“Drive for Success, The Addiction of Sports”
America has an addiction, and that addiction is a sports craze. Athletics are an incredibly large part of american society and have been for quite some time. No matter what the sport, most everyone in america can identify as a fan of at least one athletic team regardless of the competition level. Sports fans make up very unique communities that are incorporated all over the United States and are an important part of the culture. These sports provide livelihoods for a great number of individuals, and give people something that they can immediately connect and identify with. Sports fans seem to develop a psychological attachment to certain sports and specific teams which can instill addictive tendencies to be tuned in to all of the proceedings of their respective teams. In a way its almost like an attachment where people and players are all connected like the twelfth man craze that was made popular by the Texas A&M Football community, where all of the fans are considered to be just as important as the players and regarded collectively as one more man on the field.
In many cases people form such strong affiliations with teams where if a championship is won by a professional organization, entire cities will shut down for mass celebration. Humans are almost genetically predisposed to gravitate towards a team due to human nature of tribal and community living. “Our sports heroes are our warriors,’’ said Robert Cialdini, a professor of psychology at Arizona State, in reference to the idea that we now see athletes in a similar way that warriors were regarded in societies where warfare determined most of the lively hood of human communities long ago. So it is easy for us to put so much love and faith into these athletic organizations in todays society. Being loyal to a team and cheering year after year for the same organization seems to be somewhat part of human nature. While the sheer excitement and entertainment that people experience while both watching and playing sports is enough to keep people crawling back for more, and they just cant seem to get enough.
Tyler Kepner. The New York Times, 10.24.16
This year’s World series of baseball is truly going to be a special one. And it’s not just because of one team in particular. The Chicago Cubs have not won a major league baseball championship in 108 years, while the Cleveland Indians have been waiting 68 years since their last championship. Despite the difference in time, these two losing streaks feel equally as long to the respected fans. However, with Cleveland already having won the National Basketball Championship earlier this year, it would have a considerably greater impact on the city of Chicago if the Cubs are able to pull off this cinderella story. No matter the victor of this series, it will be a special day for baseball when the thirst of one of these two longest losing streaks in baseball is quenched. The cubs are coming into this series favored by many, due to their more impressive regular season performance record. Whereas the indians have had the more impressive post season record.
It is honestly hard to say which of these teams is the favorite to bring the championship to their city, But one thing is for certain it will be one of the most suspenseful world series in baseball history. The Cubs roster is also worthy of discussion due to its nontypical pitcher makeup. The cubs have somehow put together a world class pitching staff, when the 11 pitchers they have used in the N.L.C.S were not drafted or internationally signed by the cubs. They have all come from other major league teams. Game six of the Major League Baseball world series will be underway tonight at 8 pm eastern time. The Indians are leading the series 3 games to two, so tonight’s game is a must win for the Cubs if they wish to keep their championship hopes alive. To make it even harder the Cubs will be playing away in Cleveland. Tonight the Indians will either win the championship at home, or the cubs will make it come to one last game to determine the 2016 world champions.
Ethan Sherwood Strauss. ESPN.com, 10.26.16
Out of all the millions of NBA fans, there was a minuscule percentage that could have expected for the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs first game of the season to yield the result that it did. The Warriors past season was one for the record books, and they were able to put together the winningest regular season in the history of American professional basketball. At last season’s conclusion, the Warriors were able to keep all of their all stars ( notable names: Curry, Thompson, Green) and were also able to sign Kevin Durant. Durant is arguably the most dynamic player in the game today, and has won an NBA MVP title, holds four NBA scoring records, the rookie of the year award, and even has two olympic gold medals. After losing by one game in last season’s NBA championship, coupled with the signing of Kevin Durant, it seems inevitable that the Golden State Warriors would be an unstoppable force in the NBA and heavy favorites to win the NBA championship.
However, after the game opener against the Spurs, the Warriors showed their vulnerabilities and showed that they may not yet be all on the same page. The Warriors didn’t seem to be quite comfortable with the huge transition to their starting lineup, and just didn’t seem to click offensively. When the Spurs ended up winning the game by a staggering twenty nine points, shock spread across the entire NBA and its fanbase. No one could have guessed this powerhouse Warrior team could lose a game to anyone by almost thirty. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season will turn out for these two teams.
Victor Mather. The New York Times, 11.1.16
For the past decade or more, it seems like the National Football League is always full of teams who fluctuate in the overall standings. They have all had their good years and bad. Some have even stayed below average while others always seemed to find themselves doing better than the league average. One team on the other hand is a little bit different, the New England Patriots have always seemed to rally behind their franchise quarterback, Tom Brady, and are always competing to be champions. This year, even with Brady’s four game suspension, is no different.
