A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


Toxic relationships with sports

Lives are revolving around sports teams
David Morris
Large group of invested sports fans cheering for their team.

October signifies not only the change of season to the winds of autumn, but the Major League Baseball Postseason is underway and Dodgers fans are preparing to put the heartbreaks aside once again for a chance to hoist that piece of metal in front of Robert Manfred.

Being down 2-0 to the Arizona Diamondbacks with the NLDS now headed to the valley of the sun with the scrappy underdogs looking to take out the Boys in Blue only adds to the misery and heartache Dodger fans have endured for several postseasons. And the light at the end of the tunnel appears to be an oncoming train about to run Los Angeles over.

Let’s flashback a few years to where the peak of this toxic relationship began and signified another cycle of collapse.

Bottom of the ninth inning. Game Five of the 2020 World Series. The Dodgers led the best-of-seven series 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Dodgers were up 7-6 when Rays’ outfielder Brett Phillips came to pinch hit with runners on first and second with two outs.

Down 1-2 on the count, Phillips roped a ball to center field when Dodgers’ center fielder Chris Taylor misplayed the ball allowing center fielder Kevin Kiermaier to score from second home to tie the game.

After mishandling the ball, Taylor relayed the throw in to prevent left fielder Randy Arozarena from scoring the winning run. Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy cut the relay throw off and rifled it to catcher Will Smith with enough time to tag Arozarena out.

Smith missed the throw home. Arozarena scored the winning run, tying the series 2-2. Brett Phillips was now immortalized in MLB Postseason lore.

The Dodgers would capture that 2020 World Series during the COVID-19-shortened season.

As a fan of the Dodgers, Nick Ramos, 23, felt cursed after the Dodgers lost game four of the 2020 World Series against the Rays in catastrophic fashion.

Ramos’ night was ruined and the old wound of years of misfortune and heartbreak seemed to plague the Dodgers.

How can we lose our third World Series in four years?

“I was in absolute shock, I was despondent. Nobody could talk to me,” Ramos said. “I was on the East Coast so it was about like, 11 o’clock at night and I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night. Thank god it was a weekend, because, wow. This could only happen to me, I thought we were cursed from that moment.”

Die-hard fans like Ramos willingly allow their stress levels, oftentimes their lives to be influenced by emotionally overinvesting themselves in professional sports. A byproduct of fandom is the lingering stress that impacts a person’s life, even after the game is over.

According to Dr. Richard Shuster, a clinical psychologist, in an article published for NBC News, a person’s brain produces cortisol when your favorite team underperforms. The hormone cortisol is usually released when a person’s brain is under stress

Season after season, sports fans purposefully put themselves in stressful situations during the high-stakes games that can cause anyone on the losing side to feel like they’re cursed or break things worth thousands of dollars.

Regardless of how the anxiety manifests itself after they replace the broken things, fans willingly place themselves in the same situation the following season.

Dodgers fans continue the cycle and return to the toxic relationship every October, but is it all worth it? As the kid from the 2005 romantic-comedy “Fever Pitch” eloquently puts it, “You love the Sox, but have they ever loved you back?”

The love for a team can drive a person insane. Fans start to believe certain mannerisms and inanimate objects play a vital part in the game. Edgar David Gallo, 33, an avid fan of the LA Galaxy, believes his old scar, Galaxy shoes and a jersey with autographs from different players will dictate the outcome of the game.

“My girlfriend tells me I’m crazy, but I don’t think so,” Gallo added.

This type of fandom can be the difference between life and death. When fans experience high-stakes games, it can cause heart rates to replicate levels reached during a workout.

According to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, fans who watched a regular hockey game saw their heart rates significantly increase to the levels typically reached during an intense workout. Imagine how much it changes during a game that actually matters. The study stated this kind of body change can cause a person with health problems to have a stroke or a heart attack.

However, fandom also has its advantages. For some, fandom is a generational inheritance that fosters bonding.

Ryan Fitchhorn, 30, is a fan of the Padres and the Packers because his dad cheers for them. It has become a generational fandom passed down from one generation to the next.

Fitchhorn added his fandom for the Padres and the Packers gave him something to talk about with his dad and allowed him to grow closer to him. He hopes his future kids inherit the fandom for his favorite teams, or even anyone else in the league.

“My one deal breaker would be a Seahawks fan,” Fitchhorn said. “I can’t do that. I can’t be a Seahawks fan,” he said.

Although your team is never guaranteed to win, one thing remains certain: the loyalest of fans allow their teams to run a huge part of their lives – for all the good and bad you ride with your team until the wheels fall off.

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About the Contributor
Anthony Solorzano
Anthony Solorzano, Opinions Editor
Anthony Solorzano is the Opinions Editor. He has been pursuing journalism since he realized he hated his job. Anthony loves to tell stories using humor. He finds pop culture to be the truest form of pretentious art.

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