Why Do We Watch Sports?

It’s weird how I’ve been a sports fan pretty much my entire life (there’s been peaks and valleys in my amount of interest and “diehard” fandom), yet I’ve never had a “real” reason to explain why I watch sports like I do.  So I decided to do what anyone else in that situation would do…I Googled “Why Do We Watch Sports?” and decided to see what other people had to say.

After glossing over a few articles, I found a few common themes among them:

  • Genuine intrigue in the non-predetermined outcome of the game
  • The emotional reactions of watching the game
  • Watching something that we’re physically not capable of doing ourselves
  • The desire for affiliation and feeling like we’re a part of something.

One article I found (link: http://www.mentalgamecoaching.com/IMGCAArticles/SportsAndSociety/WhyWeWatchSports.html)

was a bit more scholarly in nature, and it discussed how unlike life, sports and games are generally fair with a clear cut framework and set of rules.  The article continued on to mention that sports are like an unscripted story, in that there’s a beginning and an end, there’s a good guy (your favorite team) and the bad guy (the opposing team), there’s happy endings (your favorite team winning), and there’s tragic endings (your favorite team losing).  Much like watching a horror movie or a drama, sports provide us the opportunity to experience a level of suspense without putting ourselves at any risk or having the result have any true bearing on our real life.

That same article continued to mention that sports give us a way to bond as we vicariously live through the athletes we watch perform, all while learning about loyalty, honor, and perseverance.

So in conclusion, I suppose we watch sports due to the fact that we’re curious, emotional creatures who take pride in feeling a sense of affiliation with others while living vicariously watching people perform at an elite level that we’re incapable of performing at while watching the unscripted drama unfold in front of us.  Sounds like some good reasons to me.  Personally, I’ll probably still just answer the question of “why do you watch sports?” with “I just like to” just to avoid a long philosophical discussion.


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