NFL 2016: Chargers buzzed the Falcons

I started watching the game between the San Diego Chargers and the Atlanta Falcons somewhere in the second quarter.  I saw the Falcons do some encouraging and awesome offensive and defensive maneuvers.  While the Falcons were in the lead, I contemplated the following:

Psychological studies on the fervor of sports spectatorship, particularly American football, argue that vicariously experiencing the wins and losses is emotionally palpable on account of psychological attachment. In watching the San Diego Chargers both keep the Atlanta Falcons on their toes and boost their egos, I wonder if the cumulative excitement, disappointment or anxiety over a game’s outcome isn’t an indication that we (secretly) believe in community and need it as a catharsis. Even for us unapologetic lone wolves, iconoclasts, and other variations on a theme of isolationism.

And then the Chargers went and won the game by three points in overtime.  33 to 30.  Get game summary, stats, and play by play here.

Sunmipen

4 thoughts on “NFL 2016: Chargers buzzed the Falcons

  1. Jeremy

    You raise the important point that when watching your favourite sport, you’re not just watching that particular sport but are internally indulging in lots of other stuff too.

    Like, as you said, the need for community, no matter how much of a lone lone wolf you are (I, myself, am a very lone wolf). You’re also getting in touch with the child you once were, because it’s likely that the sport(s) you love to watch, you watched also when a child.

    You’re also re-immersing yourself in your culture (or at least one of them) for a sport (like football, baseball, cricket usw) is an expression of a culture out of which you, as the watcher, sprang. So sport is also nostalgia, the nostalgia you’ll also feel whenever you hear a song that was big when you were young. You’re immediately transported back to that time, and you feel the better for that. So it’s also healing (or a catharsis).

    The players on the field become your vicarious friends (or even family). You first watch them when they’re rookies, and you’ll rejoice with them when they are at their peak, and you’ll watch them sadly as they decline, and you’ll mourn when they retire, and thereafter you’ll always fondly remember them, and you’ll always be on the lookout for news of how they’re getting on in retirement, and you’ll grieve when you learn of their deaths.

    Reply
    1. sittingpugs Post author

      Hi Jeremy, thanks for commenting! What you’d said at the end about following an athlete’s rise from youth to adulthood and retirement, particularly in today’s technologically bolstered communication and media-sharing platforms, is also the reason people feel bonded to their favorite artists, and subsequently grieve when those actors or musicians or comedians die unexpectedly or of old age.

      Like, as you said, the need for community, no matter how much of a lone lone wolf you are (I, myself, am a very lone wolf). You’re also getting in touch with the child you once were, because it’s likely that the sport(s) you love to watch, you watched also when a child.

      When I was a kid, I only liked to watch competitive figure skating and ballet. My appreciation for televised team sports didn’t come to fruition until I was in my mid twenties.

      Reply
  2. Jeremy

    Your posting and our discussion touched on the connection between sport, culture, nostalgia, and community.

    Here’s a *beautifully written piece* that also touches on all of this.

    Although the sport alluded to is cricket, you may see that the sentiments expressed can apply to any sport that tweaks the nerve-strings of patriotism and culture – like baseball and football.

    Reply
    1. sittingpugs Post author

      Great find!

      This excerpt could inspire a film: The academic part of me has wondered for many years about how to understand “home” outside a framework of nationalism. How can we think about where we come from and the emotion attached to it without saying “I love my country” or evoking symbols of national culture? I have a similar question about cricket: can our love for the game, and the national team, exist outside a nationalist affiliation?

      Reply

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