Why Do Men Get So Obsessed with Sports?
I was at a store with my wife a couple of years ago. A man with an earphone in one ear came up to me and said, “I see your wife forced you to leave the house too.” He then proceeded to give the current score of the big play-off game that was going on. I thanked him, and he wandered off to help another poor guy who was putting his wife ahead of watching the game. I did not have heart to tell the fellow I did not even know there was a play-off game that day!
I have never been a sports fanatic. Maybe that gives me a bit of empathy with those of you ladies who do not care and cannot figure out why your husband does.
Many have said sports are the way modern men deal with their desire for war and hunting, with those who can’t play at a high level living vicariously through their teams. Douglas Hartmann, PhD, associate professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota has studied sports a great deal. He says sports allow men to identify with masculine things like dominating, taking risks, and competition. He has suggested that the less physically competitive a man is in his daily life, the more sports become a way of achieving these things, at least in his mind.
Sports also give a man a point of connection with other men. There is a certain amount of civic pride, which some have suggested is like the clan or tribe focus from days gone by. Even when men who do not support the same team, sports gives them something to talk about with others, be they good friends or new acquaintances. Beyond this, several studies have found that men (and women) who strongly identify with a sports team have higher self-esteem, are happier, and are less lonely.
An interesting part of this is what watching sports does to a man’s brain and body chemistry. When a man’s team wins, his testosterone level goes up; when his team loses his T levels go down. High T levels feel good, it make a man feel manlier. I would not call it a “high”, but it is similar.
If your husband enjoys following a team or two, I would say let him. On the other hand, if he follows every game played to the point your kids think their names are “Don’t stand in front of the TV” and “Not now, the game is on,” you have a valid complaint. As with anything either of you does, it must fit within the marriage and the family. Talk with him about a reasonable level of sports watching, and then promise to help him see the games that matter without unnecessary interruptions.
~ Paul – I’m XY, but I don’t get sports.
Year End Giving: Lori and I are donation supported. We are kicking off our year-end giving on Tuesday Dec. 3rd. Razoo, the non-profit company we use to process donations is having a Giving Tuesday special event. The groups that raise the most will get monetary prizes. They are also giving twelve randomly chosen donors $375 each! If you are thinking of sending us a nice year-end gift, please do it next Tuesday. We will send a link next week. US donations are tax-deductible, and all donations are greatly appreciated.