The Patriots were able to rally behind their second string QB Jimmy Garoppolo and get off to a 3–1 start on the season. Now with Brady back in the lineup and with a league high passer rating of 133.9, New England is sitting at a 7–1 record which is the best in the league. The only other team in the league with one or fewer loses is the 6–1 Cowboys. Help from Brady’s leadership, all-pro tight end Gronk, the league’s leading rushing touchdown holder Blount, and a speedy receiving core it seems almost inevitable that this season is going to go nowhere but up. While everything looks promising for the Patriots, injuries are also something inevitable in the NFL. Important personnel have the potential of going out for the season on every play, and that could potentially throw the Patriots in a downward spiral. However, as of now it looks like the Patriots are going to pick up an even larger bandwagon of haters, because as of right now it looks like they are going to win it all.
Royce Young. ESPN, 11.3.16
Russell Westbrook is the point guard of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and is heading into Oracle Arena tonight with a little bit more than a chip on his shoulder. Last year the Thunder went to the semi-finals of the NBA finals, where they blew a 3–1 lead over the Golden State Warriors. This incredible team was not only lead but the amazing point guard Westbrook, but was lead by one of the, if not the, most dynamic duo in the entire NBA of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. After a local time of 10pm on May 30th Durant was heart broken and wondering around the floor of oracle arena as confetti of the other team’s, the warriors, color came raining down after the loss. It was almost certain when the series was at 3–1 that the dynamic duo would be able to lead the Thunder to the final series with hopes of defeating the Cavs to become world champions. Everyone expected this season for the Thunder to come back strong and make a great playoff run, but that’s not exactly what happened.
This off season stirred up quite a bit of drama when Durant dropped the bomb that he would sign with the team that broke all the inseparable duo of Westbrook and Durant’s hopes and dreams of becoming NBA champions. If you are Russell Westbrook there’s almost nothing that could come across as a greater slap in the face than Durant’s decision. Tonight the Thunder make their first appearance in Oracle Arena since that fateful night of May 30th, and this time Westbrook is coming back without Durant. One can only imagine what that weight must feel like on Russell’s shoulders. To come back and oppose someone that was once your brother, and then abandoned you and break all the trust that was ever there is no easy feet. I along with every other basketball fan can undoubtedly expect to see some fireworks tonight. I have a feeling the spark will be coming from both benches.
Buster Olney. ESPN, 11.3.16
Last night, we witnessed history. The Chicago Cubs, in extra innings after a rain delay in game 7, were victorious in their quest to bring back the World Series trophy to a city that had been without it for 108 years. Teddy Roosevelt was the last U.S president to see the championship go to Chicago while in office until last night. No matter who was able to win the game, the amount that was at stake for each team was simply astounding. Each would have ended a drought that no other team in baseball can come close too, but it looks like the Indians will just have to wait a little longer to end the now longest streak without winning the World Series in professional baseball.
What each team had at stake was not the sole reason that this will go down as possibly the most memorable game in baseball history. The Cubs were able to come back from being behind 3–1 in the series, so that they could even have hopes to compete in a game seven where everything was on the line. Three straight wins later the Cubs became world champions in what was one of, if not, the closest and most highest scoring nail biting world series games of all time. At the top of the eighth inning, it looked like almost a sure bet that the Cubs would be able to hold on and win with a commanding 6 to 3 lead. Not so fast, in the bottom of the Eighth the indians were able to hit an r.b.i. and a two-run homer to tie the game at 6 all going into the last inning of regulation. To make it even more interesting, the rain caused to game to to be delayed while it remained all tied up after the 9th. In extra innings, the Cubs were able to capitalize and bring two runs home in the top of the 10th. Then the Chiago defense was able to hold strong, only giving up one run before Rizzo caught the baseball at first that would bring over a century of loss to an end for Chicago.
Todd Archer. ESPN, 11.14.16
Jerry Jones, owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, wasn’t quite faced with a tough decision when he stated that Dak Prescott would be starting over the former ten year Dallas starting QB in the team’s next game against the Baltimore Ravens. Jones “let the decision make itself” and with Dak’s level of play recently it only makes sense to keep him in the starting position. The Cowboys are on an incredible role right now as they have an 8–1 record. It would be insane to not let Dak keep leading this team, and screwing up the chemistry of the starting roster could potentially ruin the momentum this team is carrying and jeopardize all that the Cowboys are striving for. Dak’s stats speak for themselves, with 14 touchdown passes on the year with only two interceptions Dak is sitting high among the league’s quarterbacks.
Prescott was able to squeeze out a victory against a very good Pittsburgh team where he lead the team on a game winning 75 yard drive with only 42 seconds to play in the game. This helped the Cowboys to maintain the best record in all of the NFL. When it comes down to it, this game is about the team and not the individual. Thus far, with Dak at QB the team is playing better than it has in a decade, and it is apparent that Prescott has more than proved himself worthy of earning the right to be the starting quarterback. Romo is also on board with this decision, not that it doesn’t make him envious or sad, but Romo in Jones’ position would make the same decision. It’s a team game and the ultimate goal is to be the best team in the league, and bring back a championship to your home city. As far as Dallas Cowboy fans and Jerry Jones are concerned, third round draft pick rookie quarterback Dak Prescott is the best answer they have right now in hopes of accomplishing this ultimate goal.
