That which attracts someone to one sport over the other is unknown
The views of CEO Mickey Charles and Rose Gollhofer, Research Editor, at the Sportsnetwork
If there was a quick, and simple, answer to that question, one could bottle and sell it to many sports organizations and then think retirement in major fashion. On the other hand, the elements that make up the attraction of one over the other are, at one and the same time, easily recognizable while being imperceptible and calculated guesswork at best.
For those seeking a vested interest in the outcome of the event it is a matter of agony or jubilation over, say, a period of 3 hours plus or instant hyperventilating coupled with a defibrillator at the ready… alternately, a bottle of Dom Perignon. It is sex with a football and the foreplay is all the analysis, investigatory research, finding that which no one else has … or so you think, and preparing for a fan’ version of absolute enjoyment and gratification. The magnetism and coupling is between you and the team, the players battling on your behalf. No coitus interruptus here, no withdrawal. Once you are in, you are in until the climax.
Doing so is your personal raison d’etre – reason for existence, for being. It is what turns you on and the longer it lasts, the better. That is why I have stated, over and over again, that perception is the false feeling that one gets regarding the duration of, say, NFL game that appears to go tediously on but where, for one recording with the ability to fast forward through commercials and other nonsense, there is the realization that this is twelve minutes of actual competition. Sound like last night? Not the case with all sports but to each his own. In the U.S. nothing is wagered on to a greater degree than NFL.
Because it is once a week, everyone thinks they know… even with the challenge of combating the point spread, it is total technical war these days. It takes the referred to three hours or so and the fan frenzy, fixation and fanaticism knows no bounds. This is where men can be found…at the game, listening or watching it or, thanks to technology, actually trying to do something else while checking the latest mobile app with scoring updates and other assorted accompanying data. They are worse than children texting during dinner.
And it is the media that fuels this fire. Their coverage is all-consuming from pre-game shows with ostensible analysts that are, for the most part, ex-players to whom the producer gravitated for name value but with the same ability to undertake that role as you have to circle Big Ben, standing 320 feet high housed in St. Stephen’s Tower at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament…without any parachute, wings, glider or other means of flight. No, clever person that you are, not walking around it at the base.
Fan interest per se is dictated by where you are at a given moment…U.S., Canada, Europe, India, and Asia. That takes us to soccer, cricket, basketball, auto racing, ice hockey, from populations of 300 million in Canada and the U.S. versus over 1 billion in India. Half the world’ population, about 3.5 billion or so, loves soccer, followed by cricket, the national sport of England when the team is beating the Australians. Your birth and address dictate your future. Basically, it is that simple. Your father, with some help from your mother but only some, drums allegiance into you at the hospital with a blanket carrying the team’ logo. Whatever your gender, you start playing a particular sport in the backyard, on the streets, at school, and it grows from there…like rabbits on the prowl.
The matter of wagering on the outcome of any event comes later in life unless, of course, your dad is the local bookmaker or president of the casino.
Are auto racing fans, who are not known for wagering but are for the numbers they create as fans. Do they really come to see a crash absent injuries of any serious nature or are they good ol’ boy wannabes who will not be but love the vicarious feel associated with cheering for their favorite driver? Beats the hell out of me but I have been to NASCAR, to the Indy 500, and both were grand times. Would I, would we, attend again anytime soon? Not likely as a fan but would as a social event.
Horse racing has been in a state of decline for years. Gamblers have found more interesting outlets … like slots and casinos which, incidentally, are now located at the track(s). More entertaining, faster, simpler, superior atmosphere. Even lotteries are simple, easy, and convenient with a snowball’ chance in hell of succeeding. Horses are minutiae when considered in the wide spectrum of gambling.
People love sports and they love to gamble as it is the perceived way to instant riches or, at worst, more money in the cookie jar to add to the college fund. Duh! Not likely. Wagering on the outcome is whipped cream on the apple pie. Without it the pie will still taste as good as the ice cream melts and cascades down the sides of the slice you selected.
After the NFL in the States, there is the NBA and college football and basketball. No one is cheating in the pros but the collegiate ranks are pristine and exciting, easy to determine, so it says in the fine print. Not really but it does add an element of excitement since colleges do not normally produce favorites for gamblers, other than the one you have opted to choose as a winner on a given day. The bottom line is that, at some point in life, as you look around, family comes first, the mortgage is not to be disturbed, nor the bank account, and savings for the future begin to take on greater meaning. If it was that easy there would be more of us either relocating to, or living in, Nevada. Our phone lines would be heated from calls to Costa Rica, Antigua, Gibraltar and Curacao.
We cheer, we watch, we go, we listen, we read about and, yes, there is wagering and always will be. But whether one bets on a game or not, sports envelops us, it wraps around our minds, we are absorbed with it and captivated by what our seeming knowledge of the outcome can provide. And, then, poof! The sound of the balloon bursting and dollars going, not coming.
No matter what your choice, your favorite, your reason(s) for watching … fan, punter/player, or both, have fun and go for play money, leave the rest to enjoy life the way it was meant to be, with or without the inclusion of sports. And, yes, I know, a small investment makes it more interesting, the operative word being “small.” You know, as she said last night at the most inopportune moment.