Why are we sports fans and gamble on the game?

Have you ever thrown a Superbowl party? Made a Fantasy Football team? Caught a baseball at a game? Sat courtside for your favorite basketball team? When it comes to being a sports fan we can all get a little crazy. Following sports is a big deal in today’s society. Many watch sports to look cool or genuinely because it’s good entertainment. Most of us will watch sports on TV or our phones, hosting a party to watch it with friends.

According to ‘CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll’ 63% of Americans watch sports regularly. That is over half! Not surprised, Statista came out with a survey in 2017 revealing that sports were broadcast for 134,000 hours on regular television. Also, The 2016 Olympic games were the most-watched of all time with 3.6 billion watchers… that is a lot of people! But Why so many? In the Columbia research review, science writer Jonah Lehrer discovered mirror neurons. Lehrer states, “Mirror neurons undoubtedly play a role in interpreting the action you see on the field… Mirror neurons can explain why you put yourself in the shoes of the players on the field. But they cannot explain why you put yourself only in the shoes of precisely half the players on the field—your favorite team.” You want to be in the other person shoes, be the one playing the sport.

Sports are entertainment for the human eye, that is why we are so engrossed in it. It allows you to shut out the world and focus in on something you wish you could do. Does our obsession stop there? No, it has become very popular to gamble on sports in today’s society. According to Reap sports statistics “26% of male athletes reported that they started gambling prior to High School, 66% began in High School.” Wow. That 66% of men started gambling in high school, that’s where we are today. “Sports betting is the most popular form of gambling among youth 14 – 22.” Again you see that this problem is the core of youth and upcoming adults. Why? Well, it’s easy to believe in the aspect of luck, LUCK is what gambling is. You have to be lucky and at a young age and especially being male there is a commonality of a whole lot of pride. They believe they know everything, winning a bet will boost their ego. And being lucky with a big ego equals being popular.

Here at Westside, many students have reasoning for being such big sports fans. Senior Ethan Doan, expressed his participation on the Westside Wolves basketball team for his freshman and sophomore year. He elaborated that this spiked his interest in sports, mainly basketball. “I have played hundreds of games, practiced for hours and days, and dedicated my free time into anything basketball related.” Ethan Doan is a huge Basketball FAN per his experience. Fortunately, Doan was willing to tell us about the few times he gambles and why. He bets on the Superbowl every year! “because of the thrill and adrenaline that comes along when you put your money on a team winning.”  THRILL and ADRENALINE, these are good words to explain the feeling you get when you gamble. Doan also adds, “It makes you more attentive to the game,” so putting your money on the line makes the game more interesting. That is an interesting way to put it.

Senior Justin Gomez, participated in sports, like baseball and soccer. However, he extends his love and passion for Football. Specifically the Houston Texans NFL team! Gomez states, “I have always found the game intriguing and entertaining. From the performance of the players to the on-field coaching.” Justin is entranced by the organization and abilities of the team members.

In the end, sports are a dominant source of entertainment in human life and will always be. We also know that being an obsessed fan can become dangerous, leading to bad gambling habits. Being a sports fan is like freedom from the busy world, so yes, be a sports fan. However, don’t gamble on it. Even if Westside student Ethan Doan says there are good reasons. It doesn’t have to be harmful but the best choice is to never start gambling in the first place.