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Through the wind and rain

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 01 July 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:0407294
  1. Saffy Rushworth, intercalating medical student1
  1. 1University of Westminster

Despite poor performances, inflated ticket prices and greedy stars, sports fans stand by their team. Saffy Rushworth takes a look at what makes them tick

We have been spoilt for choice with sport this summer. There is Wimbledon, Euro 2004, and the Olympic Games lined up for August. For fans of sport it means an endless array of sporting events to choose from. Will Tim Henman become the first English man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936? Will hot favourite France retain the European Championship trophy in Portugal? And will the United States dominate the Olympic Games once again?

That's entertainment

The world's eyes have been securely fixed on sport as a means of entertainment for many years, and the reasons have been varied. Maybe it is down to the dedication which the athletes show to their sport or maybe it is because when the football season starts we develop such feelings of hope and expectation for our team or maybe we just love the excitement of a competitive tournament and the fact it brings the country together. What ever the reason for our love of sport we can't deny the fact that it has the ability to take over our lives and turn normal men and women into obsessional lunatics. Our mood begins to depend on how our team performed at the weekend, we feel gutted every time our team gets knocked out of a competition, and dejected when we come home with fewer gold medals than other countries. So why do we feel this way and what makes us turn from a fan into a fanatic?

Strong connections

There have been many theories of what makes fans identify with a particular team and why they interact with the sport and players like they do. Daniel Wann is a sports psychologist …

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