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25 Reasons Why It's Great to Be a Sports Fan

A Reason to Scream

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"It is pure escape—it provides me something to just plain enjoy or get mad at, it connects me to my friends, my neighbors, and to random strangers who feel the same pull and passion of the game." —Becky Simon-Burton

The Drama

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"In sports, like in life, the worst team can beat the best. There are often remarkable shows of humor, caring, sportsmanship, love. Every human story is played out on a sports field! —Deb Roby

It Proves Age is Just a Number

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"I usually cheer for whoever the oldest player is on the team or event because they keep me going!" —Candas Jones

Pictured: Jamie Moyer, 46, the oldest player in Major League Baseball

Fitness Motivation

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I am always so motivated after watching some good sports competition. My favorites are football (Go Pack Go) and tennis. Nothing beats watching a good Roger Federer match!" —Carrie Sazama

Fantasy Football

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"I love watching football, but fantasy football has taken it to a whole new level. It makes every game important and you have a stake in what happens on the field (especially if you're playing in a money league). It totally consumes me for the entire NFL season. And I'm not the only one. There are websites, podcasts, ESPN shows, etc completely devoted to fantasy football. Can't wait for the season to begin!" —Jenni Humphreys

Sports Betting

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Last year alone people spent more than $2 billion on sports wagers. Who doesn't love an office pool?

An Excuse to Make Wings and Dip

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"My mom makes the best (no really, the BEST) seven-layer bean dip, but she only makes it for our annual Super Bowl party. Her secret ingredient is homemade guacamole from fresh avocados, which makes it totally healthy, right?" —Amanda Isaacs

Family Bonding

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"I'm from Western PA and a lifelong Steelers fan. The best part for me is sharing a bond with my family, including my grandfather. He was the biggest Steelers fan and passed away a few years ago, yet when I watch a game and cheer for them, I always feel close to him. It's something we will always have. I have also spent a lot of time in New Orleans and was there when the Saints won the Superbowl, which was so important and uniting to the city post-Katrina." —Erica Smith

"Every Sunday growing up, my grandfather and I would sit down and watch the game—yelling at the TV, cheering together, and he would explain the game to me. But even though my grandfather was a huge Packers fan, he never once had been to Lambeau Field. For our wedding, my brother-in-law bought all of us tickets to go to a game. And even though at the time my grandfather was confined to a wheelchair, we were able to take him to a place he had always dreamed of going. Watching his face when we walked into that stadium will forever stick with me." —Sacia Williams

Community Pride

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"My favorite team is the Steelers! Seven Superbowl Rings and the best fans ever! And the only team without cheerleaders, they say because the fans are so super we don't need them. I love football season in Pittsburgh because the city comes alive and everyone seems to unite a little bit more. We love our Black and Gold." —Jennifer Bondi

It's a Conversation Starter

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"I have loved baseball since I was 11 and been a fan of football since I was in high school. Like some people rehashing trash TV the next day, I can talk with another sports fan anywhere in the world. And have." —Deb Roby

Girl Pride

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"I especially enjoy watching the female athletic events (college and professional). They have trained and dedicated a large portion of their life to succeed at a higher level. As a former collegiate athlete, I understand what it takes to be the top player. As a coach, I enjoy listening to the philosophies of players and coaches. It helps me be a better coach and make my female athletes become a better person on and off the field!" —Jess Hodgson

A Way to Relate to the Guys

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"I look at sports as a way of spending time with the boys/men in my family. I may not understand why they yell or talk to the TV or understand ALL the rules, but hey... we're connecting on some sort of level!" —Brenda Thadipalli

Reliving the Glory Days

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"Watching sports brings back a lot of great memories of playing sports with my buddies in high school. Hopefully I'm more like Bruce Springsteen's Glory Days and less Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite though!" —Paul Anderson

Tight Butts in Tight Pants

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"They're there, in the huddle. We can look, right?" —My grandma

It Boost Happiness

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After doing 200 studies on sports fans, Daniel Wann, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Murray State University in Kentucky and author of Sports Fans: The Psychology and Social Impact of Spectators, finds that "people who identify themselves as sports fans tend to have lower rates of depression and higher self-esteem than those who don’t."

Here's why: "Being a fan gives us something to talk about, to share, and bond with others. And for the vast majority of people, it’s psychologically healthier when you can increase social connections with others.”

Rooting for the Underdog

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"Being a sports fan teaches and enforces a lot of good life qualities. Commitment, dedication, determination, loyalty, and excitement. Just because a team is considered the underdog, doesn't mean they cannot work hard to be just as good as an all-star team. A true fan will stand by their team, even in the "building seasons" when they may not win many games but they show up to play and skate just as hard as the competition." —Brittney Bloch

Inspirational Athletes

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"My favorite sport to watch currently is cycling and favorite team is Sky. That will probably change soon as my favorite cyclist, Mark Cavendish, will probably be changing teams and my loyalty goes with him. He inspires me to be a better athlete!" —Paul Molnar

Arena Food

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"Hotdogs and beer have no calories when you eat them in a stadium! And where else can you even find garlic cheese French fries?" —Julia Tagus

Living the Dream (Vicariously)

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"You get to feel like you're part of the team, something bigger. When they win, you win. It's the excitement of following your team over the years." —Julia Ladewski

Childhood Memories

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"For me, it's more than a game. It’s remembering summers by games that were played and the sensory clues I still find—the crack of the bat, the stitch on a ball, the smell of the grass in the field." —Abby Heugel

To Keep the Internet in Business

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"Live-streaming sports on the Internet were the best thing that ever happened to me. That and the Boss Key [a program that allows you to press a key and instantly bring up a fake but realistic looking work spreadsheet on your screen]" —Gina (last name redacted, just in case her boss is surfing the Internet today too!)

A Good Excuse for Bad Fashion

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"One Christmas my parents bought me an authentic, NFL-licensed team jacket. The team doesn't matter, but what's essential to this story is that it wasn't the team I'd been rooting for with my father for the previous few seasons. More about fashion than fandom, I chose this particular jacket because one of its primary colors was black. It was the late '80s, and white suburban kids dressed like they were a background member of a rap group. At least, they did in my school. It also made me a semi-fan of the team, even though they stunk." —Chris Illuminati

The Great Outdoors

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"Nothing beats the smell of a football game! The crisp fall air, the cut grass, all the fried foods... It's a great reason to get outside and enjoy the [season]" —Bethany Dodge

Watching is a Workout

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"The average 150-pound woman burns more than 100 calories per hour attending a live sporting event. And that’s just while sitting! Walking from your car to the stadium and then up eight or more flights of stairs to your seat is another way to easily torch more calories, not to mention leaping from the bench when your team scores a touchdown.

Can’t make it to the live event? No problem! Catching the game on TV from your living room couch or perched on a stool at the bar can still burn more than 200 calories during a three-hour football game. Stand up while you socialize for the whole game and burn about 150 more calories!" —Christina Goyanes in Prevention magazine

A Longer Life

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"Maintaining a strong social network, especially one with healthy pals, improves your chance of living longer by 50 percent. It doubles your odds of surviving cancer and wards off colds. Friends may even reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease [because] supportive friendships can help you cope with stress, so you’re less likely to suffer its negative physical and emotional effects." —Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University and lead author of a research study on sports fans and health