A psychological need for acceptance may be the real reason you’re a Pats fan.

By Christiana Van Bree
 
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“As a fan, you will feel actual joy or actual pain in relation to events that really don’t affect your life at all,” Thomas Van Shulk said in his article on the psychology of sports.

People like to belong. They seek the enduring acceptance of others to disdain from loneliness. Whether it be a religion, a nationality or a fraternity, people strive to be included in a group, sharing at least one commonality. Sports teams attract many fans, combining people of all different backgrounds to support one common idea: victory for their team.

 
A person first becomes a sports fan when he or she develops the skill of concrete optional thinking, around age 8. According to a psychological dissertation by Dr. Jeffrey James, a child’s family and friends, along with the media, are the first influences on the child’s perspective. This impacts the child’s support for a certain team in a sport they begin to favor. As the child grows up, they consider the team part of their identity. 
 
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While a sports team can define a fan, the fans can define their sports teams. If a person, for example, is a die-hard New England Patriots fan, they probably have some connection with New England, have friends that support the Pats, or have chosen the team is superior to all other teams. The person will cheer for the Pats every time they play, whether they watch the game or not. They are against the teams playing the Pats and are very proud if they hear the Pats took home victory. The phenomena at play here is the attachment a fan has for a team, even though the team’s victory has absolutely no physical effect on the fan.
 
The idea that a person devotes his or her love for to a team they have chosen does not have as much to do with the team as it does with the team’s attributes, referring to the fan’s first reasons they favor a particular team. The pleasure of acceptance a fan receives from fellow fans, according to Van Shulk, is the main reason they support a certain team.
 
Reversely, a fan does have an effect on a game. Even though a fan cannot physically win for their team, they have a large psychological impact. According to Paul Turman, in his article in the Journal of Sports Behavior, inspirational direction and bragging create a team cohesion by promoting more motivation on a team. The more support and pride athletes have toward their team boosts them to physically work harder. Their fans give them much of this support. A Superbowl victory is just not as amazing without a crowd of cheering, screaming fans.
 
Players have much support for their team; they are paid to. The fans create the team’s true pride and identity. For example, “Da Bears” is a common phrase used by Chicago Bears fans. This phrase was developed by Chicagoans, whose accents affected it. Players also transfer teams much more than fans do. The team you grew up loving, is usually the team you continue to love throughout your life.

A person’s need to belong creates a fan. The fans upbringing and environment specifies the particular team and the person receives mentally simulating benefits from that team’s victory. While it is clear, the fan can detach him or herself from a team, sports teams cannot detach from fans. After all, it is the fans who define them and help them reach victory.

 
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Fans await the final agreement between the NHL and its players, hoping the lockout will end and a season will begin.

By Christiana Van Bree

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The NHL lockout began on September 15, 2012, when the league’s collective bargaining agreement expired. Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, immediately declared the lockout when an agreement between the NHL and NHL Player’s Association was not reached in time. Pre-games were cancelled shortly after.  The 2013 Winter Classic and 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend were cancelled by mid-November. 422 games were cancelled by November 23.

The NHL wants to ensure no player’s contract exceeds 5 years, but seeks to extend entry level contracts from 3 years to 5. They want to reduce player’s revenue from 57% to 46% and get rid of bonuses and other extra monetary offers given to players. Various other changes are in debate as well. At the latest meeting, the NHLPA agreed on some changes but refused others. The NHL was not happy with the player’s negotiations by the September 15 deadline.

Bettman declared the 2004 lockout, the longest lockout in NHL history. A post-lockout season began on October 5, 2005 with only 15 games. Fans fear history may repeat itself this season.

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There is, however, still hope for a full season this year if an agreement is made in the next week or two. Kevin Allen, from US Today, said he believes the players and league owners have expressed what is important to each side and an agreement between the two is not too far away. The season would only be about three months, instead of the usual September to April season, but would still contain all 48 games.

“That’s 15 weeks. That would mean playing three games a week, and four games every five weeks. The two sides would have to get a deal done over the next 10 days to start on Jan. 1.” Allen said.

