In a populated culture, we are surrounded by competition. Competition for work, money, food, and other resources that we may deem necessary to live a happy life. And the rawest form of competition that surrounds out culture is the sports teams within them. Sports is a way that we can physically exert ourselves while staying organized and committed to a teamwork idea. But in these forms of sports, whether it’s as a participant or a spectator, things get emotional, which then leads to things getting personal. This happens to the parents who have little leaguers and the adolescent umpire made a call they don’t agree with, and to the professional athletes who are being paid millions of dollars. My main question to this, is why? Why do sports seem to find a place outside the stadiums and off the field? I believe that sports is as much a part of culture as is any other form of mass media, and if anything it propels it to a new level that music and television cannot touch themselves.
One thing that makes sports so unique in society, is it is different for every city that you go to. Different cities means different teams, different sports, different players, different rivals, and different expectations of all of those listed. Fans of these teams tend to take on this sense of pride of these teams and try to find there own personal connection to their team besides location. They can do this by buying a cap that shows their team logo on it, buy a hoodie that proclaims some accomplishment the team has achieved, or maybe a replica jersey of their favorite player. And depending on where that person goes with that memorabilia is going to cause a certain reaction. By wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey in Los Angeles, you are going to be recognized by other Laker fans and possibly acknowledged by them in a positive way. But if you wear that jersey up here in Portland, our views of the Lakers are different and cause negative feelings towards that individual because of the correlated emotions triggered by it. A real life example of this happened last year down in LA where a San Francisco Giants fan was beaten and left in a coma after multiple Los Angeles Dodgers fans beat him up after the recent Dodgers loss to the visiting Giants. And this type of reaction happens a lot more often then normal, even over seas in Europe.
This action can sometimes lead to negative views of sports due to the reactions of certain people. When athletes get personal and emotions come out, that’s when they might get suspended or fined and then they get labeled as a dirty player for that action. And then people who don’t follow the sport hear this about the person and their opinion on the sport as a whole could then be changed. This could also change the perspective of the player has for certain markets, like advertisement companies, or even certain teams that would want to contract them to play for that team.
When athletes are used in advertisements, it’s almost a calling out to the fans. The term that might be familiar is “Like Mike” which is in reference to Michael Jordan who some claim to be seen as the best player to ever play the game of basketball. This term has been used in advertisements, music, and movies (even as the title of one). The idea is, get these products, and you can become as good as he is. Sure it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense literally but on a subconscious level, that’s bread and butter for advertisements and works no matter who is listening to it! And with all the sports out there and the even larger number of athletes that play them, there’s always some endorsement that is looking to be filled.
Sports are great for the society in a physical and mental way. It gives us something to cheer for and root for in the hard and good times. We also like to imitate what we see on these sport teams and try it ourselves, which gets us active and healthy. People sometimes over look sports as people who happen to get lucky and really good at something physical and then get paid ridiculous amounts of money to do this. But if anything they stand for much more. They stand for their team, their city, and their fans. It’s all a matter of perspective on sports, no matter where you’re from or which team you call your own.
Photograph from http://vizfact.com/brat-bans-retribution-against-holy-terrors/