Fandom And Fanaticism

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Introduction What is it about sports that make people so emotionally charged? If it is “only a game”, why does fan behavior sometimes border onto fanaticism? These are some questions that have been asked time and time again while researching fan behavior. The reasons for such loyalist, crazy fan mentality can be attributed to several psychological, biological and social reasons. The thrill of competition and result based format of sporting events creates an atmosphere charged with emotion that binds sports fans together. Sports fans thrive and feed off energy in this sphere. The addictive nature of the emotional experience of watching a team play and sharing their wins and losses motivates fans to invest heavily in their teams leading to extremely emotional fan behavior. Sports Fandom and Driving Factors The choice of research being studied must be relevant to the subject under consideration (Patton,1987).The word fan first became popular in reference to enthusiasts of baseball. It originally comes from the Latin word fanaticus, meaning “insanely but divinely inspired”. Dunning, Murphy, and Williams (1986) noted that fandom “has come to form one of the principal media of collective identification in modern society and one of the principal sources of meaning in life for many people.” Understanding fandom is of essential importance as this study also aims to understand certain behavioral patterns of sports fans. Researchers have long been interested in studying the characteristics, habits and overall health of sports fans. They've studied alcohol consumption, testosterone levels, and even cardiac arrest rates after a Super Bowl game. Daniel L.Wann, a psychology professor who is cited in plenty of artic... ... middle of paper ... ... together, sharing an emotional bond with people they may never see again. Sports can be a coping mechanism for many people as it simply helps them distress after a hard day in the office. Millions of sports fans across the world develop their schedules around their local team and work their routine primarily around being a fan knowingly or unknowingly. Sport often lures the fanatic out of the realm of reality into its own fairy tale like world, which is a primary finding in a majority of studies. It can also be observed that research can be conducted to include the emotional levels of attachment of sports fans when their teams are both in a successful and unsuccessful sphere, as there is a possibility the levels of emotional attachment differ in one fan itself in these two different scenarios, which may lead to a different perception of the term ‘sports fan’ itself.

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