The players and the league’s owners must agree on revenue percentages, along with the various other demands, if there is any hope for a full, or even a half, season this year. This basically determines whether hockey fans begin their new year in high spirits or in tears.

 

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Raiders finally break their losing streak with a win over the Chiefs

By Nicole Mercieri

The Oakland Raiders were on a six game losing streak coming into Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. But with Sebastian Janikowski’s kicking ability, he was able to lead his team in defeating the Chiefs.

The first quarter of the ball game brought very little excitement for football fans earlier Sunday afternoon. Though the Raiders had a hard time getting the ball down the field, nothing compared to the negative yards the Chiefs were held to in the first quarter. The Raiders were able to hold the Chiefs to three four and out possessions, a feat they hadn’t achieved since September of 1992. The Raiders also had their fair share of four and out possessions, but at least Carson Palmer was able to move the ball close enough to the end zone to secure a 20-yard field goal from kicker Sebastian Janikowski. The first quarter score ended with 3-0 Raiders.

The excitement picked up a little at the start of the second quarter when Chief’s quarterback Brady Quinn’s pass intended for Dexter McCluster was intercepted by Joselio Hanson. With the Raiders back in possession, they still couldn’t get the ball far enough down the field to result in a touchdown though. At least Janikowski is known for his incredible field goal ranges and produced a 50-yard field goal for the Raiders. On the brightside for the Chiefs, they were finally able to get out of negative yards, but still could not score. Janikowski attempted a 51-yard field goal and missed. But was able to redeem himself with a 57-yard field goal to close out the second quarter. The score is 9-0 Raiders going into the second half.

At the start of the second half, the Raiders are again able to hold the Chiefs to a four and out possession. With Palmer fighting off flu symptoms, he is still capable to march his team down the field, with the help of Darren McFadden. Though the Raiders again are unable to get the ball in the end zone, Janikowski puts up a 30-yard field goal. The Chiefs continue to struggle, with Quinn getting sacked for the third time in the game. But on their last possession of the quarter, the Chiefs are finally able to get down the field. The Raiders defense is no match for the Chiefs though and they get held on a fourth and goal attempt – switching possession to the Raiders who finish out the quarter. The score is 12-0 Raiders going into the fourth quarter.

With the Raiders in good position at the start of the fourth quarter thanks to Mike Goodson’s 43-yard run at the end of the third quarter, Janikowski puts up another field goal from 41-yards out. The Chiefs continue to struggle through the fourth quarter with Quinn getting sacked for a fourth time and the Raider defense holding them to two fourth down attempts. The game ends with the Raiders shutting out the Chiefs with a final score of 15-0.

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Is ‘The Rocket’ Mental About Snooker?

By Nicole Rogers

We all know being a world class athlete comes with many sacrifices more often than not giving their youth to the sport, but does the strain of being a world class athlete also ultimately affect your mental health? With the news a few weeks ago of the murder suicide involving Kanas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher which has been linked to steroid use, which he inevitably took to enhance his sporting performance.

The taking of these steroids could be a factor in what drove him to carry out this unthinkable act but it begs the question what mind set was he in to take these steroids in the first place. No doubt the pressure he put on himself under to perform would have been a factor; the pressure involved with being at the top of a professional sport is immense which can cause people to break down mentally and physically.

The question I find myself asking is do these athletes become so obsessed with their chosen sport that they become addicted to it, to be a professional sports person takes hundreds of hours of training and commitment and ultimately this will affect their mindset. They eat sleep and drink their sport constantly analyzing their techniques striving for perfection this would in intern have to inevitably put a strain on their mental state.

Snooker player Ronnie ‘The Rocket’ O’ Sullivan admits to becoming obsessed with snooker and not being able to get the perfection he wanted, which enviably lead to him being frustrated with the situation and caused him to want to become somewhat of a recluse at times not mentally being able to be around people. He described it as not being able to do life everyday life outside of the game of snooker.

O’ Sullivan is an example of a man who has suffered from drink and drug addiction and has struggled with depression in his Sporting Life Stories documentary he describes his depression as snooker depression, “I don’t think I suffered with depression I think I suffered with snooker depression”. There are arguably other factors which could have led to his drink and drug addiction with both his parents having spent time in prison his mother served 7 months for tax evasion and his father served 18 years after being found guilty of murder.

