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LSUFreek
LSU Fan
Greater New Orleans
Member since Jan 2007
11166 posts

Why do we watch sports?
I get why we play sports: as an evolutionary/civilized substitution for hormone-driven intra- & extra-tribal battles for sex/reproduction, power, money, land/resources, etc...

But what is the evolutionary reason we watch sports? About all I can come up with is thousands of years of fathers looking for the fittest male (provider/protector) for their daughter in an arranged marriage. But I feel like that is a weak theory that doesn't explain it thoroughly.

Any arm-chair psycologists out there that can explain why a single guy with no kids gives up his weekends (and more) to watch other dudes compete?


GurleyGirl
Georgia Fan
Georgia
Member since Nov 2015
10793 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
I guess it's the old living vicariously through others syndrome.
Having said that, I have easily dispensed with sports in favor of other activities. I love seafood but I won't eat spoiled seafood.


Poker_hog
Arkansas Fan
Member since Mar 2019
683 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
Is just entertainment. Why watch someone sing or act?


StringedInstruments
Auburn Fan
Member since Oct 2013
12099 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
Tribalism.

We attach our cultural identity to a particular team and when the team wins, we share in the feeling of victory.

Having played football, I can say that there is not that much difference between the feeling of winning as a player and the feeling of winning as a fan. Sure, the work involved and the gratitude may be different; however, the sense of joy is about the same.


Oilfieldbiology
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2016
17103 posts
 Online 

re: Why do we watch sports?
Because combat to the death was outlawed


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170
BlindTiger7
LSU Fan
Houston
Member since Sep 2016
2208 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
quote:

Why do we watch sports?


I'm guessing it has something to do with growing up and playing a lot of them or just the competitive nature.


Is it bad that my mood during football season is dictacted by how 18-22 year olds play football?


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50
CenlaLowell
UMass Fan
Alexandria, la
Member since Apr 2016
553 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
Because we love competition. Not reading all that


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43
LSUFreek
LSU Fan
Greater New Orleans
Member since Jan 2007
11166 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
But even singing was basically an evolved competition for a fair-maiden's attention, as the Troubadour's did, in medieval 11th century.

I enjoy seeing excellence in competition (sports, arts/music, etc.) but I don't know why I do.


CocomoLSU
Penn State Fan
Inside your dome.
Member since Feb 2004
138349 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
I watch it for a lot of reasons. But one of the main reasons I don’t is politics. And that’s at the forefront of almost all of them right now. I’m all for causes and whatnot, but when I watch to escape from bull shite like that and I’m slapped in the face over and over (and fricking over) with it, I have a feeling it will become tiresome and I will watch less of it.


LSUFreek
LSU Fan
Greater New Orleans
Member since Jan 2007
11166 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
quote:

I will watch less of it


I'm steering this way as well, which is making me dissect why I devoted so much time to it in the first place.

quote:

I watch it for a lot of reasons.


What are those factors that compel you to watch?


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Poker_hog
Arkansas Fan
Member since Mar 2019
683 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
quote:

But even singing was basically an evolved competition for a fair-maiden's attention, as the Troubadour's did, in medieval 11th century.



You’re overthinking this. People were singing thousands of years before that.

It’s not primarily about fricking. I do think sports teaches you useful skills that help later on: commitment, teamwork, perseverance. So I could see that a community that valued sports would be more successful and might have an evolutionary advantage.


LSUFreek
LSU Fan
Greater New Orleans
Member since Jan 2007
11166 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
quote:

Tribalism


I'm leaning towards this as the most encapsulating answer, but even that has holes in it.

The most basic tribal unit, the family unit, when two brothers are fighting, the parents don't innately "watch" them fight for entertainment.


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01
PeteRose
LSU Fan
Hall of Fame
Member since Aug 2014
9817 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
Sports is about watching men trying overcome obstacles. That’s something that men can innately relate to. But there’s nothing admirable about athletes and leagues have selling out for money and social attention, sending a dumb wrong message. And I refuse to watch. Sure I’m just one person and won’t impact much, but I’m not going to let these frickers have power over me.

The trade off in sports used to be time and money for entertainment and fun. Now, all you get is bland game and lecturing on how to behave and think about social issues.
This post was edited on 8/1 at 7:57 am


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31
SDVTiger
Hawaii Fan
Cabo San Lucas
Member since Nov 2011
45373 posts
 Online 

re: Why do we watch sports?
Gambling and an out from dealing with the wife and kids

I'm starting to fade from it fast
Heading over to the NHL
Not wasting anymore weekends on Foootball


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31
LSUFreek
LSU Fan
Greater New Orleans
Member since Jan 2007
11166 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
quote:

It's not primarily about fricking


Agreed, as I said in the OP, it's not only sex but also about power, money, land/resources and whatever ever the battle was over.

quote:

sport teaches you useful skills

But I'm not talking about the participants who benefit, just the voyeuers.

quote:

a community that valued sports

Yeah, I'm leaning towards tribalism as the best answer, too.

quote:

an evolutionary advantage

..for sex, power, money, land, resources.


hashtag
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Aug 2005
22976 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
quote:

Is just entertainment. Why watch someone sing or act?
definitely this. Our society loves to turn off it's brain and be entertained.


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McVick
Michigan Fan
Member since Jan 2011
3111 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
quote:

Why do we watch sports?


Because we have enough financial, social, psychological, and physical security to allow ourselves to be entertained.


quote:

But what is the evolutionary reason we watch sports?


I don't think there's one reason we watch sports.

Some spectators are focused on the moment to study and learn strategy in an identified setting, which increases our problem-solving abilities.

Some watch for pure enjoyment and to forget about their problems outside the event (plowing fields, tending to livestock, "making money").

Some watch for financial gain (bettors may not care at all about the athletes or the competition but rather about the outcome and opportunity for personal success).

Some watch for the opportunity to find the fittest biological partner for procreation purposes.

There's probably more reasons but I think the ones I've laid out are connected to the evolution of humans.


Poker_hog
Arkansas Fan
Member since Mar 2019
683 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
quote:

But I'm not talking about the participants who benefit, just the voyeuers


But that’s what drives the importance. We agree that sports provide benefits to participants, mostly kids. If there was no interest from the parents or community the kids would have no interest. Can’t have one without the other.


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LSUFreek
LSU Fan
Greater New Orleans
Member since Jan 2007
11166 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
quote:

to find the fittest biological partner


Might be the best "evolutionary "answer. Maybe it's a subconscious ranking of the competition, learning who sets the bar and how high or low it is.

By being innately compelled to watch others, we learn who is the strongest, fastest, smartest, prettiest, funniest, most-talented, etc and we subconsciously learn what is needed to compete for another's attention.
This post was edited on 8/1 at 8:47 am


emoney
Ohio Fan
Jason Day's town, Westerville, OH
Member since May 2010
8017 posts

re: Why do we watch sports?
We watch because we see other human beings doing things we could hardly dream of doing. Many of us played the same sports as the pros, but never to their level.


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