Last week, Buffalo News columnist Rod Watson wrote an inflaming article titled, “Playoff game? Please don’t tell me any more about it“. With provoking language, he made the case that Bills fans are too excited about today’s game in Jacksonville:
“We can’t possibly be so psychologically pathetic that having a football team make the playoffs for the first time in 18 seasons becomes the most important thing in town.”
Watson does make interesting points, citing psychology experts’ opinions on “superfandom:”
- The professor said watching someone play triggers mirror neurons that make the fan feel almost as if he is the doer through a “vicarious sense of success.” . . . “They even become more optimistic about their own life when ‘their’ team wins and gloomy about their personal future when ‘their’ team loses.
- San Francisco-based analyst Samantha Smithstein noted that superfandom could be a coping strategy “to escape an issue that’s difficult to face.”
And Eric Simons, author of “The Secret Lives of Sports Fans,” cautioned in a 2015 Washington Post op-ed about changes going on inside a fan’s head: “It is not an obnoxious affectation when a devotee uses the word ‘we;’ it’s a literal confusion in the brain about what is ‘me’ and what is ‘the team,’ ” he wrote.
“Superfandom” isn’t a problem in and of itself, but when the only thing that excites people out of bed in the morning is a football game, well, yes, that might be a problem.
The quote most worth pondering from Watson’s article was tucked away at the bottom, long after irate Bills fans stopped reading:
“Of course making the playoffs is a plus; all I’m asking for is a little perspective.”
I, for one, bought a cable cord yesterday so I could watch the game.