Your sad sports addiction explained

Credit: Image credit: Flickr/HECTORIR

The strange grip that sports teams have on us is real and deep

What with the annual NCAA office betting tournament in full swing, March is a good month to conduct field studies of that famous human-related species, the "sports nut." (Also read: March Madness databases for your research and viewing pleasure) Over at The Verge, Carl Franzen talks with psychologist Daniel Wann about how the "March Madness" college basketball tournament amps up the crazy in sports land. Here's Wann's money quote:

"The NCAA college basketball tournament is sort of a unique creature. The varying rounds, the brackets, the upsets, the fact that it's single-elimination, loser-go-home. All of that, especially the finality associated with each game, may result in more intense feelings of sorrow or joy for fans."

In other words, it's just like gladiators, but with many more beer commercials. The Smithsonian is even getting in on the action. Eric Simons, author of the book, "The Secret Lives of Sports Fans," tells writer Megan Gambino:

"In the case of sports, there is compelling evidence that this is basically a real relationship in your brain. In a very real sense, the sports team becomes a part of you. You just feel like whatever success it achieves is a personal success, and whatever failure it has is a personal failure. You can’t cut the team off without cutting off a part of yourself. Even if the team is losing, you have so much of yourself wrapped up in it that you can’t just walk away. To do so is to give up on a part of yourself."

If, like me, you recognize just a little bit of yourself in Simons' comments above, don't you feel just a little sadder about your life? Now read this:

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