Why Do People Obsess Over Sports?

Why Do People Obsess Over Sports?

Your heart races and your cheeks begin to
flush; as you anticipate the surge of energy this win will bring, you move to the edge
of your seat – you can’t get enough! So why are we so passionately involved or obsessed
with sports? Hormones control the way we feel and are stimulated
by every action we take. Hugging a friend releases oxytocin making you feel calm, while
cramming for an exam releases cortisol leading to irritability – but also alertness. Simply
watching sports stimulates hormone levels as well. Testosterone in particular is a hormone
linked to dominance and social interaction, but also increases brain power, spatial awareness
and muscle growth. And scientists have found that after watching your team win, levels
of testosterone skyrocket, especially compared to experiencing a loss. Funnily enough, this
has even been documented in politics: during the 2008 US election, males who voted for
Obama were found to have much higher levels of testosterone after he won, than those who
voted for McCain. When your favourite athlete takes home the
gold, a surge of dopamine is also released. This biological rush activates pleasure centres
in the brain while increasing memory and learning. This increased memory helps explain why some
people continue to watch sports – they’re looking to recreate the physiological excitement
they can’t seem to forget. The brain also contains cells called Mirror
Neurons which are not only activated when completing an action, but also when viewing
it, or even hearing it. Certain mirror neurons will be activated when throwing a ball, seeing
someone throw a ball, or even hearing the word ‘ball’. It’s the reason we can ‘put ourselves
in another’s shoes, and why we experience a similar emotional and physical reaction
to somebody else winning. In fact, scientists monitoring both athletes and spectators see
the same parts of the brain activated – as if the viewer were playing the game. From
an evolutionary perspective, this allows us to understand the mental states of others
and interpret their actions and intentions, as well as empathize with them. It also helps
to explain why we find such pleasure and excitement in seeing our favourite team or athlete become
a champion. Curiously, scientists have found that some
people have problems with this mirror neuron system. This renders them unable to empathize with
others, leading to some social disorders. At the extreme ends, serial killers have been
found to lack this mirror neuron system. Science says, our obsession with sports may
be a great example of our adapted hormonal and neuronal systems at work, keeping us connected
as the human race… while watching humans race. Don’t forget: we have a new video out every day during the Olympics! But if you can’t wait, head to cbc.ca/olympics/ScienceSays for more. Keep asking those burning questions with the hashtag ScienceSays and subscribe for more awesome science videos!

100 Replies to “Why Do People Obsess Over Sports?”

  1. Damn, so many pretentious douchebags in the comments. It's fine to not like sports, but to call them "pointless" or "for dumb people" is very idiotic.

  2. I don't like most sports the only sport I like is airsofting I don't like watching sports hm.. I guess I kill cereal

  3. I don't like to play or watch most sports so science says I'm like a sociopath even though I'm incredibly empathetic I don't think there's anything wrong with people who do like sports but basically saying if you don't like sports then you are most likely a sociopath (I know they didn't say that word for word but they basically said that) is kinda rude I don't wanna cause any fights and sorry for anyone who takes offense to what I said but this is what I think

  4. Why non-sports fan saying sports are for pathetic people? (Warning: Bad grammar incoming) Not all sports fan are retarded bastards who yells at everything. I love watching and playing sports during my free time but I also love reading and (well sometimes) learning new facts about nature, space, and biology. I surprisingly don't even yell at any sports game in my life (well except when I was like 6 or younger). I get excellent grades and love learning. There is sports fan who is smart, quiet, and not a total b*tch. I hope I didn't piss you non-sport fans off, I'm just stating what's in my mind right now

  5. I just don't like sports. When people ask me my favorite sports team, I'm just like, "That one that did the thing." Everyone drew the conclusion that people who don't like sports are psychotic or sociopathic, but this isn't true. I always hate watching people losing games on YouTube. It just hurts me. I don't hate all sports. I just hate things like American football because they risk a lot. I've even been told that smaller bumps can build up. I like swimming and racing, but I find them a bit boring.

  6. This question is a no-brainer. Men want to be alpha males because women want to be with alpha males. Successful male athletes are more likely to be alpha males.

    Sorry, social constructionists: this dynamic is hard-wired into human sexuality. It's the legacy of our evolutionary heritage.

