I am a person who has never really seemed to be as into sports as the people around me and I don’t go out of my way to watch sports games. I used to at least watch the Olympics but even that I find myself watching less and less often. All that being said, I can see immense value in sports.

At the community level, whether that community be defined by a city or even an entire country, sports are a good way to unify energy behind a team in a way that symbolizes the identity of the individuals of that community. For whatever reason, this game of extending our own identity beyond our own individual life and accomplishments is one we enjoy playing and one that seems to bolster us on our journey. All types of media might be connected to this effect. There are studies that show that when people watch movies, for example, they are in a state which is nearly identical to the state one is in during hypnosis. We find this to be not only entertaining but therapeutic and necessary.

At the individual level, sports continue to be very key. The first reason might be an extension of the previous one, which is that the individual athletes in sports are often very disciplined and ambitious at the same time. This is very inspiring. People love easy to understand narratives and though the life of a person is never easy to understand, people can pretend to understand it by summarizing it drastically and taking in pieces of that story as valuable data. “He came from nothing and now everyone knows him because he worked so hard,” or, “She started when she was so young and overcame so many obstacles to get to where she is today.” Such ideas can help improve the behavior of sports fan in their own lives. This is very valuable.

Up to this point I’ve focused more on the potential psychological benefits of sports but mainly within the community of fans who do not take part in their favorite sports. For the people who do participate in sports there are a lot of direct benefits. Even though some sports can lead to serious injury, that only makes it all the more revealing how valuable sports are to people. So many people do sports at a non-professional level just for fun. Regardless of the commitment of the person, the person is almost surely benefiting by doing sports. As it is, most people are less physically active than they probably should be so introducing a regular sport activity is probably a fun way to maintain a higher than average activity level. Of course, such activity is not only beneficial physically but also psychologically. By participating in sports and having significant improvement over time in that sport, a great boost of one’s self-esteem might be experienced as well as more time might be spent in what is often referred to as the zone, a state of mind where one experiences great focus on a particular task and spends less time thinking deeply about it. This state of mind is often associated with overall happiness.



immense (adjective) - very great in size or amount
unify (verb) – to cause (people or things) to be joined or brought together
bolster (verb) – to make stronger or better
hypnosis (noun) - a state that resembles sleep but in which you can hear and respond to questions or suggestions
therapeutic (adjective) - producing good effects on your body or mind