Why are you the way you are? I don’t mean that in a Michael Scott way. You’re not Toby Flenderson, and you don’t annoy me. I mean as that question to be interpreted on a much deeper level. I also don’t want to just ask Detroit Lions fans. I want to ask all sports fans. Why are we the way that we are?
What is it about fanaticism that makes people cram tightly into stadiums in, let’s be honest, uncomfortable fashion? What makes us spend our money on jerseys with someone else’s name on them and apparel with logos of our team? What makes us dedicate our entire week to just getting to gameday? Why is it that the result of that game controls the way we feel hours, days and sometimes weeks?
These are the things that go through our brains all the time. This is something about our species that I just needed to understand. So I reached out to Daniel L. Wann to help me understand why we do the crazy things we do as fans. Wann is a professor of psychology at Murray State University, and he’s spent years researching sports fandom and its impact on humans. He broke everything down for us. Here’s what we learned.
It starts with needs
It’s seems very basic, right? Why do we do almost anything? Because we have very real psychological needs and wants, and sports can fill