Last Updated 22 Jun 2020

For the Love of Sports

Category Love
Essay type Research
Words 1013 (4 pages)
Views 337
In this paper, I will apply the functionalist theory to answer the question: “Why are people fanatically interested in playing and watching sports? ” Culture, social structure, and social interaction play major roles in contributing to the reasons why people are fanatically interested in sports. Sport fans have a personal connection to their sport and/or team because it represents something that is important to them: city, state, favorite player, their past or future, hobby, and entertainment.

Culture consists of the shared ways of life and the shared understandings that people develop as they live together (Coakley, 2009, p. 5). I grew up in a house with my two Uncles who were very influential to my fascination with playing and watching sports. They boxed and also played baseball. Their athletic abilities were exceptional and were represented by the numerous trophies that filled the trophy case in our home. It was no surprise that I took a liking to sports because I was surrounded by it everyday of my life.

I would go to the baseball field and watch them play baseball and I went to the gym and watched them train for boxing. My Uncles would also set up pick up leagues for my friends and me. These actions by my Uncles contributed to me becoming a fan of sports. Today I have the same influence on my sons that my Uncles had on me. My sons grew up watching me watch, play and coach sports so it has become a part of their life. They are both athletes that watch and play all the sports that were part of their culture. Many athletes today grew up with sports in their home.

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Michael Jordon’s sons play basketball, Ken Griffey Jr. played baseball for the Cincinnati Reds where his father, Ken Griffey Sr. , once played and Bob and Brian Griese both won Super Bowls while playing in the NFL. Social interaction consists of people taking each other into account and, in the process, influencing each other’s feelings, thoughts and actions; social structure consists of the established patterns of relationships and social arrangements that take shape as people live, work and play with each other (Coakley, 2009, p. ).

I remember when I was stationed over in Afghanistan. My friend and I would get up really early in the morning to watch football. He was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and I really disliked the Steelers but would get up with him to watch them play because he would watch my games with me. However, through the social interaction with my friend I would catch myself cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers because they were his favorite team. Social interaction is a critical part of why people play and watch sports.

Sports create opportunities for conversation that enable people to form and nurture relationships and even enhance their status as they describe and critique athletes, games, teams, coaching decisions and the content of media commentaries (Coakley, 2009, p. 18). Everyone in my office where I work is a sports fan. We will spend all day Sunday, while the games are on, texting each other talking about our fantasy football team. Monday mornings are our soap box to discuss all the football action from Sunday. Like ESPN analyst we break down each game and player and this goes on all day.

The emotional intensity, group camaraderie, and sense of accomplishment that often occur in sports make sport participation more memorable than other activities (Coakley, 2009, p. 18). Every Wednesday the guys and I from work play very competitive but fun basketball. It has provided us with very memorable moments and camaraderie that is forever lasting. I was at my son’s football banquet yesterday and I bumped into to a friend of mine who use to play ball with us and we talked for almost 30 minutes about the basketball that we use to play on Wednesday when he was there.

Sport is both a constituent, and a constitutor, of the broader social context in which it is located. It is a vehicle through which the forces and relations of societal power are covertly communicated and, if infrequently, explicitly challenged, to the benefit of some groups within society, yet to the detriment of others (Zirin, 2008, p. 29). Sport fans have a connection to their sports or sport teams because they represent their city, state and/or community.

They watch their favorite team on television or attend the game live to cheer their team to victory over the other team and the fans that cheer for them. Sports and sport teams can, and often do, reflect and represent specific locations and local identities (Crawford, 2004, p. 52). Greenville High School and T. L. Weston were the two high schools that divided my town. Greenville High represented the north side and the south side was represented by T. L. Weston. It was considered a rival game whenever these two teams played each other.

The communities for each team came out in full force wearing team colors and other replica to represent the high school in their community. Winning this game would give one side of the town bragging rights over the other. Both sides of the stadium were always packed with fans for both teams. A town divided by two football teams that represented their community but brought together by their love for sports. In conclusion, culture, social interaction and structures influence the actions and relationships of sports fans and contribute to their fanatic obsession with watching and playing sports.

Culture can influence what team you cheer for, what sport you like to watch or play, and what kind of sports fan you are. Social interaction and structure provide a forum to discuss your favorite team, cheer with other sport fans, talk about the game you watched on TV, and the opportunity to play the game with friends who also enjoy sports. Many sport fans share the same values and that is their love for sports, even though they may not be cheering for the same team. Sports develop relationships, build camaraderie and gives sports fans something to own outside of themselves.

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For the Love of Sports. (2017, Mar 28). Retrieved from

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