Why We Care, Even as Our Teams Collapse. . .

There is, however, one demonstrable value to being a sports fan. It allows you to feel real emotional investment in something that has no actual real-world consequences. In any other contest (presidential campaigns, for example), the outcome can be exhilarating or dispiriting to its followers and, by the way, when we wake up the next day, the course of history has been changed. As for fictional stories, you can certainly get swept up in them, but their outcomes don’t hinge on the unpredictability of real life. Sports stories, on the other hand, are never guaranteed to end happily. In fact, as we’ve seen, some end in a highly unsatisfying way. As a fan, you will feel actual joy or actual pain — this is precisely what non-sports-fans usually ridicule about being a sports fan — in relation to events that really don’t affect your life at all.

The full piece is here.

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