  7. I think the main point of this video is to convey the fact that humans innately root for other humans' victories or growth, even if it's not in an athletic sense. So, us people who don't care about sports, we're not precisely special snowflakes. We just like to see growth, victory and excitement in other humans doing different activities.

  8. im a man and i really do not understand the sports obsession mentality. i only like and follow my cities nba team (sacramento kings) but thats it. im good at playing sports though and i prefer playing over watching. i have better things to do with my time instead of sitting down all day on sunday strengthening my beer belly and having my eyes glued to the tv.

  9. I like sports because I play them I play hockey so thats why but thats the only sport I play and the others are kinda boring plus everyone has their own opinion can't hate on that

  10. People get so excited over sports and I have no idea why. I mean my dad bought some tickets to a warriors game and it was very boring (no offense to people who would love that). I know I sound ungrateful but even my dad who literally bought the tickets for the game looked bored. I just don't see why a group of guys throwing a ball into a hoop is more interesting than something like a cancer man who makes meth and is a badass. Entertainment and interests is different for everyone, I know, and I'm not trying to offend but I much rather watch anything else.

  11. I don't have a problem with normal people who don't watch/play sports and don't follow teams. I have a huge problem though with those self-entitled piece of shits who make a big deal out of themselves not caring about sports and shame sports fans for simply being PASSIONATE and expressing their interests in something. those kind of people can kindly jump off a plane mid air rather than try to get involved in a conversation INVOLVING SPORTS WHICH YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE IN by ruining the fun for literally EVERYONE ELSE

  12. I dislike people who get overly emotional with their favourite sport teams.

    I despise the people in this comments section who think by not liking sports they are somehow superior to others..

    R/iamverysmart material is all over.

  13. sport is the life yeah, sports like soccer,basketball,calisthenics runs in my blood and it is much better than being a nerd/book worm those retarded people who dont know the true value of sports really sucks.

  14. You left out the fact that the enjoyment of sports is a modern form of enjoying watching people literally kill each other. Colosseum ring a bell?

  15. I noticed a pattern. Those with higher IQ are less likely to enjoy sport.

    I wanted to enjoy sport, but I find interest in other things over watching people getting smashed like idiots.

  16. Warriors Fan: "We won the championship!"
    Me: "No those guys in that arena on TV won the championship."
    Some people act like they are part of the actual team they watch.

  17. People watch and obsess over sports because it's the greatest thing in the world. Period. It's manly. It gets men of all different races and background together and it is something for men to do to escape from their wives. lol joke. But seriously. I love being a guy and doing guys stuff. Kicking back and BBQing and hanging out with other guys on the weekends farting and belching and talking about sports while watching sports is great. After a long, hard day at work, you want to kick back and watch sports.

  18. Although Sport can be healthy, some are obsessed with it, i made something about sports obsession, if anyone wants to see it then simply just type in the following title…….Peoples obsession with football./sports teams

  19. Played sports and loved it. Watched other people live and loved it. I just do not get watching strangers I know nothing about, and who know and care nothing about me.

  20. I hate soccer or "futbol" with a burning passion. Everyone that has an obsession with it needs to hand their life over to someone who can make better use of it, if they ever had one.

  21. Pro tip: Never say that sports are good on youtube because a bunch of angry nerds will say "I DON'T CARE ABOUT SPORTS WAH WAH WAH"

  22. When I think of grown men keeping up with Sports as a hobby, stats, ESPN etc. I think of this Scripture: "11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

  23. I don't generally care for sports cause my parents don't care for sports and my mom's family as a whole. I only really get into a sport if a friend or my class and I are taking part in a sport/competition. My high school had a once a year week long games event where the classes played ball sports, board games, and tug of war, etc. and the class that won overall got bragging rights. I was very much a sports fan then. But to cheer for athletes to win on TV – meh. I need to know the people – real or fictional – to care if they win or not. It's not like it's life or death. I find sports fans really dramatic. But then if I'm playing a sport, I can be really upset by losses. I don't like playing and losing, so I don't often like to play – even card games.

  24. And why is it socially acceptable to obsess over sports while doing the same for a book movie or tv show is considered nerdy? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.

  25. To me watching Sports is exactly the same as playing video games. Both are just there so that you can, for a while, relieve your anger and forget what a miserable life you have.

