“The Power of Play Exploring the World of Sports and Games”

  • Have you ever, at a young age, formed a bond with an object or activity that you believe is so strong that you can’t live without it? If the answer is “yes,” I’m sure you would be willing to say that this particular thing or activity has had a significant impact on your life and is now a part of who you are. While some people are passionate about sports, others are passionate about music, entertainment, or traveling. The way sports fans express their passion and how much more it truly means to them as a group is what sets them apart from other people who share similar interests. Because of their impact on spectators, sports are more than just a game. In a way that few other things can, sports teams provide fans with an identity, a sense of belonging, and pure joy.
There's more to sports than just games.

    There’s more to sports than just games.
  • Some people see sports as nothing more than a game. Those same individuals are of the opinion that sports fans take matters to an excessive degree and should simply grow up, considering that what takes place on the field, court, or ice is not a big deal. They see them as “lazy beer drinkers” who have a “pathological obsession with a trivial and socially disruptive activity.” The good and the bad come with many aspects of life, including sports and their fans. Sports can also bring some bad things, despite the joy and goodness they bring. Fans can become engrossed in acts they would typically avoid in the heat of the moment. This includes fights between fans, throwing liquids or other objects at athletes, verbal abuse, and the commotion that fans cause when their team loses or wins a championship game. A Denver Nuggets fan pushing NBA player Russel Westbrook and a Utah Jazz fan verbally abusing Westbrook are two examples of each type of inappropriate fan behavior. beer thrown at Craig Kimbrel, a Red Sox pitcher at the time, by New York Yankees fans; and rioting among Vancouver Canucks fans following their team’s defeat in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
  • These are some of the irrational behaviors that give sports fans a bad name. However, the fans who engage in these behaviors are just bad apples who misrepresent the majority of sports fans who are genuine and behave well. There are unquestionably a lot of irresponsible sports fans who do not know how to properly enjoy sporting events, but this is only a very small number. The good sports fans who observe the game in the right way and are influenced positively should not be diminished by the occasional misdeeds committed by a single irresponsible fan. Another reason why some people think this is because they don’t think sports have any real-world impact is that they don’t think so. Because of this, they believe that people shouldn’t be so passionate about them and should instead focus on matters that are more important. However, given the numerous benefits offered to fans by this “game,” this could not be further from the truth.
  • These fans are profoundly influenced by sports in numerous positive ways that far outweigh the inherent drawbacks. Fans of sports are given a brand-new identity by which they can live. People usually think of a person’s physical characteristics or personality when they think of identity, not the team they belong to. However, these individuals identify in this manner due to the strong bond they have developed with their team. According to Wang (2006), “research demonstrates similarities between a fan’s identification with a sports team and how people identify with their nationality, ethnicity, and even gender.” A sports fan can become so emotionally invested in a team that it becomes not only their reputation but also their identity.
  • This is absurd, according to the same people who view sports as nothing more than “just a game.” They hold the belief that it is impossible to identify as a sports fan, so no one should actually identify as one. Being a sports or a particular team fanatic is a complicated concept that they simply cannot comprehend for them. In contrast, it is fairly straightforward. Because how one chooses to live their life and how they are widely recognized by others make up one’s identity, anyone can identify as who they want to be. It is the same as claiming to be an avid baker or traveler. A person’s interests and aspirations are reflected in their identity. In the end, everyone has an identity, and for some, that identity just happens to be sports.
  • According to Murray State University psychology professor Daniel Wann, “team identification” “is the extent to which a fan feels a psychological connection to a team and the team’s performances are viewed as self-relevant” (Wann, 2006). Numerous studies have shown that sports fans devote so much time and effort to their team that, over time, it gradually shapes their habits and eventually becomes a significant part of who they are and what they represent. Sports have the rare ability, in a matter of seconds, to transform someone who is typically introverted and quiet into the loudest and most social person in the room. I am an excellent illustration of this in action because I am the kind of person who has been referred to as “a man of few words.” However, when the topic is sports-related, however, my eyes light up and I can go on and on.
  • Sports fans quickly adopt a new identity, which evolves into a new way of life. This is shown by the sports fans in Bulgaria, who were looked at to see how their country’s sports affect the people there. This striking connection between sport and Bulgarian national identity is further demonstrated by a sociological survey of national pride in developed countries (Ilycheva, 2005). Their identity is centered on their national sports teams, like the identities of all sports fans worldwide. Because of everything these teams give them, these people can’t imagine living without them. It is abundantly clear that sports fans’ decisions regarding how to live their lives are profoundly influenced. This is also due to the unique way that sports and the teams involved can affect people’s emotions.
  • Through their teams and players, fans get a unique sense of belonging. All things considered, “the study of sports is illuminating how audiences use mediated sports for personal fulfillment as well as for interpersonal and group connections” People who follow their favorite team closely on a daily basis gradually integrate to the point where they feel like they are an active member of the team. A fan begins to identify with the team as if they were the same as the players by attending all of the games to support them, keeping track of each road game’s score, getting to know all of the players and coaches, and doing a lot more. They are one with the team they support when the dedicated fans get up early to paint their faces, wear their team colors, and meet other fans outside the arena or stadium where their team plays. The moment these fans enter the stadium, which they consider to be their second home, they immediately feel at ease. This is a special place for them, a place where they can feel like they are a part of something bigger than their mundane day job and normal life.
  • They are doing what they believe they are called to do when they are chanting in unison with thousands of other people who are dressed just like them. Fans of sports get a sense of purpose from this setting and activity, and the stress of everyday life is quickly washed away. A fan experiences all of the same emotions and truly believes they are there right alongside their favorite athletes as they prepare to face the opposing team, even if they are only able to watch their team play on television. The degree to which fans become attached to their team and players can be measured scientifically. Since then, other studies have confirmed this connection, and others suggest that the entire array of neurochemicals associated with athleticism, including dopamine, adrenaline, and oxytocin, are triggered in the same way in both players and spectators during a game (Barth, 2016).
  • To put it another way, when a baseball player, for instance, hits a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the game for their team, the fan feels the same emotions and has the same pattern of brain activity as the player at the time. Fans can sort of live out their dreams through their favorite athletes thanks to this rare experience. Although it may appear to be a stretch to say that sports make fans feel like they belong on the actual team, it is far more logical than one might think for fans to feel this way.
  • The sports that are played have a positive impact that goes far beyond just bringing the fans pure joy. Fans can relax and enjoy themselves by watching their team compete in sports. They make it possible for fans from all over to come together with the common objective of supporting their team and interacting with their favorite players. It means a lot to a lot of people to be able to sit back and enjoy the world around them instead of being consumed by despair and negativity. The people of New York City came together after the terrible events of September 11 and watched the Yankees play, transforming their sadness into joy and laughter. Watching a baseball game seemed to signal to the fans that everything would be alright and that better times were ahead. Sports have a remarkable capacity to brighten someone’s day, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
  • There are no sports in this day and age because of the deadly Coronavirus, which has put the world on high alert. denying everyone in the world the comfort that sports provide, not just sports fans. During these trying times, there are no sports like baseball, basketball, football, hockey, or any other that almost provide people with a distraction. Even for those who typically would not consider themselves to be avid sports fans, times like these are when the true value of sports becomes most apparent. Sports are one of the pillars that hold many aspects of society together, regardless of whether people are willing to admit it.
  • It not only brings a smile to the faces of fans and gives them something to cheer for, but it also improves the communities where the teams are located. The teams make money by selling tickets, buying memorabilia, and tourists from fans who live outside the city. They all contribute to the overall development and prosperity of the cities in which they operate and the people who live there. The Chicago Cubs baseball team, which contributes up to $600 million annually to the state of Illinois, is a current illustration of this in action. The Oakland Athletics are another, and they want to do the same thing with a new ballpark in Oakland. This park would help people get jobs and generate a lot of money that could be used to improve city life.
There's more to sports than just games.

