Why Do People Love Sports?

April 16, 2017
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The running back zigs and zags, duking past his opponents and charges into the end zone.  Thousands roar and applaud, while others scream and curse.  All of this from sports, why?  Many people love athletics, and few things bring people closer together than sports.  The largest television event in the world is the Super Bowl.  Every four years the globe converges to a single destination to compete in numerous athletic events during the Olympics.  Eight million high school students participate in at least one sport, and best friends often play on a team together.  There is more between sports and the way humans interact than meets the eye.  People love sports because they give them goals, a sense of accomplishment, creates unity, is a fun way to stay in shape, and there are sports with varying levels of intensity.  Sports are a healthy, and often fun, way to spend time with people you enjoy; that’s why we love them so much.

One reason why sports are loved is because athletes set goals for themselves.  Sometimes the goal is to make it to state, do their best, or even to play collegiately.  When people have a stated goal, they are more likely to follow through.  Many people have the goal of graduating high school.  A 2012 study in Kansas showed that 98% of student athletes graduated high school, compared to 90% of non-athletes.  People naturally enjoy reaching their objectives and setting new ones, pushing themselves to better and better things.  To achieve these goals athletes often need to live a more responsible lifestyle.  In high school there is the Athletic Code that must be followed in order to achieve the goals athletes have set for themselves.  It helps prevent drinking, smoking, and bad grades in those serious about achieving their goals.  This better lifestyle leads to happier, better functioning people.  Sports lead to people setting and striving to achieve goals, often leading to more success in all aspects of life.  People enjoy the success that comes from sports.

Another reason people like playing sports is the sense of accomplishment they get.  Do you love the feeling of getting work done, doing something right, or helping others?  Athletes get that feeling a lot.  Every time they score, make a good pass, hit a good shot, return a hard ball, or make a defensive play, players feel like they did something important.  I once scored a tough shot in a soccer game.  We were down by one.  I ran down the left flank, and I shot from 25 yards with my off foot.  The ball carried.  The goalie rose up, and it looked like he had it, but it slipped between his hands.  My teammates ran and hugged me.  My heart was thumping, I felt great.  That goal resulted in a tie, which the team ended up needing for the conference champion title.  In team sports, teammates know they helped each other and may lead their team to a win.  Every little thing matters in sports, so every little thing done right gives athletes satisfaction.  After a loss, and especially a win, athletes can look back at their own game and say, “I’m proud of what I did.”  Sports lead to times of immense gratification from doing good things.  These moments are why people love sports.

Another one of the reasons sports are so fun to watch, cheer for, and play, is that it creates a sense of unity.  People love watching our high school’s sports just to be a part of the Dawg House.  People like being part of a group, and cheering for the same team is an easy way to establish connections.  People love attending games at stadiums even though the view isn’t as good and the weather can be bad.  People will tough out these conditions, crammed together with thousands of strangers because they enjoy being part of the crowd.  Not everyone needs to go and watch the events to feel part of the action.  Every Olympics, our whole nation unites behind the fact that we want Team USA to prevail in their events.  Many people will watch sports during the Olympics that, at any other time, they couldn’t care less about.  They watch them because a whole nation is doing the same thing.  It makes them feel like they aren’t alone.  People weren’t created to live by themselves, but rather in communities.  The unity that sports create, gives people a sense of belonging.  Playing team sports also unites the players together.  When young children decide to play on a team, they create connections with the other kids on the team.  Those connections can turn to friendships.  When those kids start to grow up, they will have created countless memories with the others on the team, in games, practices, and outside of sports.  Many students’ best friends are in a sport with them.  Athletics create strong bonds between teammates because they see each other at their bests and their worsts.  People like the links sports create with others.

Sports are also loved because it is a fun way to stay in shape.  Imagine being in a room for 2 hours, mindlessly running in place on a treadmill, every single day.  That is not nearly as fun as getting together with friends and competing in an engaging, strenuous activity.  My friends and I often go to a park and play pick-up basketball.  It is a great way to spend a weekend afternoon.  Sports, unlike some ways to stay healthy, involve thinking and quick reactions.  It is never the same, and that is what makes sports so entertaining.  Every time an athlete steps out onto the field, rink, or court, he doesn’t know what to expect.  The aspect of thinking creates a further challenge.  He still works hard, he still stays fit, but he also engages his brain.  Challenges are fun.  When people don’t have anything to be challenged by, they get bored. When people get bored, they will often quit or won’t give their full effort.  One can’t stop exercising because exercise is essential for a long, healthy life, and quitting leads to numerous health problems like obesity and heart disease.  Sports take the boring aspects out of exercise, and make it so people actually enjoy becoming and staying healthy.

The final reason many people love sports is that there is a wide range of intensity in sports, at every level.  There is the super intense sport of soccer, where multiple fans are killed each year at games.  Fights break out constantly in the crowd, people storm the streets, and players are regarded as symbols for their fans.  For some, this sport is too intense to play or cheer for.  Then there is the hardcore, physical football where players will hit each other at full speed and use strength and strategy to gain the upper hand.  Fans get rowdy and cheer loud.  Occasionally, fights do break out in the fan sections, but deaths are unheard of.  There is also hockey, another physical sport, with rowdy fans.  In the professional games, fighting takes place both on the ice and in the crowd.  Then there is the medium level intensity of basketball, volleyball, and track. The players try hard, but it is less physical, and the crowd is slightly more subdued.  These sports have very loud close sections and more laid back ones further away.  These sports are calmer than football and soccer but more intense than golf and tennis.  Sports like golf and tennis feel more laid back, and require more skill than athleticism.  In these, technique and mental preparation are key.  This laid back atmosphere is also brought into the crowd.  In these sports, the smaller crowds are often quieter and cheer for a good game, rather than a blowout win as in team sports.  In all sports, the fans’ intensities vary within the sport.  This wide variety in sports creates different atmospheres for fans and players.  Whether watching or playing sports, there is an intensity that will match a wide variety of personalities.  Many people can find a sport for them, and that is why sports are loved by so many.

Sports have cemented their way as a fixture in global culture.  Many people enjoy watching, cheering, and playing for their teams.  People are drawn to sports because it allows athletes to set goals, provides people with a sense of accomplishment, creates unity between both fans and players, is a more enjoyable way to stay in shape, and because there is a sport for nearly every person.  Sports have been around since ancient times; they are something that people have grown up with no matter where or when they lived.  Sports bring people together and are enjoyed in town, state, national, and even global events.  Sports combine mental and physical aspects together to create the most entertaining way to stay in shape.

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