Calvin Watkins. ESPN, 11.20.16
James Harden is easily one of the best players in the NBA today, however he somehow often gets overlooked and is underrated. Maybe its because of his lack of effort on the defensive side of the ball at times or a couple other viable reasons. However, one can not deny the fact that he is one of the best in the game today, and if you’re a Houston Rockets fan you may even say that he is in fact the best in the NBA. With an NBA high of six games where he has accumulated 30 points or more and at least 10 assists, Harden is sure playing like he is the most valuable player in the NBA right now. One of the best parts of Harden’s game is that he truly does play unselfish basketball. His ability to pass the ball and get other people involved in putting points on the board is extremely underrated. Last season he had an average of 7.9 assists per game. With that level of selflessness along with his offensive ability to score, Harden truly is one of the most valuable players in the sport.
It would be extremely hard for the Rockets to win games consecutively without a presence like that on the floor. Houston didn’t have the best record in the NBA last year, and they barely snuck into the playoffs in the last game of the regular season. For that to occur while in the midst of a coaching change says a lot about Hardens presence of leadership on that team. It will be interesting to see if Harden can keep up this level of play throughout the season, and to see the influence it has on his team and their record as a whole. If he can keep it up and lead the Rockets to a great season and potentially on a good playoff run, then I have no doubts that that Harden will change his underrated status.
Sam Strong. ESPN, 11.19.16
This Saturday the Georgia Bulldogs wore black jerseys for the first time since the dreadful loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide at home in 2008. On Friday morning, a video was released on UGA Football’s Twitter account that highlighted the 2007 season when the Bulldogs wore black uniforms for the first time in Georgia history. It all started when the Dawgs were to host the Auburn Tigers between the hedges in 2007 which was one of the biggest games of the season. And oh boy did the Dawg fans love them. I have been a UGA Football fan my entire life, and it’s safe to say that being in Sanford Stadium in that sea of black for the first ever black out game, where we ended up crushing the Tigers, was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. To be able to see the hype that those simple black jerseys brought to the players and fans was simply amazing.
Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno put on an offensive show that game and led the Dawgs to one of the most exciting wins Sanford Stadium has ever seen. With that blackout being so successful, Coach Richt didn’t hesitate the break them out again when the Bulldogs obliterated Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl later that season. Everything changed the next year when Alabama came to Athens and defeated the Dawgs in black. That horible game would come to be remembered as “the funeral” game for UGA. Coach Kirby Smart had other plans for the Jerseys, that coach Richt seemingly deemed cursed, when his team left the field victorious Saturday afternoon against opponent Louisiana Lafayette. Bulldog fans everywhere were extremely excited to see the black uniforms back on the field in Athens, and couldn’t seem to get enough. Hopefully this low risk game against Louisiana Lafayette can begin to restore the image of the black jerseys, and turn it into an annual occurrence for the Bulldog Nation.
These are just some of the stories that communities of sports fans are going crazy over right now. Cleveland and Chicago, despite having the two longest streaks of not winning a championship in MLB history, faced off in this years world series with entire cities of some of the most loyal fans in the sport of baseball having their back and believing that they always had a chance to be victorious. These fans have sat through decades of loss with their loyalties unshifted, and after game seven the Cubs were finally victorious and Cleveland proved they had a team they can gladly call their own.
The football world has also been a place for fan craze this year, especially over the unheard of season that rookie quarterback Dack Prescott has had thus far, and the city of Dallas is finally coming together over a developing picture of hope that have Cowboy fans absolutely dead set on the idea of a Super Bowl Championship this year. These Cowboys are not just shocking Dallas Fans, but rather inspiring fans everywhere to follow this story. They are even casting a shadow over the hopes of the former NFL favorites to win the Super Bowl, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Even the Georgia Bulldogs were able to cause some fan craze with the reintroduction of the black jerseys.
The very first few games of the NBA season also have fans hooked on what is to become of the rest of the season. James Harden is off to one of the best starts of his career, and Houston is now hopeful a decent playoff run can be made this year. The whole city of Houston is rallying around this Rockets team and believe that Harden’s leadership will be able to carry this team to great heights. The previously thought to be invincible and eventual undoubted NBA Champion Golden State Warriors showed that even they have an Achilles heal, when they lost their first game of the season by a staggering twenty nine points. Especially now after Kevin Durant left the Thunder and Russel Westbrook out in the cold when he signed this past off season to join the already dominant Warrior lineup. Sports are something that will always draw super fandom, and cause people to make them part of their every day lives. This addiction is real and doesn’t seem to be getting kicked anytime soon.