sense of community? That team that has “Phoenix” or “Arizona” across their jerseys represents my hometown. When they win, I feel validated. I couldn’t tell you why, but I do.
I can understand rooting for teams because you have a financial interest or you play for one, but a sense of community? Can’t explain it.
If I had to take a crack at it, I’d say that everyone needs something to believe in. They need something to connect to. They need to achieve a common goal – even if they aren’t the ones actually achieving it. They also need to be entertained.
The Phoenix Suns are my favorite team. As I watched their playoff hopes die over the weekend, I got upset. They were having a magical season. Everyone thought they were in for a lackluster season, instead they battled it out to the finish line, almost achieving an improbable playoff birth. I have a tremendous sense of pride in what they have achieved.
It is after such crushing defeats that I debate why I care so much. I love sports and enjoy watching games between two teams I don’t have a rooting interest in. Shouldn’t I just stop caring and enjoy the entertainment of the game?
Can’t do it. I can’t leave that community of Suns fans, and that community of fans of every other team I root for. I grew up with them. I engage with them. I feel with them. That community means a hell of a lot more than a wager, a fantasy team, or something to watch while I’m eating dinner.
So yeah, sign me up for the next game. I guess I’ll take the heartbreak. Even though sports is about wins and losses, it is about a lot more than wins and losses.
It brings people together. I think that’s all we are ever looking for in life.