When I was younger, my parents loved the Miami Dolphins. Monday Night Football was a family event, complete with soda, snacks, and staying up late. Throughout the years I usually participated for the togetherness factor and the nachos, but I could never quite understand what was so fun about a bunch of burly guys running into each other.
Out of curiosity, I asked my family and friends why they enjoyed watching sports, and a few answers kept popping up. If you’re unhappy that your house has been buzzing with news about the World Cup or the NBA Playoffs this month, here are some tips to help you understand why your loved ones enjoy a hobby that you dislike.
Friendly competition is fun.
It’s nice to feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself, and that’s what you feel when you’re rooting for a sports team. You can’t always get that feeling in daily life, especially if you have a job that isn’t enjoyable or doesn’t promote competitive behavior. Better yet, if you’re not doing so great at work or school, being on the winning team helps you build the confidence you need to do your best.
It’s an excuse for togetherness.
If you’re watching sports with family or with acquaintances who don’t share many of your interests, sports games help promote bonding. It’s a lot like seeing a movie on a first date. You don’t know if you’ll have much to say to each other, but you want to be together and share a fun experience. If you have a hard time getting the whole family in one place for dinner, having a sports night like my parents did can help you feel closer to your spouse and kids.
Everyone needs a fantastic goal.
Even though most of us are never going to become famous, we like to dream about it. Some people want to be actors or musicians in a band, and some people want to be sports stars. Those who wish to be seen as strong, skilled, and brave are often drawn to sports as a model for what they could become, even if they don’t realize it themselves.
In the end, watching sports is a hobby that provides the exciting ups and downs that are missing from our everyday life, just like many other hobbies such as reading fiction or catching your favorite weekly TV show. Before you write off watching sports as a lazy activity, or something that can be put off until the next game, talk to your family or friends about why they watch sports. You might be surprised.
Look out for Part 2, where I explain why some people strongly dislike sports and just can’t get into the game.