Sports Fans

Outside my window, not long ago and from somewhere several blocks away, there came a roar, apparently of joy.  It was sustained over several minutes and it was loud: dozens (hundreds?) of voices plus car horns and air horns and who knows what else.  Under other circumstances, I would be concerned that a riot or revolution of some kind had broken out.

But no, nothing so momentous; all that is actually going on is a hockey game.  (That sentence right there?  It could probably get me stripped of my Canadian citizenship.  Why?  Because the Canucks are in the finals for the Stanley Cup.  Apparently this is a Very Big Deal.)

Front page "news"

I somehow managed to be born in a country that CARES about hockey.  Freak that I am, I do not care about hockey.  I actually don’t care about sports at all.  It’s not that I have a problem with sports.  Exercise is good for you, and I think it is a mostly harmless way of releasing aggressive tendencies.  I just don’t understand why the results of a game make any difference to the lives of anyone besides the people actually playing that game.

The players I understand – you play a game, you want to win.  I like to win stuff.  Winning is fun.  Losing is less fun.  At a professional level, that gets amplified by the fact that money gets tied to success.  This makes sense to me.  But the spectators?  Why do they care?  (Unless they are the players’ moms, I guess.  I can also see how they might be invested.)

I’m actually asking here, because they really, really do care and I honestly don’t get it.  For a long time, I thought it was some kind of elaborate hoax where everyone just pretended to care, but I don’t think that anymore.   Obviously there are degrees, but I know people whose days are ruined if the Canucks lost the night before.  And this phenomenon is not limited to hockey.  Sports matter to people.  Maybe some are faking it, but apparently most aren’t.

Some random fans, post game.  I cut off their heads because I don’t actually know them and I don’t want them to sue me for putting them on the internet.

So, if it’s not actually a hoax, and people really do care, can someone please tell me why?

If the Canucks win the play-offs, how is your life better?  If they lose, how is it worse?  (Working on the assumption that you don’t have money riding on the game.)

Clearly I am missing whatever gene makes this exciting on a primal level, and I know I am in the minority in this.  I try to watch a game of hockey or soccer or basketball or whatever and all I see is people chasing a thing around to try to get it away from or past some other people.  It takes approximately three minutes for this to bore me.  And these games go on for significantly longer than three minutes.

A local bus - very informative signage

I don’t know if I’ll ever get it.  I live in a world full of people I don’t understand and who probably don’t get where I’m coming from either.  Most of the time, I don’t even notice, but Vancouver is in the playoffs, and suddenly I feel like I’m from a whole other planet.

6 thoughts on “Sports Fans

  1. It is so much fun to read your musings!
    Between your words it is delightfully obvious that you absolutely get it. It is a hoax! People want to feel certain sensations, no matter how fake they are. They are free to do that, however, the essence of freedom is you don’t have to follow.

    • Learning that you have the freedom not to follow – that’s a big one that I think needs constant re-learning, for me anyway. But the sensations people get from sport – maybe for some it’s fake, but I really think this is genuine emotion for a lot of people. It’s just fascinating to me.

  2. Oh, I think it is genuine, mostly. But it is an acquired habit, unreflected, mindless. I oftne noticed that these kinds of people know quite well how ‘unreal‘ their emotional reactions are, and when you put your finger on this they get upset and accuse you of trying to rob them of a valuable experience. And maybe that’s true. We are mysterious beings.

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