Sports Fans Just Want Love & Belonging

By Patrick McNerthney

People like what they like, and I like to watch sports on TV. Well, not all sports—baseball is impossibly boring to watch on TV until things get interesting in September and October, college basketball is kinda “meh” until March, and hockey simply doesn’t make sense unless you’re Canadian or from the East Coast of the United States. Or Chicago. Or I guess L.A., but who cares what L.A. people do anyway?

(Okay fine. There’s nothing wrong with L.A. people, we care ‘bout ‘em.)

I suppose what I’m really saying is, I like to watch football, particularly NFL football, particularly NFL playoff football (started last week for those of you who are mesmerized by slow, methodical or even boring sports and cannot keep track of the glory, which is THE NFL PLAYOFFS). 

This laser sharp obsession of mine came as quite the shock to my wife (aka the Boss), given that during our courtship, I professed no interest in sports (coupled with a feigned devotion to Hallmark Movies, which I adopted as a sure-fire way to her heart). Thus on the first Sunday after we’d moved in (a playoff Sunday, no less), when I proudly professed, “I’m going to sit down and watch the game, babe!” she got this look on her face that clearly showed she was reevaluating both her choice in mates and best alternatives. 

But watching sports is not all (ahem) fun and games. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. Over the course of one NFL football game, sports fans experience fear, hope, loathing, pride, nausea, desperation, relief, satisfaction and/or extreme disappointment. And I mean, like down to the bone. This is something non-sports-obsessed people (like the Boss will never understand. This is because sports fans LIVE to see THEIR team claim VICTORY.

Well, that’s not true. We want to see a great game. We won’t admit it, but the truth is a good thumping of an opponent is a thrill, but winning a close game feels like WE can handle ANYTHING, and are therefore a superior machine. 

Yes, WE. That’s real, psychologically speaking, and it’s part of the problem—belonging is on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and sports fans’ brains think THEY ARE ON THE TEAM. So, we scream, yell, cry, laugh, and otherwise act like buffoons during a game because:

  1. We’re experiencing the same emotions as the players.
  2. Part of the reason we watch is to fulfill our need to belong. 

(Yes, and we need you too.)

Oh, here’s Maslow’s Wikipedia bio in case you need to brush up:

“Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who created Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.”

The point is, “Love & Belonging” is the THIRD of FIVE levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, meaning the only needs deemed more urgent are Physiological (heartbeat, food, stuff like that) and Safety (that saber-toothed tiger over there won’t eat me because I have a cave and a spear). 

So there. 

That’s why we sports fans are what we are. We just want Love and Belonging, no, we just desperately NEED Love and Belonging. Which is what everyone needs, including your residents and loved ones! So how does a caregiver deliver that? I mean, it sounds like a tall order, right?

No worries! Fine Art Miracles (FAM) has your back. FAM champions creative expression as the perfect antidote to the anxiety and depression caused by social isolation. That’s because it turns out (psychologically speaking) the act of making activates the parts of the brain responsible for joy, self-worth, confidence, and feelings of relevance to both the outside world and the people around us (i.e. our community). 

That means Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Drumming Exercise Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, Multi-Sensory Sessions, (and so much more) satisfies the need for Love & Belonging for the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone who needs help with life’s daily tasks. Who would have known art could be more powerful than say, NFL football?  

Oh that’s right–FAM has known all along! So go ahead and reach out or drop them a note to get started, they’re happy to help. 

Well I’m traveling this weekend so I’m somewhat in denial of the fact that I’ll miss some great NFL playoff games. But maybe that’s for the best. I’m staying in a hotel and the last time I caught a game at a Holiday Inn, there were so many noise complaints that I almost got arrested!. Oh well, better to bum out my fellow hotel guests than the Boss! 



Skip to content