09
Jun
11

I’m starting to understand Boston hockey

I can’t really get into hockey, but I can understand why some people would. I mean hey, its a fast paced sport right? Who cares if it feels like scoring is too hard and that a goalie, if fat enough, would make goals a physical impossibility.

What I was really having trouble understanding is why people would get so into a team as a representation of their identity. There have been studies that show that people invest emotionally in teams in powerful ways (see also here), and can even lose self esteem when their team loses. And I’ve been all around Boston the past week hearing comments about Bruins that are just about impossible for me to relate to.

But then today I had a minor breakthrough into seeing how a team could unite people in such a profound way. (By the way some studies say that its better for your psychological health to strongly identify with a team. I guess I must be living a pretty unhappy life. ) The breakthrough came as I walked out of a building downtown and the security guard was watching the game on his laptop. I asked who was winning, and his grumpy looking face lit up like a bulb, as he told me some various facts about the game, a good number I did not understand. So then I walked outside and some tough construction dudes were working a crane, but one guy was standing outside a bar window watching the game. I tried my tactic again and asked who was winning. Again, a bright eyed response, as if I were a long lost buddy. Must be that male bonding thing everyone is always talking about. But joking aside, I caught a real glimpse how when a city rallies around its team, the people of that city rally around each other. Kind of touching actually, but I still just cant’ stand hockey.

 

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