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I don't get team sports....

 
town drunk
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I've never been able to understand watching team sports, in general.

I don't understand the resentment that athletes get for their high salaries. Sure, they make more money in a year then I'll ever see: but so what? Why target them for resentment? at the very least, they work hard. what about the fat-cat owners of the teams: you know, the guys that write check for your Michael Jordans? What about the agents, the sports casters, the sales and merchandising guys: why aren't they actively resented? Certainly they work less hard then a superstar who brings in the fans? I just don't get it.


And for that matter, how do you decide what team is 'your' team? is it based on geography? Certain players? If so, do you change favorite teams as these factors shift? Is it colors? Do the teams represent certain values and traits, and are worshiped accordingly, like Greek gods that embody the traits you admire (that is, would you choose the dolphins if you're an animal lover? The cowboys if you're a John Wayne fan? the Steelers if you're blue collar?)

What, exactly, is this crap all about?
[ October 14, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
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Is this some kinda homework question?
 
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Sure, they make more money in a year then I'll ever see: but so what? Why target them for resentment?


I don't know if the US has a similar problems to UK soccer, but all but the most successful teams struggle with the effect wages have on their clubs financial viability. There have been a number of teams through the years which have ceased to exist because of bankruptcy largely due to paying too high wages to players. In Scotland, Livingston, Motherwell and Dundee have all been declared bankrupt. Celtic very nearly went bust in the early 90s. Rangers currently have a �76M debt (at least). Hearts were very nearly bankrupt till they got lucky with a foreign investor. Financial advisers keep pointing out that the high wages are unsustainable, but the effect dropping down a division has on revenue is so dramatic club owners tend to feel a high wage bill is a risk worth taking.

As a fan, I am often irked by being asked to pay ever increasing prices at the gate just to help underwrite foolish financial decisions. Players come and go, fans stick with a club. But if a player demands too much money (and a reckless club owners indulges them) the club can cease to exist. Google for "Third Lanark" to see what can happen.


And for that matter, how do you decide what team is 'your' team? is it based on geography?


Yes geography is the key. Manchester United fans are derided by other fans for (largely) not coming from Manchester. The suspicion is they are a fan of United's success, not United. If you change teams you might be a fan, but you are not a supporter and that's the key difference. Picking a successful team to follow is seen as the easy option. Again I don't know if this applies to the US (where I understand a franchise can shift location) but in Scotland the majority of old clubs have long historical involvement with the community they are part of - its more than just a source of entertainment. Witness the furore when Hearts contemplated a move from the part of Edinburgh they have occupied for more than a hundred years to a new site only five miles away (and still in Edinburgh). There was a large and sustained protest from fans.
 
Marshal
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My interest in sports can be measured using a very large negative number.
 
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Chess and billiard are also sports
 
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
I've never been able to understand watching team sports, in general.



I am with you. I'm not above going to the stadium once in a while to have some beers and scream at the ref, but man, the game is the LEAST entertaining thing there. I sure don't follow any teams. I run to keep fit and that doesn't lend itself to being a spectator sport. Heck, I don't even understand basketball. I must have missed that day in gym.
 
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Originally posted by David Ulicny:
Chess and billiard are also sports



But not team sports.

Mark
 
Mark Spritzler
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Why am I a fan of certain teams.

1. Emotional events that map to a team.
a. In 1980 and 81 I went to Duke University for computer camp. There I saw a basketball player that was amazing, I made a prediction about Duk'e team in 4 years, so I started watching and got hooked.

2. Growing up you can be influenced by your parents.
a. I grew up in Philadelphia, therefore I watched those teams. I went to all the Eagles football games from age 6 to 16.

3. Location influence
a. I moved to Los Angeles to go to school USC. So I have the school pride thing.
b. With that move, I like baseball, and even though I grew up disliking the Dodger's, they were the team in town and that is who I would go see, so now I am a Dodger's fan. (Yes I can admit that)


Mark
 
David Ulicny
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But not team sports.



In billiard are contests where plays teams, in chess I'm not sure, but I suppose it will be similar.
 
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With some snacks and cola, It's nice to see Sports like Cricket or Football(even Hockey), I sometimes goto gallaries to shout. But there is speciality with me. I never decide to support a side. I just watch to see who is playing good. Whoever wins, not make a sense.

Just PLAY FUN!
 
