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Why Do People Root for a Sports Team?

To keep it simple, because that’s the fun of the game. But, I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. First, I should explain exactly what I mean by my question.

This is a question I’ve heard asked by people who aren’t really “into” sports. They don’t necessarily get why somebody would root for a specific team. I’ve even heard someone ask why you wouldn’t just root for the team you think is going to win.

After all, if one team is more likely to win than the other, isn’t it pointless to root for the other team for them to just lose? This is obviously a flawed train of thought, as it fails to see the main point of rooting for a team, but I can get where it is coming from.

Especially if, as I said, you aren’t really into sports. Some people prefer other things like movies, books, Springbok casino bonus, or video games. Speaking of video games, this brings up a second question people might have on both sides.

Why Watch Someone Else Play Something at All?

I’ve heard people ask this question over and over to each other endlessly. Sports viewers will ask people who watch video games “Let’s Plays” ‘Why do you watch other people play video games? Just play the game yourself!’

At the same time, video game players will say to sports watchers, “why do you watch other people play sports? Can you not just play the sport yourself?”

Both of them are arguing against and supporting the same argument! They both are knowledgeable of, and completely supportive of the reason why humans like to watch other humans do things that we maybe could do ourselves.

This is simply because they are better at it than us. People like to watch other people do things at a high skill level. Even the most arrogant and self centered person secretly likes to be awed by amazing feats.

You could throw a football, but it is another thing entirely to watch someone else throw a 99 Yard (About 99 meters give or take) touchdown pass. Incredible feats like this are awe inspiring to watch.

They give you a little taste of what humanity can do. What a person can do with enough effort and determination. When they do incredible feats that we could only dream of doing, it makes us feel awe struck.

Perhaps you remember a time when you were little, and you saw a magic show, or someone juggling, or some other thing like that. You probably were amazed at that act when you were a kid.

Even as adults, it is not easy to juggle, and most people probably cannot do it. The same is true for sports or video games, or whatever else. It brings us back to that almost childlike and nostalgic moment of pure wonder.

True amazement at what someone else can do, and realizing that perhaps you could do that too if you worked towards it! That is why we watch other people who are better at us at things do things.

We want to be amazed and awed by the incredible feats other people can do. To just simply sit back and say, “Wow, that was amazing!”

So, Why Root?

Back to our original question, why do people root for a specific team? If what I just said about why we like to watch others do things is true, shouldn’t we just root for whoever does the coolest stuff?

Well, no. The fundamental reason we root for a team is because of the satisfaction of being unsure, and then feeling victorious in the end. If we just rooted for everyone, then it wouldn’t matter who won.

So, why do people root for one team over another? Well, sometimes the reason is nostalgia. They grew up in the same city as that team, so they feel a connection and pride being associated with that team.

They feel they have to cheer on and root for their home, not just their team. It all sort of becomes intertwined and it is about a pride of where you grew up, not just the fact that that team was in the same town as you.

Other times it has to do with family. Somebody’s dad or mom liked one team or another, so they feel a connection to that team because they grew up with it with their parent. They feel they are connecting with or honoring that parent by rooting for their team.

It’s kind of like how family traditions are passed down from parent to child. There may not be a specific reason for you personally to intrinsically want to do that tradition, but it was part of your childhood. So, it is meaningful to you.

That sports team could have been part of your childhood too! Then it would almost become like its own family tradition. Passing on from parent to child, and again from that child his children.

Maybe you root for a team not because of a connection to that team, but because of a dislike of another team! I’ve heard many people say they root for one team or another in baseball because they hate the Yankees.

Perhaps it is that natural desire for an underdog to win. For the little guy to compete and overcome. To emerge victorious against a bigger opponent who you feel didn’t deserve the victory, not because of a lack of skill, but because of an excess of pride.

Or maybe the team has had a scummy history. There are teams people dislike because they have a history of cheating etc… So, people don’t care who goes against them, they just want them to lose.

In that case, it is less that you want that team to win, you just want the other team to lose. Nobody likes a bad sport, and fewer people like someone who cheats or plays unfairly.

Finally, there is a broad yet simple answer I said at the beginning. People root for teams because the game holds no meaning otherwise. If you don’t care who wins the game, then it is not exciting.

If you would enjoy either team being the winner, then there can never be any tense moments! You cannot panic when your team is down points in the last leg of the game, and scream and cheer with joy when they miraculously pull ahead and win in the last moments of the game.

That excitement is what makes the games enjoyable. If you didn’t feel the disappointment of loss, then you could never feel the joy of victory.

There is an old saying that goes, “There can be no light without darkness,” and this is true in many aspects of our lives. But it especially applies here.

If you never worried about the chance of loss, then you could never exult in the outcome of victory. That is why people root for one team over another.

So, if you are new to sports, maybe give it a try! Pick a team. Doesn’t matter which, but maybe one that has a connection to you in some way. Root for that team for a season, and see how it feels. You may find enjoyment in it you didn’t even realize could be!