Every single person in the world belongs to one of two categories: people that aren’t sports fans and those that are. There is no overlap. From the outside, sports is a bit senseless, watching a bunch of guys in their 20s perform a seemingly random set of tasks, based on an arbitrary set of rules with no real world consequences. But a sports fan would equate the exact same thing to an epic gladiatorial battle where the result is crucial and his whole world depends on it. In case you were wondering if this was going to be an article going through points one by one logically, explaining both sides of the situation, you’re wrong. This is an article that is solely aimed at explaining why I am a die hard sports fan who spends all his weekend evenings (and most other evenings as well :P) following the crazy, beautiful world of sports.
Mankind has a fascination with greatness regardless of the field, to climb the highest peak, to explore all boundaries and seek the unknown. This was why there was such interest in the space race and why mythology (and history) is filled with tales of valour and victories of heroes. The beauty of sports is that moments of greatness come by on a virtually day to day basis. Be it Bergkamp and Berbatov doing things we can’t even imagine or Bolt continuing to defy expectations breaking record after record, there is something in sports that captures the imagination. The professionals that we watch are probably the top 0.0001% of human population at what they do, they perform tricks and flicks in the blink of an eye, with seeing ease
TV Shows like Game of Thrones and The Sopranos have proven that drama is a powerful draw. It leaves the viewer on the edge of his seat and he is often left wanting more. Sports is always high drama. The number of viewers only increases this and further heightens the stakes. The pressure is immense and one single mistake can ruin a season a whole season of hard work(Just ask John Terry or Steven Gerrard :D). Week after week, shocks and upsets are numerous and the viewer is drawn back for the next installment. This unpredictability only adds to the spectacle.
Now a more personal reason. One thing I’ve found is that sports gives two people common ground to bond over. In college, school and in my apartment itself, while growing up sports was always a great way to open up a conversation with someone. There are so many things to talk about and everyone has a different viewpoint, so two fans could literally go on talking for hours without so much as exchanging names and pleasantries. It’s a great ice-breaker and because it is an ever changing world, there is always something to talk about. When I went to college, I was a touch apprehensive (as most of us are) about the whole new location/new people thing. Over there also, the first friends I made were sports fans with similar concerns, how to watch matches without internet and TV ( more on that at a later date :p ). And these guys ended up being being my best friends. That’s the magic about being a fan. Even though it’s a new place, there is a familiarity that can’t really be described. The initial hesitation is smoothed over and I’m not sure how but you just feel that “Yeah, this guy is cool. we could hang out.” (I’m not sure The Others get what I’m talking about, but their loss)
Another thing is that sports provides an easy way out to escape your problems. It’s been a tough week, exams coming up, assignments due, maybe an irate boss breathing down your neck and you just want to leave it all behind. Sports does exactly that. For those 2 hours (or however long based on the sport) when your team is on the field, everything else is forgotten. You are just lost in the moment. Nothing else matters and the unbridled joy you get if it’s a win often proves to be just the tonic you need. The adrenaline rush at the near misses and huge chances clears your mind of all the problems. It also gives you a detached perspective of the problem itself, which might even lead to a solution that was earlier missed.
Being in the stadium itself is a whole different story. Similar to a concert, the atmosphere is absolutely electric. And the euphoria at the end (for one side at least 🙂 ) is a special experience for all those in attendance. There aren’t too many times in life you can celebrate something with complete strangers and feel an emotional connection with your community as a whole. As a kid from Bangalore, if someone asks me what the best way is to spend an evening there, it would definitely be to head over to Kanteerava stadium and watch a BFC game. The West Block Blues fans are an amazing group and I know even some Others who have come to games and become converted to our side. Plus if you are in the crowd when something iconic happens, it is a bragging tool to show off to other fans and a treasured memory that you can tell your grandkids about
Well in addition to this, there are the other good effects like developing team spirit, hard work, improving your fitness and all but everyone already knows that. But that doesn’t even come close to the describing that feeling you get when the hairs on your hand stand up from excitement, when the crowd is on it’s feet and you can feel the thousands of hearts beating in unison, all begging and hoping to all their different Gods for the same thing.
To round it up I’d like to say, the grass most definitely isn’t greener on the other side and I’d like to see if any Others can find anything as exhilarating as this.
Just my thoughts. Until next time 🙂