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I just get more and more frustrated at how much of our society revolves around pro sports. I can't really get into watching someone else play a game. There's no interaction and it drives me insane to just sit there like a sheeple waiting for someone else to do something exciting.

Funny thing is that I used to play ice hockey and LIVED to watch / listen to hockey games. Couldn't live without it. How times change.
 
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I've personally known some owners of some major league sports teams in the US (teams with national branding). I know for baseball they're not in it for the money. Most baseball teams actually lose money for their owners. Instead, they're really rich guys who do it for socialization.

But I don't get sports teams either--despiting having a former gf who is the biggest Red Sox nut on the planet.

--Mark
 
Paul Sturrock
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Most baseball teams actually lose money for their owners. Instead, they're really rich guys who do it for socialization.


Same think is true in th UK. Soccer is a (very) expensive hobby for the majority of chairmen, not a business.
 
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
What, exactly, is this crap all about?



I can only really answer with respect to my particular addiction (football), but its certainly not a logical answer.

I didn't choose a particular team - it chose me. My dad has been football addict since childhood, and took me along to my first game early enough on in life that I had to have my nappy changed at half time (no, that wasn't last year before any smart-alec comments come in). At first I wasn't that impressed, but then slowly it became more entertaining. I quite liked it when people jumped around being silly, and sometimes there were interesting bits of skill... but that was it. I was just a casual supporter with no great emotional connection. But then one day it changed.

I can't quite pinpoint the time when it happened (like most addictions, people are addicts long before they realise it), but suddenly I realised that I didn't have a choice about going. Football had stopped being a form of entertainment, and become something different and unexplainable.

The reason why its so strange is because its often not enjoyable. The team I support, Reading, are often rubbish. For most their 130 year history (never in the top division) they fumble and flap around and then have a disappointing end to the season. I would often go along to a game, be depressed for a couple of hours, and then go home again. What other form of "entertainment" would have a bunch of people willing to pay good money to do that every week?

The difference with other forms of entertainment is the connection between the fans, and with the team. I not only want the team to win out of some kind of loyalty, but out of a sense of being part of the team. Most football fans use the word "we" when talking about the team they support, and not the word "they". This is because most football fans truly feel they are part of the team - they feel like failures when the team looses, and like kings when they win.

There's also the connection with the other fans. There's something undeniably powerful and incredible about the instant when your team scores. To be one of 20,000 people who all, completely without choosing to, jump into the air and scream out loud with joy is a very strange, and wonderful, experience. The feeling of being part of one enormous family is very strong when watching a team.

This feeling of communal togetherness is what makes it great, and makes it worth while sitting through all those dire performances and depressing seasons. After a while this buzz becomes addictive, and the fan is stuck. At this point the fan will continue to support the team even if it becomes clear that there just isn't going to be a great celebration around the corner. There's a team in Scotland which managed to go the entire season without winning a game, but (a small number of) people still turned up to watch them every week. To these people the team is like a member of the family - to be supported and encouraged even when they are not doing well. Like family members the team cannot be replaced, but you wouldn't want to - you love them despite their faults.

Another big reason why football fans have such a passionate relationship with their team was mentioned above by Paul. Often teams have been within their community for generations. Most teams have been in the same town for a centaury or so, and have families with generations of fans. Its part of the reason why we so dislike the franchise idea of teams moving around the country (its happened once in the UK and most football fans detest that it did).

In this kind of situation where a team is so connected to the local community, supporting the team comes as naturally as supporting your country. I couldn't change to supporting another team any more then I could listen to the French national anthem and feel patriotic - it just wouldn't happen. In the same way that many people feel their nationality is a built in part of them, I feel like my team is a built in part of me. I'm stuck with Reading now.

Fortunately for me, we're currently having one of our rare good seasons

---
A good book to read to get a better understanding of the strange illogic of a football fan is Fever Pitch. The film is ok, but the book its based on almost perfectly sums up a fan's relationship with his team.
 
Paul Sturrock
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The team I support, Reading, are often rubbish.


I've been to the Majedski to watch Reading play a number of times. You are right, they are often rubbish
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Paul Sturrock:

I've been to the Majedski to watch Reading play a number of times. You are right, they are often rubbish





Did you go as a supporter of a particular team, or as a neutral?

At least the one good side to supporting an often rubbish team is that the good seasons seem all that much better. We know that we probably won't get promoted this year, but its great to see the good start we've had because its rare. Imagine how boring it must be for Chelsea fans in comparison - they know they're most likely going to win the league already, so where's the excitement?