    There’s more to sports than just games.
  • The charitable contributions that are made by the leagues themselves and even the athletes who are part of those leagues are another way that people receive financial benefits from professional sports leagues. When a player receives a financial penalty for a team or league violation, this is a common natural occurrence. The league gives that money to charities of their choice voluntarily. The sports industry is always looking for new ways to help others. Their collaboration with organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which gives children the chance to meet their favorite players, is another example of this in action. As some would like to put it, these professional sports leagues do so much more good than just being “just a game.”
  • The youth of the nation are a valuable resource for society, and sports have a significant impact on them. According to Hemphill (2019), “they provide youth with structured sport and physical activity experiences that explicitly prioritize the development of personal and social life skills, in addition to the physical development that is typically associated with sport participation.” In order for young children to be successful in life beyond the field, court, or ice rink, organized sports emphasize the values they need to know. Kids learn so much more than just how to read a defense through these sports. Participants develop into mature adults who can one day contribute to society while enjoying friendly competition. From the time I was a young child all the way through high school, the values I’ve learned through sports have taught me a lot of valuable information that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t had those experiences.
  • I find it hard to believe that some people are unable to recognize the significant impact that sports have on society in light of everything that the world of sports has to offer—both for the devoted sports fans and the general population as a whole. When nothing else can, sports provide fans with an identity and a sense of belonging. For everyone else, sports enrich the lives of those who live in their communities, raise funds for charitable causes, and instill values in young people that shape their future. All of these things have a positive impact on millions, if not billions, of people every day and completely alter the lives of so many people, but sports are still just “just a game,” right?


  • M. A. Hemphill, B. Gordon, and P. M. Wright Sports as a way to get ahead: integration of life skills into a constructive youth development program. Retrieved March 15, 2020, from com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/doi/pdf/10.1080/17408989.2019.1606901?needAccess=true Ilycheva, M. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 24(4), 390–401. Dedicated Till Death”: In Bulgarian online forums, sports enthusiasts and nationalist discourse. 251–270 in Polish Sociological Review (151). Wann, D.L., and James, J. D., retrieved March 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/41274930. Fans of sport: The social and psychological effects of fandom. Group Taylor & Francis. From https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/lib/asulib-ebooks/reader.action?docID=5584248 Wang, S.; retrieved on March 15, 2020. Sports Arena: The Science Behind Excessive Exuberance Association for the Study of Psychology. Barth, B. J., and https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/sports-complex-the-science-behind-fanatic-behavior The Particular Neurology of the Fan’s Brain Nautilus. Earnheardt, A. C., Haridakis, P. M., and Hugenberg, B. S. retrieved this information from http://nautil.us/issue/39/sport/the-unique-neurology-of-the-sports-fans-brain on March 15, 2020. Socialization, identity, and sports fans: Investigating Fandemonium. The Lexington Press 15 March 2020, Retrieved

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