Some people say sports are just games. Grown men running around a field hitting balls. How can such a thing cause the sports fan such distress when their team loses or such elation when their team wins? What is it about sports that can cause a person's quality of life to be so affected by the result of the game or match or contest?
There are a few possible answers to this; firstly in the modern age there is very little for us to fight for, to be inspired by. In this post-modernist society we live in; almost all the great discoveries and achievements have occurred in the past, before we were even born. Where now can we look for heroes and legends, for stories of great accomplishments and agonising defeat? The answer is the sports field.
Another thing that attracts people to sports is the unpredictability of it all. Modern life is comfortable and routine; we work 9-5 jobs, we go to the gym class or cook the dinner, maybe we'll watch a scripted tv show or movie - everything is scheduled and times. Sport, however is different and remains one of the few areas where suprises occur, where we simply don't know what's going to happen. The internet provides us with a lot of information, we are all well-informed and slightly cynical and jaded now - but knowing the result of the game is still something that can enthrall us, that can return us to the sense of childlike wonder, of not knowing.
Sports fans are not mindless idiots who simply follow the crowd - they are instead appreciative of the kinds of experiences and emotions that only sport can deliver. Joy and despair but always next week or the next game to bring you up or down again. Most importantly of all - a sense of community or belonging to something larger, the shared experience of what you are feeling with a larger group of people. In an increasingly digitalised and isolated world sport has never been more important.