With the Varsity Cup underway, and the supporters ready to come in and cheer for their favourite team, it is time to ask the real question: does getting involved and being an avid supporter have any influence on our psyche? Professor Daniel Wann from Murray State University conducted a study centred around sport fandom, and he found that sports fans have higher levels of self-esteem. His study also suggested that sports fans are more satisfied with their lives compared to those who are not interested in sports. Supporting a sports team is also linked with togetherness, as could be seen during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where 1.5 billion people watched the final between Argentina and France. This ‘togetherness’ reflected positively on the sports community and showed people coming together to shatter pre-existing records. Being a sports fan allows you to reap positive benefits and, according to Wann, it provides the “ability to bask in the team’s successes”. When your sport team wins, it feels exhilarating, as though you yourself were participating, which results in a positive mood overall. Sports fans usually reflect these claims, because when they go to arenas or stadiums to show support, they wear their teams’ merchandised clothing and sing dedicated chants. These types of fans are usually referred to as “Ultras” in football, and their fanaticism is usually displayed in the form of flares that cover the stadiums in smoke.
With the Varsity Cup underway and other university-related sports still coming up this season, be sure to pick your favourite team and be part of an ever-growing community.

Mpho Mabelesa
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