So, in the glory of my team winning the Super Bowl, I have been reflecting again on how sports teams operate in the modern era. It really is approved warfare — with war paint, team colors, and adrenaline all included. Sports allow you to be part of a group — and scream loudly about your superiority — in a way that is socially appropriate. And both your own and others’ responses encourage all of this. First, your own personal reaction. I don’t know about you, but I was completely hoarse on Monday having screamed (pretty incessantly according to my kids) at the television for hours. What is it about sports that permits, encourages, and even demands that we act in relatively nutty ways?
The adrenaline rush — just from watching — is all too real. And then there is the pride. I am very very proud of my Steelers. I am eating Steeler M&M’s as I write this, I have hung my Steeler banner on my door, and I dressed in black & gold at work on Monday. Do I really have anything to do with their success? Of course not. So why is it that I get to be proud — actually feel superior to others — for actions for which I have no responsibility or contribution?
Second, everyone else seems to approve and encourage this pride that I don’t really deserve. I have received emails and phone calls from plenty of friends and colleagues congratulating me on the game. Is sports glory really transferable to those who are lucky enough to have grown up in that town? And yet we all know that affiliation matters — in negotiation and in life.
So, until baseball season, when the Pirates will likely remind me that superiority in one sport does not seem to transfer to the stadium next door, I will bask in my undeserved glory and enjoy being part of a winning team.
Cross posted at Indisputably.