November 5, 2003, 10:49 AM
Being hugely identified with a team does have its dark side," Wann said, "which is where you get your violence and where you get your postgame depression. But research shows that a high level of identification with a local sports team is generally related to lower levels of depression, higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of loneliness and stress. It's clearly associated with physical health."
What will in the end help fans is a natural resilience, the ability to blame the refs or the weather if the Eagles lose. And then there's the wait-until-next-year argument. Research has shown that fans follow a loss with immediately inflated expectations for the next season.
The second qoute I can identify with. Definetely.
November 5, 2003, 10:52 AM
1.Do you feel sad, anxious or have an empty mood that does not
2. Do you feel guilty, worthless or hopeless?
3. Do you have trouble concentrating, remembering or making
4. Do you feel very tired or lack energy?
5. Do you have trouble sleeping, staying asleep or find that you
are sleeping too much?
6. Do you have little interest in eating or find you are eating all
7. Do you feel irritated or restless?
8. Do you have aches and pains that don't go away no matter what
9. Do you have little interest or find little pleasure in activities,
10. Do you have thoughts of death or suicide?
If YOU answer yes to 5 or more of these you might be experiencing temporary depression. I got 4 yes now but last Saturday I had 6.
"sports fans suffer fewer bouts of depression and alienation than do people uninterested in sports."
The explanation? Simple. Real sports fans don't pay much attention to anything else. Earthquakes, famine, the loss of an endangered species - real sports fans don't care. They don't even notice, unless it's a member of the team they follow who falls into a sudden crack in the earth or starves.
Beyond that, you have to be at least moderately intelligent in order to get depressed or feel alienated. Lots of real sports fans don't qualify for those varieties of misery. The standard fare of sports talk radio is evidence of that.
In my favorite of these studies, Professor Edward Hirt of the University of Indiana demonstrated that a serious male fan's opinion of himself and his prospects rises dramatically when his team succeeds. Professor Hirt showed male fans of the Indiana basketball team pictures of beautiful women, and asked the lads if they thought they could date the women. After Indiana wins, the men seemed to think it likely that the women would go out with them. After losses, they were much more pessimistic. Similarly, after wins, Indiana coach Bob Knight consistently thought he could punch out the University president and total strangers with impunity. After losses, he confined his punching to lockers, water coolers, and players who'd missed foul shots.
Naw, I made that last part up. But these studies are apparently for real, and they cut across all sorts of sports. A test conducted after the 1994 World Cup indicated that the testosterone levels of male fans of the winning team, Brazil, went up by twenty eight percent, while the testosterone levels of fans of the losing team, Italy, dropped by over twenty percent. No surprises there, I guess, at least for anybody who's ever lived in a city where the home team has won an NBA Championship or a World Series. Running into the street to turn over police cars and set them on fire just flat out requires more testosterone than beating your head against the stadium wall and weeping.”
Commentary by Bill Littlefield.
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