  26. "so the men who voted for Obama got higher testosterone after he won"

    sooooooooo about 50 ng/dL to about 70 ng/dL?

  27. i am a very sporty girl i even want to become successful at sports but my father want me to be successful at education just because i am the 1st ranker and when i am a 8th grader i pass the 3th grader i am so sad

  28. I guess at this point Browns fans basically have the testosterone of a sexual reassignment patient

  29. https://www.quora.com/Why-are-so-many-intellectuals-disparaging-of-sports-Since-most-sports-include-a-high-degree-of-strategy-preparation-practice-and-dedication-why-is-this

  30. But I don't understand how people can start watching sports. Like you need to find a team you support first and it's very confusing

  31. People aren't actually obsessed with watching the particular sport. It's all the factors surrounding it i.e. Indulgence of Beer alcohol etc. Also the rush u get from betting. Your gonna cheer when the team u have betted on to win actually is doing good. This video is non sense lol because it's funny how people who watch sports on average are the most unhealthiest rather than undertaking in positive eating habits. Just my opinion on it.

  32. I guess the best way i can understand why people watch NFL or NBA is why i watch WWE…its fake but its entertaining and leaves me wanting to see what happends next. I wonder if sports like basketball and football will affect me the same way ?

  33. Like I love sports but because of my schedule I’m from London and Dallas so I’m an arsenal fan and I only watch the cowboys and mavs only cowboys games regularly because it’s on Sunday I also played basketball in college. However I don’t understand people who are uninformed about the world and just know about sports educate yourself diversify don’t be an idiot have other interests ie( how can I better the world) In addition based on economic output high paid athletes aren’t overpaid for what they bring in but that’s a debate for another day.

  34. Yeahhhh I don’t like sports but I’m not no damn serial killer but thank you,

    P.S. I looked everywhere; but why can’t I get to like sports someone answer this please.

  35. You know why men like football (soccer) the most of all? Because when a man has a family, he gets 90 minutes of rest in front of tv.

  36. This coming Z Generation will be the one to convert from analog sports to digital ones because our mirror neurons are being programmed to stimulate pressing buttons rather than throwing a ball. I’m all for it. Esports require just as much coordination, patience, skill, and stamina as any other sport.
    I main Lux (the notorious long-ranged burst hero) on League of Legends and can tell you the game is just as competitive and rewarding!

  37. I didn't like sports as a kid because by its nature it promotes division not only of teams, but any division. Immediately it creates a division between those who like and those who don't. I was made fun of merely because I didn't even get the whole notion of "liking sports". Division. I don't like tribalism. It is, to me, regressive, and therefore stands in the way of evolutionary progress. Sports lust creates an inability to cooperate. Cooperation is negative to tribalists. Tribalists insist tribalism is our natural instinct. I say it is not for everyone. Cooperation and thus progression is instinctive in many people. I think tribalists and their "natural instincts" are standing in the way of progress in the world. That is a shame. We would be so far ahead in evolution of our brains and of technology if it weren't for this obsession with tribalism. If it is a primitive instinct, I say evolve beyond primitivity. Tribalists beg to differ. To them competition is the only way to improve things. But as far as I can see historically it is cooperation that got us ahead of everything, despite wars, arguments, pushing the other back, and other unfortunate events.Tribalism, they say, advances us economically. I beg to differ. It creates an unnecessary imbalance of wealth that wastes resources and time. We can advance without everyone banging each other over the head and creating poverty we have to waste time trying to deal with. Tribalism is the most dangerous thing to progress.

  38. so much not sports fan but hurt after the video, relax a little bit, we love sports bc it is entertainment, just as you may like music, movies, etc

  39. I don’t know what was more entertaining. Watching the video, or reading comments from triggered video game/anime outcasts ?

  40. I am not a huge fan of sports and don’t watch them on tv, But I do go horseback riding every Friday (when it is possible). But I am unable to ride for a bit due to my heart rate being out of control and a few other factors that made me need to get a port. And I did go on and probably will get back in to the occasional bike ride. I just don’t find watching sports entertaining. The only reason I am able to be ok with the super bowl is because we got some pretty cool memes like left shark.

  41. I'm obsessed with sports but I just don't see sitting on the couch and watching someone else play. i get bored easily

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