Hitting close to home

When enjoying America’s favorite pastimes passion is not a requirement.


Graphic by Tiger Times staff.

When enjoying America’s favorite pastimes passion is not a requirement.

   Sports provide potentially unifying and polarizing elements as well as opportunities for viewers, allowing them to give commentary, predict and strategize throughout the course of a game. However, what seems to be the thing that does the most dividing between fans is where their allegiances lie

   Sports fans root for specific teams for many different reasons, but research has shown that one of the primary motivations is social exposure, those with this as their motivation were most likely brought into it by family and friends who have a tradition of supporting a specific team, thus creating a familial and personal attachment. These bonds that result in many individuals falling into a generational fandom of sorts, in which they root for the same team – oftentimes being the local or regional team they have grown up with. It is this tradition-based following of teams that have made the viewing of sports games more then just an activity for diehard fans. 

   Though I am not a sports fan, I found myself crossing my fingers that family favorites have the good season their fans have been yearning for. I say this without neglect to the fact I most likely could not identify any of the players running the across my television screen, comprehend what a first down is in football or a ground out is in baseball. This is because those teams act as a representation of the cheering of family fans excited over a game between ‘our time’ and someone else.  

   People regardless of sports comprehension or team alliance often times root for a team because it provides an outlet or catharsis for harbored emotions and hometown pride as well as nostalgia.

   Throughout history, nostalgia has been called an illness, a phenomenon, a feeling and an emotion. Now it is referred to by Oxford Languages to be “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”

   This human longing comes into sports well, as viewers remember games and players passed over by time. Some find comfort or joy in their reminders being packed into the stands of local arenas, hearing the cheers of the crowd. Others of us look fondly back at the memories of sitting at home, watching the television screens in front of us trying to decipher coded sports jargon as others holler around us. 

   Regardless of our reasons for watching, sports can and often does hold memories and moments that will later become them.