By: Brandon Miller, Editor
Ask any athlete who their favorite sports team is and they will have an answer ready for you. They will also be prepared to defend their team as soon as they tell you. The same goes for people who are not athletes and just love sports and live in an area that is dominated by a professional team. Whether it is being cocky, loyal, obnoxious being of fan of winning or losing reflects who you are as a person.
Throughout history, teams have moved, changed names, or completely dissolved. Through it all, fans have stuck with their teams. But why? What makes that team so important? It all starts in people’s childhood and how they were brought up as kids. This is truly the case for Mr. “Nunz” Annunziato, who is a long-time teacher here at Brien McMahon High School. “The New York Giants and New York Knicks are my favorite teams because growing up as boy we only had three television stations. Back then the Jets and Giants came on every week and Jets were kind of further up in New Haven, and down here we were mostly Giants fans. That's how I became of New York fan watching them on the TV as a boy and it's great,” stated Mr. Nunz.
Even though most New York sports are on the down-low in recent years, growing up watching them creates memories that make it hard for you to disconnect. “The Giants used to practice at Fairfield University, so my dad used to take me there and we used to watch the practice. As the players were leaving you could walk with them and give them your piece of paper they would sign it for you. Moments like these truly consolidated my love for the New York teams, especially the Giants,” stated Mr. Nunz.
Just as Nunz went to Giant's practices early in his life, researchers have seen some of the same phenomena and benefits of being such a devoted fan. Daniel Wann, a psychology professor at Murray State and a leading expert on fan behavior reports via the Seattle Times stated, “There has been a good deal of research in my lab and by others, replicated in multiple cultures, that indicate when an individual becomes attached to or identifies with a sports team, there are pretty clear psychological benefits of that.”
Being a sports fan allows you to associate yourself with a nationwide family and allows people from all across the world to connect and bond over mutual teams and interest. Daniel Wann ,a psychology professor at Murray State gave an excellent example saying, “If you are Seahawks fans in Seattle, right now it’s pretty hard to feel lonely. It’s pretty hard to feel alienated. If you’re wearing a Seahawks jacket and walking through the mall, people are high-fiving you, people you’ve never seen before and will never see again. There’s a sense of community and connectedness that comes with it.”
“I think the fanaticism comes from the place where you are. You go out to Ohio there are Ohio State things everywhere, you drive 150 miles to Michigan there are M’s all over or S’s for Michigan State,” says Mr. Kane, a longtime McMahon teacher. “Alabama with the big A or the rolling tide is everywhere and it's distinctive in whatever section of the country you are because there is an identity. That's part of the place where you live and part of the culture you grow up in. You are indoctrinated into the culture, and it's no different in other countries as well,” he continued.