Temple of Doom: Hows Sports Are Ruining Your Life and Why We Don't Care

Ryan Neiman@RyanNAnthony Contributor IIIJanuary 28, 2011

DOHA, QATAR - JANUARY 25:  Australian fans cheer after Australia defeated Uzbekistan 6-0 at the AFC Asian Cup Semi Final match between Uzbekistan and the Australian Socceroos at Khalifa International Stadium on January 25, 2011 in Doha, Qatar.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Every morning when I wake up, I pour my favorite cereal into a bowl, I grab my laptop, I turn my television on, and I plant myself on my couch.  I am now a multi-tasking machine: I am eating my breakfast as I am watching sports on television, while I am surfing the Internet for any interesting sports stories. 

If it wasn't for me facing the reality again, I would probably remain in this exact spot all day. 

I am what you call a sports enthusiast.  I absolutely love sports.  I can not get enough of it.  I'm not the ordinary sports fan who is just watching one particular team and they do not pay attention to any other sport.  I am a sports fanatic where I watch every sports event from baseball to croquet.  Sports is my life.  If the whole world were to end today, but I would be the lone survivor, I would lose my mind due to the disappearance of the sports world existence.

I try to find any means possible to watch the biggest sports events that are going on in a given day.  If I ever find myself at a funeral during a major sports event such as the Super Bowl or during my favorite time of the year, March Madness, I would seek out to buy the world's tiniest head-phones in order to listen to the outcome of the game. 

I do not think my children will be more important than my crave for sports.  As sad as that sounds, my list of importance would be as follows if I were a father:

  1. Sports.
  2. Figure out which room in my house where I would watch sports.
  3. Figure out which sports I would want my children to participate in and will eventually make millions in.
  4. Figuring out what I would eat while I watch sports.
  5. Figuring out numerous ways to prevent my children from bothering me while I watch sports.

My children would be on the list, but as you can see, for selfish reasons only. 

Let me put it simple: I love sports.  It is my passion and it is in my blood.  I am not the only person who feels this way.  There are millions of people who feel the exact way I do. Sports is our escape from our daily routine.  Sports can inspire greatness and determination.  Sports can create a social gathering as it can reunite millions and it can even bring a whole country together. 

Take the 1980's Winter Olympics  "Miracle on Ice" for an example.  The United States hockey team was facing the heavily favored Soviet Union hockey team during the semi-finals in New York.  United States roster was composed mostly of amateur and college hockey players.  The Soviet Union hockey team was considered to be the best hockey team in the world at the time.  The Soviets represented a tyranny and the United States was a symbol for freedom.  During a time of tense, global relations, the whole United States proudly stood up for what they believed in.  The hockey team carried the countries heart with them to defeat the Soviets.  They eventually went on to claim the gold medal.

We watch miraculous comebacks and the improbable occur sports as it make every sports moment magical. It is a rare event where we witness the few with exceptional gifts, amaze us every day as they leave us with our jaws left open. 

I recall watching Washington Nationals rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg perform in his major league debut.  He was so dazzling and remarkable as every pitch he threw brought chills down my spine.  The air was electric as the crowd was standing on their feet the entire game and they roared at every strike Strasburg threw.

Sports is a Roller-Coaster Ride. Should We all Jump Aboard?

These are the moments that enforce my love for sports.  Sports will toy with your heart as you will experience various kinds of emotions.  You will exhibit happiness, joy, and jubilation.  On the contrary, there are other feelings that will be your utter demise such as sadness, anger, disappointment, confusion, frustration,  irritated, outraged, and livid. 

There will even be times where tears will stream down your face because of the impact a certain sports team or event has created on your life.  I admit I have shed a tear of two, but most of them were due to being disappointed. 

Sports are a wild roller-coaster ride.  One moment, your team is flying high and the next moment, your team has hit rock bottom.  Roller-coasters are not suitable for a patron who may have past  heart problems. Roller-coasters have caution signs everywhere, reminding those with weak hearts, this ride may be a risk towards their health.

Sports does not have any warning signs indicating the consequences of watching your favorite sports teams succeed or fail.  You ride at your own risk.  Once you get on the ride, it is not easy to come off.  Sports will be whip-lashing  your emotions, but mot importantly, your heart in every direction. 

Researchers have shown watching sports can have a negative effect on a person's health.  Even with all the highlights of sports, why do do we risk our emotional state of mind when in the end, we might be suffering? 

Heart-break Warfare

Sports fans live and die with their favorite teams.  There are the handful of sports teams that have delivered to their loyal fan-base by winning a championship for them.  However, there are millions of fans that continue to live in agony, waiting for a sniff of a championship.

The Chicago Cubs fans have been waiting 101 years for a World Series ring.  It is currently the longest championship drought in sports.  Cubs fans still have fresh memories of the 2003 collapse in the NLCS, where they were just five outs from reaching the World Series.  Some fans have not recovered from that historic down-fall.