In his autobiography he describes his childhood and his daily routine which revolved around playing snooker with little interest in school. He describes having only a couple of minutes to race across the bridge from school to the bus to take him to the local snooker hall, he was always afraid he would miss it and have 15 minutes less on the table while waiting for the next bus.

 O’ Sullivan achieved his first century break at the age of 9 with a break of 117, from this early age it was clear he was a talent to watch out for in the future but the pressure of this would ultimately affect his life in many ways.

The perfection that is involved being a world class snooker player can’t be measured, although he has been describes as the most naturally gifted player in the history of snooker but talent must be nurtured through hours of gruelling training. O’ Sullivan used to stay practicing until late every night until he had blisters on his hands in the local snooker club and in later years his own snooker table his father bought for him.

O’ Sullivan experienced socio phobia where he couldn’t be around people, he felt he wasn’t able to function in social situations. He felt he didn’t know what to do and say as a result of his depression. Before he went to the Priory for treatment for his addictions he went to do a radio interview and had to leave mid interview live on air because he felt he could not continue on from the fear he had of the situation.

He described himself not being able to do life outside of snooker because it was his whole world. The socio phobia could also stem from the long hours spent  practicing snooker often on his own, his father built him  room at the bottom of his garden with a snooker table often only leaving to eat his dinner.

When he was practicing at an early age he would have been around people much older than and because of the amount of time he spent in the snooker hall it could intern affected how he interacted with his peer’s only spending time with them at school with very little social interaction outside of class. He also missed out on the college experience as he took time off from school when his father was sent to prison when he was at the young age of 16 and never returned.

Ronnie O’ Sullivan is only one of many examples of athletes who can give up their whole lives in exchange for success in their vocation sport. It can be a long and turbulent road for professional sports people, with many reaping the rewards. O’ Sullivan has won 4 world titles and 24 ranked titles but would he give it all up in exchange for a healthier mind personally I don’t think so as he’s so engrossed by the world of snooker.

He has talked about quitting on a couple of occasions but he says he only said this on occasions when he was frustrated by the game because of a loss or the idea that he hasn’t achieved the perfection he so desperately seeks. Despite winning the world title at the Crucible in 2012 it doesn’t look like ‘The Rocket’ will be defending his title this year as on November 6 he withdrew himself from all tournaments he had previously signed up for and would not be competing for the rest of the season.

Is this due to family commitments? Or is the game getting to him? Or is it the fact for the first time since he won his way into the top 16 players in the world as a professional back in the 94/95 season he has dropped out the top 16 to 17 in the world? This could mentally have affected his confidence in his abilities despite being the reigning world champion.

Taking all this into account I believe being at the top of your sports field can come with the price of many things and your mental health can be one the casualties due to the pressure and the constant struggle to stay at the top. This is not of course in all cases but over the years we have seen many athletes battle with inner daemon’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tennis shining the light

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Without fail before every match as a youngster, our manager used to say to us; “guys go out and have fun” or “enjoy yourselves”. As you grow older this gets tougher to comprehend.Nowadays you see so many serious elements to sport be the amounts of money spent in transfer windows or the constant want for success by diving or cheating or in the past few months’ racial abuse such as the John Terry incident. Tennis however is leading the way to help people enjoy the sport and it allows people to see how sport in general should be treated.

Certainly with the modern crop of amazing talent in the tennis ranks be it male or female, they still find time to put their playing rivalries aside to entertain. Players like Novak Djokovic who is without any doubt one of the best players to ever grace the grass, clay or hard courts, is also one of the biggest messers on the tour. Many clips on Youtube show Djokovic impersonating fellow professionals like Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova.

Recently we had Caroline Wozniacki taking off well known female tennis star Serena Williams in an end of season tournament by shoving her towels down her top and trousers. This simple aspect to the sport and the fact that other players can take it and give it back, give a human element to a sport which has refused to get caught up in a world where many other sports have become about money and the individual more so than the fans and audiences.

End of season tours and exhibition matches are a great way to show a different side to the players and to show off, which might not happen so much in the middle of a gruelling season. There have always been players with personalities on the tour such as John McEnroe, Boris Becker and exhibitionist Mansour Bahrami who have entertained.

