Now, it’s hard to find somebody who doesn’t enjoy watching sports. The reason the NBA, NFL, and the various soccer leagues in Europe are all billion dollar industries is that sports is good entertainment. The average NBA team is now worth $369 million. This pales in comparison to the average NFL team which costs about $1.04 billion. Millions of people watch games and this is what fuels these leagues. What’s not normal is how some sports fans turn this into a full-blown obsession.
In its simplest form, a person is obsessed with something when they spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about it. There are several warning signs that can be used to assess your level of obsession. Take the time to go through the following list and find out where you stand.
-Your smartphone is loaded with sports stats and news apps. Also, your web browser’s homepage is either ESPN or some other sport-centered news website. You don’t care about the weather, or recent world events. Okay, maybe you care about the local weather, just so you’d know whether to bring a jacket to the football game you intend to watch later in the day.
-You don’t find wearing face paint and wigs all that weird. It’s quite normal to see sports fans wearing their favorite player’s jersey to games. Some opt to tone it down and just wear their team’s colors instead. It’s just their way of showing support. An obsessed fan takes this up several notches and cranks it up all the way to 11. You take your closest friends and put giant letters on your guts to spell out your team. The camera loves you and focuses on your antics whenever there’s a lull in the action. The thought of streaking across the field and being tackled by security is not that absurd to you.
-Your room is filled with jerseys, baseball caps, sports memorabilia, posters, and those annoying oversized foam fingers. A bobble-head of your favorite athlete adorns your dashboard. You even have personalized license plates to tell everyone you pass what your favorite team is. If it’s for sale, and it has something to do with sport, you buy it – credit card deals and budget be damned.
-Thanksgiving is all about football – for you at least. Whereas people look forward to this day when they can have a sumptuous meal with their family and closest friends, all you can think about is the game. You plunk down on your favorite chair and surround yourself with chips and drinks and lay motionless for three hours – unless the ref makes a bad call.
-You’re all about superstitious routines. Athletes are a superstitious lot. Many go through overly specific routines before every game. Some only eat certain foods and abstain from certain activities on the days leading up to a game or a match. Many wear lucky socks or shoes (yes, some even have lucky cups and jockstraps, but let’s not delve into that). Sports psychologists link this peculiar behavior as a way of getting focused and mentally ready for the game. You, on the other hand, have no excuse behaving the same way. You are obsessed when you think your team lost because of something you did or didn’t do.
-You’re an obsessed racing fan when you frighten your passengers with your drafting maneuver. You take race car driving techniques out on the street and think it’s normal. You’re an obsessed NASCAR fan when you feel a lump in your throat whenever you encounter right turns.
-Your mood is dictated by your team winning or losing. Everybody at the office knows whether the Knicks won or lost last night – even those who don’t follow the NBA.
-You rationalize unhealthy behavior by linking them to sports. Your spouse catches you wolfing down several platefuls of spaghetti in one seating and you retort by saying you’re “carbo-loading”. Yes, eating huge mounds of pasta and other carbohydrate-rich foods days before an event has some scientific basis. Popularized by endurance athletes like long-distance cyclists and marathoners, this practice tops up your body’s glycogen reserves – the primary energy source for our muscles. Full glycogen stores are important for someone who’s about to go run or bike several miles, not someone who sits at a desk in front of a computer all day.
-You pronounce r’s as h’s. This is a bit specific, but MMA fans will instantly get this – or even be guilty of it themselves. You see, in the early days of MMA, or mixed martial arts, Brazilians ruled. At a time when different fighting styles were pitted against one another to see which is the superior way of beating somebody up, a Brazilian by the name of Royce Gracie made a huge splash by becoming the first UFC champion. The manner by which he captured the belt is impressive – he tied every opponent up into a pretzel and made them say “Uncle” without throwing a single punch or kick. But what cemented this hall-of-famer’s legacy is that he was an unimposing 180 pounder who defeated 200-plus pound behemoths. When awarded the belt and interviewed, he referred to himself as “Hoyce”. This is an idiosyncrasy of the Portuguese language and it caught on.
-Catchphrases. You are guilty of yelling “Let’s get ready to rummbleeee!” on several inappropriate occasions. You yell “Yeah buddy! Light weight!” when working out at the gym. You steal catchphrases and inject them into normal conversations thinking it’s cool.
The above are signs of being an obsessed sports fan. Or it’s possible that just love sports and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Cami Hughes is a social media advocate at CreditDonkey.com. She says, as long as you are doing well at school or in your job – and that sports don’t distract you from your duties – you are fine.