Chicago Cubs fans should be grateful they have even been in the playoffs.  The Pittsburgh Pirates fans have endured a tragic run of eighteen consecutive losing seasons. 

However, at least Pirates fans have a World Series ring on their finger.  Since the Houston Astros were established in 1962, they are the oldest MLB franchise to have never won a World Series.

Since 1967, NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs have never appeared in the Stanley Cup and thus, they have never won a championship.  The same can be said for the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues.

In NBA, there have been several teams that have never won a NBA championship, but the longest drought belongs to the Sacramento Kings.  They have not been to the NBA finals since 1951.

In the NFL, there have been four teams that have never, yes I said never, have appeared in the Super Bowl.  Those four are the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Houston Texans.  However, the longest title drought belongs to the Arizona Cardinals, who have not won a NFL championship since the 1947 season.

If you think your sports team has it had bad, how would you feel if you were a sports fan in Cleveland?  Cleveland has the longest drought than any other city with three major sports teams yet to win a recent championship.  The last time Cleveland was home to a sports title was back in 1964, when the Cleveland Browns won.  The Cleveland Indians have not won a World Series since 1948 and the Cleveland Cavaliers have never won a NBA championship.  Next time you open your mouth complaining how terrible your sports teams are, just remember, sports life could be much worse if you reside in Cleveland.

Sports are a path into self-destruction.  It will break and destroy your heart.  We will constantly be finding ourselves yelling at the top of our lungs at the television if our teams do not perform at our satisfactory level. 

With all of this agony and pain, this can't be good for you, can it?

Watching Sports is More Stressful than Work?

Stress is never great for the body.  It can create high blood pressure and it can result in heart disease.  It can cause emotional and physical effects on you which can be positive or negative.  Stress can make you feel angry, or depressed.  Stress can be caused by various events in a persons life that may be overwhelming for them to handle.  An example of what may cause stress could be death in a family or a career change.  Today, scientist are finding out watching sports can be a high stressful activity and it may be a result of heart attacks.

With the Super Bowl less than a week away, emotions will be running high.  Dr. Franklin Zimmerman, Senior Attending Cardiologist and Director of Critical Care, concurs sports may have a negative effect on a person's heart.  He has been studying the correlation between watching sports and the impacts it has on a person's health. 

“There’s a lot of information that there are specific triggers for heart attacks and cardiac events and sometimes these triggers are certainly emotional. Rooting for your favorite team may be one of these emotional triggers,” expressed Zimmerman. 

He says the combination of eating unhealthy foods and watching a stressful event can be a deadly combination.  His research indicates the more intense the game is, the more stress a person will have. 

There have been numerous studies that have shown when a persons favorite team loses, these fans may face so much stress, they can even fall into cardiac arrest.  In a interesting study, researchers examined the number of deaths during the 2006 World Cup in the games which Germany played. During six of the seven Germany games, which most of them resulted on a last minute goal, there was an increase in cardiovascular events.  

I admit at times watching a sports event, I eventually became dizzy from the frustration I grew from watching my favorite sports team.  I would throw things at my television in frustration or I would be a"Grinch" towards anybody who would approach me after I watched my team suffer a devastating defeat. 

We all want our team to succeed, but at what cost is it worth it?

Sports is a Way of Life and We Do Not Want it Any Other Way.

The human heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body.  It delivers oxygen to the brain and to all of the other organs in your body.  It is the most important organ in our body and without it, we would not be here today.  It's unreal what the heart can do when it is as tiny as our fist.

There are so many different factors that can attribute to an unhealthy heart such as smoking, obesity, or drinking.  Who would have ever guessed, watching a sports event can be so detrimental to a person's health?

We all love to watch sports.  It does not matter if our team is in first or last place a because we still will watch the game.  We live sports as it engulfs our life and our soul.

I recall the amazing ride the University of Illinois basketball team made during the 2005 college basketball tournament, where they made a run at the national championship.  Even though they ended up losing the finals to North Carolina, I remember the magical performance they displayed in the Elite Eight when they defeated Arizona after being down by fifteen points with less than four minutes to play. 

As much as that game was stressful to watch, it was an unbelievable game to witness a team claw their way back when everything appeared to be bleak.  The feeling I had when Deron Williams sank that three pointer to tie the game was a feeling I never felt before. It was an overpower feeling of joy, happiness, and relief.  I was moved to tears because of the dramatic comeback.  I can relive these images in my head and I will always get this emotional high because how great it was to live a moment like this. 

This is why we watch sports.  We want to have these moments embedded into our memories because of how exciting and memorable they were.  It is moments like this we want to witness and we are willing to risk our health for it.  That is why it is said numerous times, fans are the most important part of a sport.