1 According To Victor How Is Man Different From Animals Why We Watch Sports – (And It’s Not What You Think)

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Why We Watch Sports – (And It’s Not What You Think)

Whether you want to believe it or not, we love watching sports for much different reasons than you might think. In fact, the real things that make us like sports are in every person, whether we like sports or not. What things can we learn about human nature simply by looking at our fascination with competition? The answers may surprise you. Not only are the answers interesting in themselves, but they just might help you in other ways as well.

There are some pretty straightforward and clear explanations for why we like sports. Sports teach us about loyalty, perseverance and honor. It gives us a way to connect, it’s cathartic and we identify with the teams and the players. We live vicariously through the players we watch. We have our favorite players, and there are teams we grew up rooting for because our brother or father used to love them, and now we still root for them today. Or we can follow a sport now that we played as a child.

But there are also some deeper, more powerful and fascinating reasons.

We’re all just big kids

Whether you want to believe it or not, all adults are just big kids. We’re all just big kids. We simply hide our true feelings and thoughts with highly developed skills (or at least most of us do). We still want to belong or be accepted by our peers, we all still want to be loved, we still feel emotional pain, and we still find ourselves giving in to instant gratification when we know better. And yes, some of us still lie and cheat in our normal everyday lives.

Of course we hide things better and often successfully ‘act’ like we don’t care about belonging, love, pain or whatever. Deep down we are a little more mature and wiser, but basically still just children. We may not say it out loud anymore, but we still sometimes think to ourselves, “That’s not right!” We would rather play than work. Some may argue, depending on whether they urinate standing or sitting, that this is especially true for men. Maybe that’s why there are more sports-loving men than women.

You see, watching sports gives us a little microcosm of the perfect, safe and secure, black and white life. Following a player, team or game allows us to experience ups and downs and a range of emotions, just like in real life, but we don’t actually make an impact.

And unlike life, sports and games are generally fair! There are rules and a crystal clear framework, or paradigm, that all participants and spectators know. There are no monkey wrenches thrown into a sports game, such as rules changing mid-game. If the rules are broken, the offender is punished. They don’t run away in frustration ever like in real life.

In the end, there is a clear winner and a clear loser. We have to pretend that the game we’re watching is life, where everything is perfectly fair, everyone plays by the rules, and everything makes sense.

Children tend to think of things in much more black and white terms. Only through living and maturing do we realize that all life is a series of grays. But we all still long for a simpler and easier life. When things are only seen in black or white, things really seem simpler and easier, but life is not so clear.

This helps explain why politicians who break down their platform into simple sound bites and terms without complexity often do better than politicians who talk about life as it really is, a complex, nuanced interconnected world.

Watching sports allows us a temporarily safe and socially acceptable way to become more like our true nature, and our true nature is terribly childish. So the next time you’re dealing with a difficult person, remember that they’re just a big kid, like you and everyone else, and maybe that knowledge will help you deal with them a little easier. .

What do watching a horror movie and sports have in common?

Have you ever wondered why so many people, possibly including you, enjoy watching horror movies so much? They provide a safe way for people to experience high levels of suspense without actually being in any real danger. Sports can be the same way. Again, watching sports allows us to enter a perfect world where the suspenseful outcome has no bearing on our real life (unless you have a bad sports gambling problem of course).

People love drama, suspense and resolution, which are all inherent elements in sports. In fact, the closer the game, the more suspense there is. If we identify with a player and he wins, we are very happy about the success. However, if the player’s team loses, we also feel the loss a little. But our life is intact. And sportscasters usually only add to the drama and suspense.

A sports game is a kind of story. It has a beginning and an end. There is a protagonist (your team) and an antagonist (the other team). There is a scene and a setting, the stadium at noon, and there is a plot, which is the action. Only after the matches are over, and depending on whether your team won or not, is it decided to call it a fairy tale ending or a tragedy.

The Reptilian Brain and War

Whether you want to believe it or not, humans are much closer to nature and the animal world than most people want to think. We are not only close to nature; we are part of it! Evolutionarily speaking, we are much closer in time to our non-intelligent animal ancestors than to a transcended sentient species apart from nature. Our behavior is guided much more by our ‘primitive brain’ than our more recently developed neocortex, which is the seat of our intelligence. The primitive brain, or the lowest brain function, deals with fight-or-flight behavior, hunger, fear, and sex, among other things.

A common but mistaken concept is that the human brain is the result of billions of years of evolution. Our primitive or reptilian part of the brain is so old, but the very large neocortex of our brain, the thing that separates us from other mammals, appeared only a few million years ago, a mere drop in the evolutionary bucket. The neocortex did not have much time to develop, and so our primitive brain plays an important role in our lives.

Our basic flight or fight mentality manifests itself in sports. We can relate, on a deeper, unconscious level, to the guy running with the football toward the end zone and being chased by a pack of angry men. We can understand what it’s like to check another player in hockey and crash him into the boards. Or we can sympathize with the NASCAR driver who gets passed by a competitor but kicks him into a higher gear and chases after him.

Our primitive desire for dominance is represented in sports. When our team wins, we experience a kind of dominance over the opposing team and their fans.

Our predatory nature shines when we see a linebacker chasing a running back through a mass of football players, waiting for the perfect moment to hit his prey with a tackle. Watching someone chase the ball man in basketball, football, or baseball affects us in similar ways.

Our tribal instincts are fulfilled by sports. We all want to belong to something; it is a basic human need since we are such social animals. We identify with a team as our ancestors would identify with their tribe. This is especially true of the modern man of the Western world, where community has taken second place to independence.

Our primitive fighting nature is satisfied with sport. There seems to be an innate desire for war, even in so-called ‘modern’ man. Indeed, look at the world today and how many actual wars are going on, and you will see how far we are from true peace. Pathetically, that last statement is true of almost every time in history, regardless of when you’re reading this. Again, this goes back to the fact that we are ruled more by our ‘primitive’, survival-fight-or-flight brains than our rational and intelligent ‘modern’ brains.

Every sports game is like a little tribal war, with an end and a declared winner. But there is an important difference; unlike war, no one should die in sports.

One of the reasons that going to a game is more exciting than watching it on TV is that there is a kind of energy that is created when so many people come together and root for a cause. You can even compare it to a mob mentality. We need look no further than our stadiums where the epidemic has broken out in protest at a call or in celebration of a victory. Sports strongly appeal to people’s gaming and fighting instincts.

And since our modern life no longer contains any real physical danger and all our basic needs are taken care of immediately, we now have a void that must be filled somehow, our primitive brain expects it. Sports fit the bill. It gives us the illusion of reality where there are no consequences. It gives us the illusion of battle, war, victory and defeat, without consequences. And it gives us the illusion of being a kid again, even if it’s all temporary.

You might not like sports at all, but we’re all pretty much kids inside. We all crave a level of drama in our lives. And we are all constantly affected by our primitive brain. Watching sports is a great way for people to reconcile these inescapable facts.

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