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The Addiction of Professional Sports

TDGonDP

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As a child/teenager, I used to follow a lot of professional sports. It was one of the few ways of connecting with my father, plus it put me in a lot of social circles with “the guys” as a teenager. As an adult I drifted away. I was living in Edmonton in the heydays of the Oilers hockey dynasty and managed to get free ticket every once in a while. I did enjoy the games, but making the Edmonton Oilers my reason for living was not on my life agenda.

There are two sports I like to watch on TV: the Canadian Football League, which is the most unusual game where Canadian cities compete to see who has the best Americans, and curling, which—to you people of warm climates—is a gigantic shuffleboard game on ice that moves very slowly. I can put aside a few household repairs to partake in these two recreations. But if something important is up in life, the TV stays off.

Then one evening in 2004, I seemed to have nothing to do. So I watched my first hockey game on TV in many years. It was the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the Calgary Flames were on the docket (Calgary is about two hours away from my home town, so naturally there was some local affinity happening). I enjoyed the game immensely. So much so, that I watched another playoff game, then another, and adjusted my life schedule as to not miss one game. Four rounds at seven games each round at three and one half hours per game meant that I had spent 98 hours watching hockey—and not one good thing was done for the world!

I was puzzled by my commitment to this recreation that consumed me for two months, which never really happened before or since. A friend of mine, who holds a B.Sc. in Biology, explained it to me: “It’s all biology.”

My friend then further explained that when we emotionally attach ourselves to a professional sports team, we set up our bodies for a lot of hormone imbalances. When our team scores, we get a release of serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, etc., etc. that gives us a high. We feel great and wonderful! And when the other team scores, we are deprived of our chemicals. But that deprivation only causes us to crave more, so we keep watching to get our next fix. And going from an extreme low to the usual high really gets our jollies rolling. And when we get that fix, we want even more! Nothing is better than watching our favorite team trounce the opponent—except maybe seeing our favorite team steal the victory away from our opponent is the dying seconds of the game. Man-oh-Man, do we feel good about ourselves when that happens! But if we are not watching, reading about the game in the newspapers the next day just doesn’t do the job.

If I were to concoct some white powder and promise my customers a biological high, then a low, then another high, and few more cycles and highs and laws, I would probably be arrested for something illegal. Yet the fabricators of professional sports are more or less doing the same thing. It’s a strange world.
 

ecofarm

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The difference between an addict and a normal person is the addict knows how they're gonna feel. They control their ups and downs. That's what addiction is all about, control of the ups and downs. People do the same with sports.
 

Mr Person

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Never understood the appeal of fandom.

I did occasionally go to watch a baseball game as a kid, sometimes in Cincinatti (Reds) but mainly when we went out to Cape Cod for a summer vacation. Stuff actually happened in the Cape league (people on break from college who are apparently not practicing with their college team...or something. It was relatively younger guys than the major leagues, at least). But I lost interest as I got older.

Now I did wrestle and ended up getting recruited to the football team in HS, so I understand rooting for a team you're actually on. But to be a "fan" of a team because you happen to leave in the city in which they're based - a team whose lineup changes every year?

Nope. Don't get it.





Though I suppose I must admit that if I'm in a bar I have to fight to keep my eyes from wandering over to the TV, which inevitably has some game or other on.
 
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Skeptic Bob

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Never understood the appeal of fandom.

I did occasionally go to watch a baseball game as a kid, sometimes in Cincinatti (Reds) but mainly when we went out to Cape Cod for a summer vacation. Stuff actually happened in the Cape league (people on break from college who are apparently not practicing with their college team...or something. It was relatively younger guys than the major leagues, at least). But I lost interest as I got older.

Now I did wrestled and ended up getting recruited to the football team in HS, so I understand rooting for a team you're actually on. But to be a "fan" of a team because you happen to leave in the city in which they're based - a team whose lineup changes every year?

Nope. Don't get it.





Though I suppose I must admit that if I'm in a bar I have to fight to keep my eyes from wandering over to the TV, which inevitably has some game or other on.

I wish I was into watching sports because people who are really seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of it. The only way I can get any excitement out of it is if I have some money on the line, but that probably isn’t something I would want to make a habit out of.
 

TDGonDP

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Never understood the appeal of fandom.

I did occasionally go to watch a baseball game as a kid, sometimes in Cincinatti (Reds) but mainly when we went out to Cape Cod for a summer vacation. Stuff actually happened in the Cape league (people on break from college who are apparently not practicing with their college team...or something. It was relatively younger guys than the major leagues, at least). But I lost interest as I got older.

Now I did wrestled and ended up getting recruited to the football team in HS, so I understand rooting for a team you're actually on. But to be a "fan" of a team because you happen to leave in the city in which they're based - a team whose lineup changes every year?

Nope. Don't get it.





Though I suppose I must admit that if I'm in a bar I have to fight to keep my eyes from wandering over to the TV, which inevitably has some game or other on.

I don't get it either---for the most part. But when you incorporate the "drug" aspect of professional, I can see the appeal.

I like watching Canadian Football League, but I don't have a favorite team. I appreciate the chess game being played on the field, and the TSN commentators are pretty good at explaining how the various plays have shaped up. And the many breaks in the game give me the ability to relax and analyze. When I go to a hockey game, things move much too fast for me to understand the play. I think most hockey fans are in the same boat; they are there for the drugs provided by the home team.

And the lineup changes are indeed too many. The 2017 Grey Cup winner had only four Grey Cup players on the roster by mid-2018.

I took my son to his first CFL game this summer. A little too expensive for our family.

I like live baseball games. In my home town, we have a junior team made up from college players in the USA. These fellows are unlikely to move into the pros, but the quality is high.
 

ecofarm

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"Today I'm happy because my team won. Today I'm sad because my team lost."

