Sports are nearly universally popular. Though the sport of choice depends on what region of the world you happen to be in, you would be hard pressed to find a section of the world that didn’t feature some sport heavily.
But why are sports so well-loved? Why do so many flock to sporting events and follow them diligently? There are more than a few reasons, but let’s focus on the North American sports for a greater context.
A Sense of Belonging
Modern sports as we know them tend to have diehard allegiances. Fans of a certain team have been fans for life and will go to figurative war in defense of their team.
The reason for this is mostly attached to locational pride. Most of us have a certain sense of pride in the place we are “from” or live. Becoming attached to the local sports team means reveling in their successes and falling when they do.
That emotional attachment and sense of belonging is the biggest reason why we find sports entertaining. It is almost as if we have as much at stake as the athletes do.
Seeing the Best
Another reason is that there is a major difference between playing the game for leisure and watching the best 0.00001% on the planet do it. Think about that for a second: out of billions of people, these few hundred or thousand people are head and shoulders above the rest.
Seeing these athletes excel at the top of their field is an experience in itself. Who doesn’t love to see LeBron James dominate basketball or Tom Brady dominate football?
Every game, every athlete, every second can be intertwined in a greater story. It is why we attach so much stock to sports moments. A player hits a big shot in a dramatic moment. There is a big throw with the game on the line.
All of these moments add up to stories that we can share for years to come. “Remember when Jordan hit that shot at the buzzer?” is a story that can pass from person to person for days, weeks, or even years to come.