This want and need to entertain and make people smile by playing their beloved sport is infectious and you see this same burning desire in every player. The world’s top four players are possibly the best there has been in the game, but they all get on as well. This unity comes across very well be it in a Wimbledon final or an exhibition game in London. These players and their attitudes are one shining light to other sports and hopefully the so called bigger sports will learn from the example tennis is setting.

Killian Murphy    

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2012: The Best Sporting Moments

 

Without any doubt the Olympics was the sporting highlight of 2012. London stood up to the test that Beijing set for it four years previous. The moments that stood out in my mind, were of course the bolt himself winning the 100 meters  the Mobot and of course Katie Taylor taking gold in one of the best sporting moments of Irish history. There were so many great moments in this Olympics that it’s so hard to mention every single achievement.

It was a big year for football this year as we had a new winner of the Barclays Premier League in Manchester City in what was voted the best season in Premier League history. The European Championships was a highlight of the summer also as Spain took their second title in a row, using the now famous 6 man midfield and no striker tactic.

It was a great year for tennis and none less so than Andy Murray as he won the US Open in what some critics labelled the best match of the year against Novak Djokovic and the Olympic title against legend  of the game Roger Federer. He finally cemented his status as a top player and one of the best that Britain has ever seen.

Formula 1 had one of its most competitive seasons to date with the title of the Drivers’ Championship going down to the last race in Brazil where driving conditions were less than perfect and so made it one of the most entertaining races of recent years. Sebastien Vettel came out on top ahead of Fernando Alonso with just three points to spare.

It was a very mixed year for Irish rugby. Internationally Ireland didn’t have too much to talk about but in the club scene, it was another great year with Leinster and Ulster making the final and from an Irish perspective it was a great sporting moment to see two Irish teams battle it out in Twickenham. Leinster created history by lifting the trophy for the third time in four years.

2012 has set a very high standard for 2013 but without any doubt 2013 will do its best to live up to the great personal and team achievements that were set in this ground breaking year of sport. I am certainly looking forward to sitting in front of the television or even attending events where many more historic moments will be created.

By Killian MurphyImage             

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Sports teams spread news and attract huge fan bases for free through Facebook.

By Christiana Van Bree

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“If searching for news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing news may be among the most important of the next,” Pew Research Center representatives said.

Anyone with internet access has the world’s most pressing news at their fingertips. A person who wants to read the latest headlines can simply click the ‘news’ button on a search engine. Facebook, however, does much more because it spreads news to those who aren’t looking for it. From college students to stay-at-home moms, everyone with a Facebook account gains news about virtually anything from their Newsfeed.

According to a Princeton Survey Research Associates Int’l study, of 3,000 US adults, 70% said they get most of their news from friends’ and family’s news posts on Facebook. Only 13% said they get news from posts by news organizations and journalists.

A person can claim to not follow sports, but when Superbowl Sunday rolls around, that person’s Newsfeed is probably blowing up with scores, play by plays and opinions on the game. If a person connects their mobile device to Facebook, they will never be too far from instant updates.

Sports teams have increasingly used Facebook to reach fans by creating Facebook pages. When a Facebook user likes a team’s page, any news or updates from the team will appear on the user’s Newsfeed. Team’s pages can also connect fans from all over the world.

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“Our Facebook page for KickTV has an incredible international audience,” MLS Director of Social Media, Amanda Vandervort said at the AllFacebook Marketing Conference last week.

On the contrary to the praise Facebook gets for instant updates, many do not rely on Facebook for news. As easily as it spreads news, it can also spread rumors and false information very fast.

“I remember my Newsfeed blowing up near the end of [Superbowl XLII] with posts about the Patriots’ victory. It was funny to see my newsfeed two minutes later, when the Giants scored a winning touchdown with 2:42 left on the clock,” American college student, Alex Krotulski said.

Accuracy of news on Facebook should always be questioned; however, a person can simply click on the sports team’s Facebook page or search it on Google to confirm anything. The Newsfeed is simply responsible for the most important part of spreading news: catching the audience’s initial attention.

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