Whether you’re a professional athlete, an Olympian or simply training for the local 5K, it’s important to understand your relationship to sports, sporting teams and ultimately how sports become a part of you.
“All things being equal, you root for your own sex, your own culture, your own locality…and what you want to prove is that you are better than the other person. Whomever you root for represents you; and when he wins, you win.” Isaac Asimov
When viewed in this light our passion for sports begins to make sense. A sport is no light diversion to be enjoyed for its inherent form and artistry. Our “self” is at stake therefore we want our affiliated sports teams to win to prove our own superiority.
But to whom are we trying to prove it? Ourselves, certainly; but to everyone else too. According to a psychological theory known as “the association principle,” if we surround ourselves with success that we are connected with in even a superficial way, our own prestige rises.
This tendency to try to bask in reflected glory by publicly trumpeting our connections to successful others has its mirror image in our attempt to avoid being darkened by the shadow of others’ and even our own defeats.
This suggests to me that we purposefully manipulate the visibility of our connections with winners and losers in order to make ourselves look good to anyone who could view these connections. By showing positive associations and burying the negative ones, we are trying to get observers to think more highly of us and to like us more.
There’s obviously much more to sports psychology that what’s contained in this basic post and there is an entire chapter devoted to “winning” and the “mental edge” in OptiLIFE Health Program™ volume that will be released later this year.
For now, I think it’s important to realize that sports at any level – from couch-potato fan to active participant – is an extension of the self.
Dr Ken Romeo is a forensic scientist and board-certified physician. His research interests are in the fields of experimental criminology, crimes of drug diversion, fraud and financial crimes. He has conducted field experiments on finding ways to reduce drug diversion by health care workers and detect financial crimes in the US health care system. In conjunction with governmental authorities, Dr Romeo is currently developing new methods and tools for detecting physician and pharmacy driven drug diversion at the earliest stages.