There are 12 seconds left, your heart starts racing, and your blood starts pumping, you’ve been here a million times before yet it always feels like the first time. Suddenly, those 12 seconds start to feel like an eternity and even though you know what the outcome will be you can’t help but to hold your breath in solicitous anticipation.
It’s instinct. There is a deathly-like quiet and you could have sworn you heard a clock languidly ticking in your head as time slowly oozes and your eyes watch attentively. Then there’s the sound.
To a normal person it’s nothing more than an obstreperous noise that pierces the ear without rationalization. But to you it’s something more; to you it’s a sound of hope, a sound of joy, and a sound of victory. You launch off the edge of your seat and jump vigorously in the air, shouting, hugging the person next to you in gratification.
The game is over but the winning sensation has just begun. This is you, a sports fan pledging allegiance to the team which has earned your affection and devotion, and though the reasons for you choosing your team over another are always different from someone else’s, the emotions are always the same.
We’ve all been there before. Regardless of whether your loyalty is to a team that plays soccer, football, baseball, basketball, hockey, tennis, or any other sport, it doesn’t matter.
You take every win with the same exuberance and every loss with the same bitterness as the men and women who take to that field, rink or court everyday do. There is no in-between.
So what in our minds triggers us to travel a thousand kilometres for the sole purpose of seeing our favourite team play as visitors in hostile territory? It can’t be sheer boredom or curiosity, can it?
No, no, it has to be something more than that, something that cannot fully be explained unless you’re apart of it. A feeling so strong that it makes a grown man with a wife and two daughters who sits in an office all day in a suit want to arrive to an arena with thousands of people, shirtless, face painted and above all, no remorse for doing so.
If you can pinpoint exactly why we feel this way towards sports then it’s obvious that you don’t fully understand because a large part of that feeling is the mystery of its hold over us.
But be aware as to never cross that line. That fine line between being a fan and being a fanatic is so thin that it is almost invisible to the human eye. We’ve all heard about the so-called hooligans that go to sporting events with the deliberate intention to only cause chaos by starting fights and riots.
Those are not fans. Those are individuals who hide behind the title only to exploit the name of a team so that they can have an excuse to carry out acts of violence. That’s not passion, that’s vanity in the most destructive of forms.
But it all goes back to the same question that’s been posed for so many years and so many generations, a perplexing question, and that is when it comes to sports, why do we do the things we do. Why do I wake up in the morning and decide to write an article regarding my favourite team?
Why do I cheer whenever they score a goal? Why do I buy tickets to games? Why is it always on my mind? I don’t know the answers to those questions and perhaps I never will. What I do know, however, is that I’m not alone.
I know that whenever my team scores a goal or wins an important game there will always be that person to cheer with, to laugh with, to conject with, and that is the type of camaraderie that no concert or film gathering can ever offer because it must be believed in to flourish.