As an outsider of the sports world, it’s hard to understand other individuals who live for a certain sports team. The Olympics and FIFA is easier to grasp, the world coming together to watch the best athletes compete every four years. Fun! What’s puzzling the most is the branding of it all. Why do people like to separate themselves from one another by choosing a specific sports team? Debating over which team is best, is it healthy to be consumed by the game? Matthew Madrid, a good friend, mentioned the word, “Tribalism” and it automatically clicked. But of course, it’s our innate human instinct to collectively join together. By definition in Webster’s dictionary, it’s having great loyalty to the tribe or social group over another. Asking others who are avid sports fans, gave additional reasons with some great insight.
Hometown pride: To be proud of where you come from was the reason given by the majority. If someone was exposed to sports at a young age, it’s often influenced by the favorite pick within the household. Someone can be from one city but moved to another, soon embracing that team. For the true sports fan, it’s a great joy to watch their home team win the national championship.
History: There are many athletes that indeed made history, such as, Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, the Brooklyn Dodgers with Jackie Robinson and the New York Yankees with Babe Ruth. These notable players lead their teams to influence the world with their talent, inspiring future athletes. Not only did they use their athletic ability for entertainment but impacted others in a positive way. Proving that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what color your skin is; if you work hard, you can achieve your dreams.
A healthy distraction: Some of us listen to music or practice art; others watch sports to balance themselves. Finding out the latest score, watching the Super Bowl with family or simply talking about sports with friends helps to unwind from our hectic lives.
Legacy – a tradition passed down from parent to child: It’s all about the family bond. A positive outlet for the pack to enjoy their time together. To have happy memories and cherish the limited time we have in life.
This outsider’s perception changed for the better, understanding the rooted tribalism of sports and it’s significance to fans. There are a few of us that still don’t care to follow a team and that’s okay. Sports are to be accepted for what it is, a way to bring people together.