The nature of sports fandom

Live-blogging today’s second hour of Midmorning with a discussion of the nature of the sports fan.

Somewhat off the topical beaten path, perhaps, but I’m going with this as the first example: High-schooler throws no-hitter to honor dad. He was one of the first swine-flu victims in the U.S.

Today’s guests:

Chuck Klosterman: Journalist and author. His most recent novel is “Downtown Owl.”

Jonah Keri: Sports and business writer. He is co-author of “Baseball Between the Numbers” and is currently working on a book about the Tampa Bay Rays.

Todd Wilkinson: Associate professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Your comments may end up on the show.

  • http://blog.quickgrowth.com John

    I’m one who doesn’t care for most sports and yet I get excited when I hear anything from MN is winning and in the finals of that sports tournament. I think yeah that proves we are the best. I then feel guilty about the feeling because I think the whole concept of wrapping myself in something I dont’ even care for as a wierd psychological phenomenon.

  • Ron Eldred

    The proposition that perhaps the whole enterprise of being a sports fan is not worth it proved true for me. I have cut the ties, as hard as that has been.

    I have been a Gopher women’s basketball fan for a number of years. I came to a time in mid-season this past year when I was physically and emotionally unable to enjoy a game.

    I could not watch the warm-ups knowing that if I saw missed shots, say by Fox or Ohm, I would know that their confidence was off and the chances for winning diminished. So I started showing up for games as close to tipoff time as I could.

    As the game started I was tight as a drum. I was on pins and needles and I could feel my my heart pounding. I sensed that my blood pressure must have been way too high.

    In bad games I would get an awful and relentless sinking feeling as the team went 3 for 17 in the first half. After a feeble comeback in the beginning of the second half, I watched the clock, urging it to run down in order to get the ordeal over. After the game I had feelings of disbelief, sadness, anger and frustration. And a broken heart.

    In games that the Gophers won, I wondered if something could yet be made of the season. The feeling would persist for several days until I started agonizing anew how another loss would cause another season goal to get out of reach.

    I considered trading the games for more concerts, theatre events, good movies, reading, more dinners with friends, writing letters to old friends, going to sports events with nothing at stake. It was an easy choice. I let my last tickets go unused.

    But it has been hard to walk away from those always dedicated, consistently hard-working and sometimes brilliant young Gopher women hoopsters. However, I stayed away from news of game results and summaries and basketball blogs. I accidently overheard about the victory over Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and then how they were blown out of the tournament in the second game. My heart twinged, but I kept at it.