"Today I'm happy because I have my fix. Today I'm sad because I don't."

Same diff.
 

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Helix

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i tried hard as a kid to like sports. i played them, and didn't mind basketball. baseball was out, as i don't like someone winging a rock at my head. also, it's a boring sport to watch. football was fun for a minute, but i'm not that physical and i don't like getting hurt or watching others get hurt. the closest i ever got to enjoying watching sports was after i read A Season on the Brink, which was a pretty good book. that got me interested in IU basketball, and as fate would have it, it was the 1986 - 1987 season. that was a pretty good season to be a fan of that particular team. i watched a number of the games, including and especially the championship. i remember it as being very exciting. other than that season, though, i just never got into sports that much. i played football and tennis in high school, and then i let that go, too. i like playing golf, but i don't watch much of it because i just don't care who is winning.

as an addendum, i went to a Steve Alford basketball camp when he was playing with the Mavericks. heck of a nice guy, and he was great with us kids.
 

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i tried hard as a kid to like sports. i played them, and didn't mind basketball. baseball was out, as i don't like someone winging a rock at my head. also, it's a boring sport to watch. football was fun for a minute, but i'm not that physical and i don't like getting hurt or watching others get hurt. the closest i ever got to enjoying watching sports was after i read A Season on the Brink, which was a pretty good book. that got me interested in IU basketball, and as fate would have it, it was the 1986 - 1987 season. that was a pretty good season to be a fan of that particular team. i watched a number of the games, including and especially the championship. i remember it as being very exciting. other than that season, though, i just never got into sports that much. i played football and tennis in high school, and then i let that go, too. i like playing golf, but i don't watch much of it because i just don't care who is winning.

as an addendum, i went to a Steve Alford basketball camp when he was playing with the Mavericks. heck of a nice guy, and he was great with us kids.

Do you have any stories about your time in camp with Alford? I always like the guy.

Over 20 years ago when my son was playing ball - we went to a high school Christmas tournament held at Indiana University to see two high school phenoms - Damon Bailey and Eric Montross play. The next day we went to the store inside the arena to buy some shirts. I asked the cashier about Bobby Knight and she said what that man says to those players during practice causes her to put earplugs in her ears . I thought that was interesting.

I have read several books about the IU program and Knight (including Season On The Brink) and have come to realize Knight is an all or nothing sort of man. I was impressed with how he stepped in to take care of Landon Turner - that player who became paralyzed in a wheel chair and raised money for him and helped get him employment. They say if you play for him and do what you are suppose to do, he will stick by you for life.
 

Helix

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Do you have any stories about your time in camp with Alford? I always like the guy.

Over 20 years ago when my son was playing ball - we went to a high school Christmas tournament held at Indiana University to see two high school phenoms - Damon Bailey and Eric Montross play. The next day we went to the store inside the arena to buy some shirts. I asked the cashier about Bobby Knight and she said what that man says to those players during practice causes her to put earplugs in her ears . I thought that was interesting.

I have read several books about the IU program and Knight (including Season On The Brink) and have come to realize Knight is an all or nothing sort of man. I was impressed with how he stepped in to take care of Landon Turner - that player who became paralyzed in a wheel chair and raised money for him and helped get him employment. They say if you play for him and do what you are suppose to do, he will stick by you for life.

i think i was 13 when i went to Alford's camp. they had us stay in a college dorm, which was a big deal. first time away from home like that for many of us. i ended up going to that college years later. anyway, they drilled the **** out of us from early morning until like 9 PM. i didn't ever get great at basketball, but after that camp, i was pretty much at my peak. he did a lot of personal instruction with small groups of us, so that was a pretty big deal. this was getting taught by a TV basketball hero. a couple of his NBA buddies were there helping out, as well, but i don't remember their names, unfortunately.

each evening when we were all pretty much spent, we'd hit the bleachers and Alford would play a pick up game with other NBA players who were there. they went all out. i remember being really impressed. we mostly just sat there with our mouths hanging open and then we tried to do even better the next day. it was a pretty cool experience, and it must have cost my parents some serious green. i'll have to thank them for it again all of these years later now that i'm thinking of it. Alford was a good role model for kids, and he did that camp right.
 

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i think i was 13 when i went to Alford's camp. they had us stay in a college dorm, which was a big deal. first time away from home like that for many of us. i ended up going to that college years later. anyway, they drilled the **** out of us from early morning until like 9 PM. i didn't ever get great at basketball, but after that camp, i was pretty much at my peak. he did a lot of personal instruction with small groups of us, so that was a pretty big deal. this was getting taught by a TV basketball hero. a couple of his NBA buddies were there helping out, as well, but i don't remember their names, unfortunately.

each evening when we were all pretty much spent, we'd hit the bleachers and Alford would play a pick up game with other NBA players who were there. they went all out. i remember being really impressed. we mostly just sat there with our mouths hanging open and then we tried to do even better the next day. it was a pretty cool experience, and it must have cost my parents some serious green. i'll have to thank them for it again all of these years later now that i'm thinking of it. Alford was a good role model for kids, and he did that camp right.

Wasn't his dad a hall of fame coach?

That sound great!!! Thanks for sharing it. I envy you that experience.

When I first started teaching one of the guys I taught with a guy who played at Central Michigan and his good friend played a couple of years with the Jazz and Peter Maravich. Not a star or anything - mostly a bench warmer. We would play ball in the gym after school about three days week for two hours ... three on three mostly .... always half court unless we had 8 or 10 which was not often - which I disdained being a guard who could run forever. He related some stories his buddy told him about Pete and they were amazing. He said that Maravich could do things with a basketball that no human was capable of and during practice would try crap just to see if he could do it. Sometimes it would work and sometimes it would not.
 
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