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Find Your Relief and Go All In on the Home Team

Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.

By Sarah Buttler

Find Your Relief and Go All In on the Home Team

Did you see Taylor Swift’s boyfriend win the Super Bowl? Yeah, you did -- you and 123.4 million people around the world. If there’s any one event that shows the power of bringing people together, whether they’re a Swifty or a sports fan, it’s a sporting event like the Super Bowl.

Why is that? Why do sports bring people together for good or for bad? There’s no doubt that sports provide fans with a community in which they feel like they belong. That belongingness translates to feeling as if your needs can be met through this shared commitment of fandom.

So, the next time someone gives you a hard time about your love of the Chicago Bears or the Colorado Rockies, know that those people can go kick rocks because you’re getting a lot out of your love for even the worst sports teams. Now, find me an Oakland A’s fan to hug.

What Is the Emotional Connection of Community With Sports?

Social support is important to mental health and, while it may not occur to you at first, sports fandom is something that provides social support for a lot of people as they cheer for their home team.

Many people also form deep connections to teams, often because it’s something shared between friends and families as well as strangers. And this sharing can be handed down for generations. Green Bay Packers fans are a perfect example.

Emotions are invested as much as time and energy. This leads to a sense of personal investment and attachment to the failures and successes of a franchise. This involvement on an emotional level gives people feelings of fulfillment, purpose, and excitement. Plus, when you’re a part of a sports community you come together with others to share victories and lament losses, which in turn creates a network of support.

How Does Supporting a Team Contribute to Physical and Mental Well-Being?

The benefits of sports fandom aren’t just emotional, they’re also physical and mental. When you watch sports, endorphins are released and that makes you look forward to watching your favorite team. Other neurochemicals that boost mood and reduce pain are also released, which make you feel great. In other words, your nervous system drives you to watch your favorite team for a boost of feel-good chemicals that reward the brain.

Another impact on your physical health is moving more; after all, watching sports can be an encouragement to get off the couch to exercise, which is good for you. Or at least to get off the couch to jump up and down when something goes right.

When it comes to mental health, sports fans tend to have higher self-esteem (even if their team loses), a higher sense of self-worth, and more pride in the accomplishments of their team. All of this is in addition to the boost it gives to social interactions and shared experiences with others.

The Connection of Social Identity Theory and Sports Fandom

One of the biggest needs met by sports fandom is the need people feel to belong and to have a social identity, something called social identity theory. A sports team, whether it’s a high school team or a professional one, allows people to feel connected to something better than they are. When they identify with that team, they are creating a social identity to share with others, which creates a sense of camaraderie and belonging. This leads to feelings of pride and gives people a purpose and a group of people they can belong to. When you find your people, it just makes you feel good -- and you can also dislike the rival team together, which always makes you feel closer!

How Does Being a Fan Affect a Person’s Ability to Overcome Adversity?

If sports fans are anything, they’re resilient. That resiliency allows them to overcome the challenges presented to them in daily life. They tend to have proper emotional development and a good perspective on life, often seeing things in a more positive way than those around them. Let’s face it, if you can watch your favorite team get clobbered one game and still cheer them on the next time, then you know a thing or two about overcoming challenges and staying positive. One of the greatest fan bases in American history were the long-suffering Cubs fans who always looked forward to next year until finally winning the World Series in 2016 after a 108-year dry spell.

Are Team Supporters Happier?

Overall, it seems as if sports fans are happier. Research suggests that when people watch sporting events live, they have a higher level of overall satisfaction with their lives. This may be due to the sense of community they have and the social support they receive, but it’s still true. One thing most sports fans are not is lonely -- and that generally makes people happier and more satisfied.

Can Chiropractic Care Help Us Enjoy Watching Sports?

Chiropractic care isn’t just for athletes. It can help sports fans as well in a variety of ways, such as the following.

Relief of muscle strain - The musculoskeletal system is under a lot of stress, but regular chiropractic adjustments can help relieve the strain placed on muscles. That means the next time your favorite team comes back and wins the big game, you’re less likely to pull a hammy when you jump up excitedly from your seat.

Enhanced posture - You can prevent injuries to soft tissues by practicing proper posture. Chiropractic spinal adjustments help keep you in proper alignment and make practicing good posture a whole lot easier.

Improved performance - By addressing musculoskeletal imbalances, chiropractic treatment can help promote better biomechanics and movement, allowing you to follow all the action. And let’s face it, if you’re in a rec softball league you’re really picturing yourself as Mike Trout or Shohei Ohtani or Aaron Judge or some other pro who has access to chiropractic care.

Improved recovery - Same as with professional athletes, chiropractic can help recovery by boosting and supporting the body’s natural healing process. That way, you can always make sure you’re in the best shape to cheer on your team.

So maybe your team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl this year (we’re looking at you, Detroit), but that’s not the most important thing. When it comes to being a sports fan, one of the most important things you can take away is the sense of belonging and community that it provides. You can go anywhere in the world and you will find that people rally around their favorite team -- and that’s something really special. Maybe even more special than Taylor Swift.

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