Being a sports fan is an interesting life experience, as it often polarizes the people in the stands as much as the players on the field. When “our” team wins, we reference the victory by telling others “We won, we crushed that team.” Conversely, when our favorite team loses, we usually distance ourselves in the loss and describe it by saying “They lost.” Interesting how quickly we jump ship from the team we support when they don’t play up to our hopes and expectations, isn’t it? Fan behavior can be a funny thing, and serve for great fodder for people who enjoy debating issues in sports sociology (AHPS)
Researchers in the field of sports psychology have consistently found this unique way fans describe their affiliation with their favorite teams time and time again, and if you are a sports fan, you probably have described your teams the same way. Fans take on the identity of their favorite teams (as evidenced by wearing their sports gear), but unlike their human identity (which cannot be changed as easily), with sports teams it’s a lot easier to simply change one pronoun and no longer associate with the losing team.
Ohio State fans are the latest to be challenged with the decision of how to describe their current affiliation with the university – did “we” just get caught cheating, or did “they?” How are the people talking about this around the water cooler where you work? How are you describing what just happened?One thing is for certain – when your team wins, you win, and it’s likely you use the word “we” to celebrate the victory!