This is Your Brain on Sports: The Science of Underdogs, the Value of Rivalry, and What We Can learn from the T-Shirt Cannon- L Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers (Crown Archetype)
Quick show of hands…
1. When you refer to your favorite sports team, do you use the pronoun “We” even if you now nor ever where a member of said team? IE: “We need a touchdown” or “We need a defensive stop here.”
2. When your favorite team has a game versus a rival, you’ve been known to evoke a visceral “hatred” for the opposition? IE: “I hate the Dolphins” (or Patriots) if you are a long suffering Bills fan
3. Despite losing a (sad) record four straight Super Bowls and not making a post season appearance in this century, you remain a dedicated (or is it medicated) Bills fan and remember fondly the “good old days of Kelly, Thurman, Bruce and Andre? But hey, at least they made it to four straight!
So, what could possibly explain this seeming insanity? That is at least in part what L Jon Wertheim, executive editor of Sports Illustrated and Sam Sommers, a psychologist and sports fan attempt to explain in This is Your Brain on Sports: The Science of Underdogs, the Value of Rivalry, and What We Can learn from the T-Shirt Cannon.
Wertheim and Sommers serve up some easily relatable, nod your head things, that sports fans will find difficult to deny they “suffer” from. This is Your Brain on Sports is at turns very funny, in an admittedly sad sort of way, and also nudges up against the at times scary.
The pair hit it right on the head in the chapter about the participation trophy world that we find ourselves in. They make the right point, that it’s never a bad thing to offer praise to our kids, but it is fair to question exactly what form that praise takes. Guess what, it’s okay to lose…just ask a Bills fan.