There’s a lot of sports going on this month - football, basketball, baseball and soccer. And there’s a reason why we’ll be cheering our heads off for our favorite teams.
For starters, it’s because we feel responsible for our team. We feel that it’s up to us to inspire the players. In fact, according to research from Northumbria University psychologists, fans believe that the home-team advantage is a result of a supportive crowd. And fans believe that more than the players and game officials do.
And when our team loses, we cut them some slack. A study found that hardcore fans don’t pin a loss on their team’s mistakes or bad playing. Instead, they attribute it to really good playing on the part of the other team.
Sports fans are also a superstitious bunch. Murray State University psychologists found that half of all fans think they can influence the outcome of the game. Say, by wearing a lucky shirt, or not using the bathroom throughout the whole game. And those fans truly believe that if they skip that ritual, their team might lose. So why are we so superstitious about sports? Because it’s beyond our control. But believing that we can somehow impact the outcome makes us feel better and more in control.
And here’s why it feels so good when our team wins: It’s because it’s a release of pent up tension. Like after you cry or have an argument, and you feel so much better afterward because you’ve literally expelled your stress hormones. That feeling can last for days after a win, and it’s so powerful, it has an effect on the local economy! When your hometown team has a big win, people are in an upbeat mood and spend more money for days afterward.