I wonder how many Manchester United "fans" have quietly moved their support to Chelsea, and how many of them have actually been to Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge...
 
Paul Sturrock
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I went as a neutral (I can't change my alligencies - we've firmly established that ), since I was living in Reading at the time and the round trip to support my team (Dundee United) would be about 800 miles.

Supporting my team is a great example of why it is sometimes worth making the effort to stick with a rubbish side. I have watched an entire season with no home wins, I've watched Ranges put seven past us, I've watched them reach the Scottish Cup final seven times, running out losers each time, and I've watched them relegated. But I have also seen an entirely Scottish club team beat Roma, beat Barcelona (4 times, home and away), thrash Monaco 5-nil, beat PSV Eindhoven, Anderlecht, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Werder Bremen, play in a European Cup semi-final, and a UEFA cup final.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Paul Sturrock:
I went as a neutral (I can't change my alligencies - we've firmly established that ), since I was living in Reading at the time and the round trip to support my team (Dundee United) would be about 800 miles.


Hmmm, yes, 800 miles would be a bit of a trip! I thought it I was a bit too far away from my team (living in SE London), but that's just a bit more....


Supporting my team is a great example of why it is sometimes worth making the effort to stick with a rubbish side. I have watched an entire season with no home wins, I've watched Ranges put seven past us, I've watched them reach the Scottish Cup final seven times, running out losers each time, and I've watched them relegated. But I have also seen an entirely Scottish club team beat Roma, beat Barcelona (4 times, home and away), thrash Monaco 5-nil, beat PSV Eindhoven, Anderlecht, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Werder Bremen, play in a European Cup semi-final, and a UEFA cup final.


This is what makes football such a great sport. The way in which its possible for a heavily unfavoured team to pull off shock victories, or for a great team to have a bad day and loose, makes it all the more interesting. In some other sports with a higher amount of scoring (rugby for example), the better team will always be more confident of winning. In football, on the other hand, sometimes a bit of hard work, luck and sheer determination can let a team pull off some fantastic results.

Still, this is only across one game, and it takes a lot of luck to make something incredible happen over an entire season. I can imagine it gets a bit frustrating being a supporter of a Scottish team and seeing the same two teams compete for the title each year. Maybe it'll be different this year (Hearts seem to be making a good attempt at upsetting the pattern), but the cynical part of me sees Ranger's and Celtic's money making the difference in the end. You never know though... stranger things have happened in football...
 
Paul Sturrock
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Maybe it'll be different this year (Hearts seem to be making a good attempt at upsetting the pattern), but the cynical part of me sees Ranger's and Celtic's money making the difference in the end. You never know though... stranger things have happened in football...


I had the same cynical thoughts at the start of the season, but less so now. Watching Rangers, Celtic and Hearts - I don't see much of a difference in the teams. Hearts have some genuinely good players. And the difference in quality between the big two and the other teams has narrowed recently. For example, Rangers haven't recorded a league win against us in two years (six games, two wins to United, four draws). Hearts, Kilmarnock, Aberdeen, Hibs and United all won in Glasgow last year. Five years ago, that would be unheard of.

Who knows, perhaps this year well have a non-Glasgow based winner for the first time in 15 years. And perhpas Reading will actually win a playoff...
 
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I can't really get into watching someone else play a game.



Can you get into watching someone else catch the bad guy? or solve a crime? or go on an "epic fantasy adventure"?

How is watching a game different than any other thing you watch on TV or the screen? In some ways, you can be MORE invested, because these are REAL people doing REAL things - not some hollywood CG effects painted over a green screen.
 
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
I've never been able to understand watching team sports, in general.



Me neither.

The only game I can sometimes watch on TV is tennis (cannot explain why).
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by fred rosenberger:
How is watching a game different than any other thing you watch on TV or the screen? In some ways, you can be MORE invested, because these are REAL people doing REAL things - not some hollywood CG effects painted over a green screen.



Maybe this is why there is a current growth in popularity of reality TV programmes involving real people doing real things. They may be poor entertainment, but viewers perhaps feel a greater connection with the people on these programmes in comparison with people in special effects filled films. Unfortunately it means we're going to be subjected to even more Pop Idol and Big Brother
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Paul Sturrock:
And perhpas Reading will actually win a playoff...



Argh, don't mention the "p" word... that penalty miss will probably haunt me forever
 
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