Psychology of Sports Fans: Both Professed and Non-Professed

For some, being a sports fan may relate to tribal instincts. The tribe is where one can multiply power, lifestyle and beliefs in greater numbers. The tribe is where strength in numbers has aided achievement of goals for ages. In the realm of a sports fan, the tribe usually consists of the favored team’s athletes, the sports fan and all others within a given group with like interests.

From early childhood we are exposed to a culture that expects us to compete, be it for a mate, a reward, or special recognition; therefore, the sports fan finds “the playing field of life”. Within this type of culture the development of the sports fan is influenced by the peer group, which may be parents, friends, athletes, or anyone having influence on the fan’s life.

With modern day sports, the fan has an outlet for the desire to belong to a group in the pursuit of competition. By being a sports fan one can become a warrior for a weekend regardless of age or physical capabilities. During the aging process the physical abilities usually diminish and the fan may desire to slow the process through an interest in sports. All of us will reflect on our younger days during the aging process. The fountain of youth is physically non-existent but mentally present at all times; therefore, we can still strive to achieve our goals, if only by proxy.

Some may just be passive sports fans, not wanting to compete, but enjoying a good competition. They enjoy the excitement of seeing opposing sides lock horns and very well may pull for the underdog regardless of who or what that might be. This fulfills the need to see a victor on “the playing field of life”. Remember those childhood games most of us played? You really wanted to break through the line during “Red Rover”, win a foot race, or hit the ball the longest distance in the presence of your peers; didn’t you? Maybe you wanted to always write the best essay. The reason you wanted to is because you were competing against others. Perhaps we are all sports fans but don’t realize it, nor do we claim to be.

Excitement breeds excitement, and what better place to find spontaneous excitement than a sporting event. Some are just seeking a form of exhilaration that will make them feel good for a while. A sporting event can make one feel involved, active, youthful and provide that sense of belonging that most people desire. Being a sports fan doesn’t always have to be about competition. It might be your replacement for six cups of extra strong coffee! Whatever you seek, if sport defines it for you then you are a sports fan!