If you know anything about basketball, you know that last night LeBron James announced his intention to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat. After hearing the news many Clevelanders acted like they faced the apocalypse. Men wept like children, jerseys were burned, and buildings were vandalized. It was amazing to see how seriously some people take sports.
This morning, I came in and thought I would look on MAGNOLIA to see if I could dig up an article on the psychology of sports fans. Luckily, I found plenty of articles and they had some very specific titles. Here are two of my favorites: “Understanding College Sport Fans’ Experiences of and Attempts to Cope with Shame” and “The Effects of Team Identification and Game Outcome on Willingness to Consider Anonymous Acts of Hostile Aggression.” (Both of these are from The Journal of Sports Behavior)
The second article was particularly interesting because it offered a few sample questions. Subjects were asked to answer on a scale from 1 to 8; 1 representing “definitely would not” and 8 representing “definitely would.” Here are a few sample questions:
“If you could remain completely anonymous and there was no possibility of arrest or retaliation, would you…”
“Trip the star player of the rival team?”
“Trip the coach of the rival team?”
“Break the leg of the star player of the rival team?”
“Break the leg of the coach of the rival team?”
“Murder the star player of the rival team?”
“Murder the coach of the rival team?”
If you answered with an 8 on any of these questions I would recommend that you spend less time following sports and more time in the library looking for a meaningful hobby.
Wann, D. L., Z. Culver, R. Akanda, M. Daglar, C. De Divitiis, and A. Smith. 2005. "The Effects of Team Identification and Game Outcome on Willingness to Consider Anonymous Acts of Hostile Agression". Journal of Sports Behavior. 28: 282-294.