There are a variety of sports that people become obsessed with, but there are some sports addictions that are more universal than others. Below is a list of some of the most common global sports obsessions.
Baseball is mostly central to the United States, although it is being seen in Japan and several other countries around the world more and more. It is known as one of the great American traditions and people of the United States become very invested in it, especially during playoffs and World Series times. Baseball, along with football and basketball, are considered the three sports of choice in America. Often called the “thinking man’s game,” baseball is slower moving than some of the other popular sports.
Basketball is an internationally celebrated sport that originated in the United States of America and spread to a great many corners of the world, including the Philippines, South America and parts of Africa. It is celebrated as one of the big three popular sports in the United States, along with football and baseball. Basketball arguably calls for the most agility and quick thinking of the big U.S. sports.
Football, as defined by Americans, is the highest grossing sport in the United States. Superbowl Sunday, the climax of the football season, is treated like a holiday throughout North America, with businesses closing early to participate in. Food sales sky rocketing in honor of this occasion to support parties and other events.
Hockey, the favorite sport of Canadians, is a northern tradition set on ice. While hockey is big in Canada and the United States, it is considered a source of national pride for Canadians. There is no game that captures the hearts and imaginations of Canadians more than hockey. It is also Canada’s biggest money making sport as people clamor over attendance of the championships, finals and Stanley Cup of the National Hockey League.
Soccer is considered by far the most popular sport around the globe. There is no other sport as internationally beloved as soccer. From South America to Europe and beyond, soccer draws the biggest crowds and the loyalist following of all professional sports.
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There is no denying that sports are widely celebrated across the globe, and for good reason. They are exciting and active and promote a healthy and fair expression of competition. Sporting competitions are universally the largest crowd draws in the world. The positive side of this is that sports keep people busy and happy. The negative side is, just like with anything that humans enjoy, we turn it into an obsession and overindulge in it. Sports is one of the world’s most common addictions. However, unlike with alcohol or gambling, sports addiction is culturally acceptable and socially embraced. However, it is undeniable that we are universally obsessed with it. Just look at society’s treatment of sports and sports figures:
Professional athletes are some of the highest paid professionals there are. With salaries in the tens of millions or higher, professional athletes can afford to live like royalty, which is how they are treated. Meanwhile, working professionals like teachers face budget cuts annually and salaries that are reduced down to the low tens of thousands. It is obvious what our culture values and puts its money towards.
We honor sporting events by coming together in gatherings of up to 100,000. This is the equivalent of the entire population of a midsize city taking an interest in one event. Sporting events have the ability to draw a crowd unlike any other event we come together for, proving our collective cultural value on sports.
Sports are so prevalent in our culture that they can be found in the mainstream media even in venues that are not devoted to sports, such as any number of news websites and bars. Sports are such a popular conversation topic in our culture that current sports information can be found in completely unlikely places.
We arguably even go as far as to build shrines, temples and statues to honor our fondness of sports. The stadiums we build resemble ancient coliseums that are meant to support crowds the size of cities. We have hall of fame exhibits and museums devoted to our most memorable sporting events and figures. And statue likenesses of our great sports figures can be found outside these facilities, as well as in other historic landmark locations.
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Sports fanaticism is commonly observed in our culture. In fact, it is completely socially acceptable to be a self proclaimed sports nut and live a life invested into sports trivia, attendance, competitions and memorabilia. Sports is a global pass time and is meant to be enjoyed, but can there be such a thing as taking it too far? Many people who have been subjected to sports fanaticism would say indeed yes. When sports enthusiasm begins to resemble obsession or addiction, it is time to take a step back and observe one’s own behavior.
A sports fanatic who has taken their obsession too far will be overly involved in the world of sports. If the person is able bodied, chances are they frequently play sports. Whichever sport or sports they are devoted to, they are unlikely to ever miss a game. They attend games in person or watch them at home on the television, often with other sports fanatics. Their favorite conversation is sports and they tend to predictably bring sports into every conversation. They often spend a fortune collecting sports memorabilia, and spend a significant amount of time memorizing sports trivia.
Being overly emotional about sports is a common attribute of sports obsession. Extreme emotions should be reserved for major life events, both good and bad. A sports maniac, however, will have emotional responses to sporting events that will be disproportionate, and will equate to major personal events. This can become very stressful and grating on the people in close proximity of the individual. Becoming emotional over things that do not warrant strong emotions is a sign of immaturity.
Another trademark of sports fanaticism is negligence of personal responsibilities due to over involvement with sports. Being a fan of sports is harmless, but being a fanatic uses time, money and energy that is often better spent on more meaningful things. Personal responsibilities that are neglected may include work, school, personal relationships or other life obligations. Keeping up with this can be very damaging on your professional standing, how secure your friends and family feel with you and on your own perception of yourself.
We all have someone in our lives who is a sports fanatic: the person who never misses a game even if they have to cancel on another event, who defaults to sports to start any conversation and who becomes overly emotional about a win or a loss. Now consider the signs and symptoms of addiction: other life obligations fall away in order to focus on the object of addiction, energy, focus and thought primarily go to the object of addiction and inappropriate emotional reactions are experienced over the object of addiction, among other things. Sports addiction goes under the radar in our culture because it is a widely celebrated passtime, but it is still an addiction and it can be toxic to relationships and other areas of life.
Sports addiction is simply when someone places sports at too high a level of importance. Sports addiction is not gender specific, although it typically effects males more than females. Someone qualifies as a sports addict when they are giving so much of their time, thought and energy to sports that other areas of their life begin to suffer. And just like with any other addiction, giving all your time, thought and energy to one thing gives you a life of imbalance.
Sports fanatacism is usually overlooked as a harmless passtime, but in reality, it can become hurtful to the people and the areas of life that are not about sports. In the case of a romantic partner, feelings of neglect are very common when one partner is addiced to sports, and feelings of disconnect usually begin to stir. Frequently, a sport’s addicts other areas of interest fall away to give them more time to focus on sports. There are even instances when a person’s performance at work or in school declines due to excessive focus on sports.
It would seem that a cultural problem such as this would be addressed, but in actuality, it is allowed to flourish. Interest in sports is so popular and addiction to sports is so widespread that the addiction is protected instead of corrected. Those who struggle in relationships with sports addicts are not validated but instead made to feel that they are overreacting. Despite how many people, women in particular, have expressed frustration with this addictive behavior, there is little support for change.