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Entertainment and Religion

Question:

How Passons Lead to Fanaticism In Sports Religions and Politics.

It may appear strange associating religion with entertainment factors of sports. It should be kept in mind that the sports and the religion have diverged relationship. However, both the categories are capable of providing immense entertainment to its visitors. This relationship is rooted in the history. Before appearance of mass communication, ceremonies on religion were the main source of entertainment for the common person (Jona & Okou, 2013). These ordinary people would scarcely visit in a theater program or events based on the sports. However, in sports and religion people could attain the communal entertainment. One can divide the sports and religion as two different categories; however, one should notice the convergence point of these two different categories, which is prominent, noticeable and distinctive.

The team spirit or communal spirit is present in both sports and religion. Most of the local people are the supporters to their local team. They also attach to the religion in a way they attach to their sports team. The sensation of locality is rooted in both sports and religion. It is like all the members of the community are rooted in the same team, in other words, which could be called religion. The religion of the parents, grandparents and childhood friend might be common in a particular region. When they participate in a religious ceremony, the feeling associated with it is same as participation in a sports event as supporters (Harvey, 2014). Therefore, the bonds they comprehend for the team or religion is similar to the feeling of participation in a community. The feeling is associated with the communal feeling for both the categories: sports and religion.


The communal feelings gained from participation in the religious ceremonies and sports events are based on the cultural premises. This feeling is similar to the feeling of rallying together as a tribe and encourages the warriors for fighting to protect the community. It is important for the community leaders to keep everyone safe in the community. However, it should be kept in mind that rallying together has assisted us to survive through the history. It has its long past in the time and history. For this reason, the drive of rallying together is present in our biological system. We feel good and excited when we stand in a stadium with millions of people standing together. This drive is so much rooted in our biological system that it gives excitement in cheering up with thousands of people for a common reason (Higgs, 2015). The popularity of music concerts, rallies and events could be described in a way that it all provides the feeling of connectedness and this feeling of connectedness drives the participants.

Team Spirit and Communal Feeling

As the supporters of a sports team, become the part of the team without accepting contradicting viewpoints, similarly most of the people embrace the local religion or the religion of their village without accepting any alternative views about that religion. In both the cases, it is not a choice. Sports and religious supporters are sightless and they are quite unacceptable in accepting even the well-justified alternative views. As they exhibit honor to their own beliefs, similarly they often rally only to destroy their rivals (Watson & Parker, 2014). However, there is no championship trophy to compete. Being a fan of anything means overlooking the other perspectives and it makes it easy to lose the other perspective on what you care. This could explain the reason behind why I would not like to be a fan in the same way again.

It is scholarly believe that the fans are solely committed to their favorite stars as well as their favorite teams in a way that could create meaning and determination to their lives (Watson & Parker, 2012). In addition to that, sports spectatorship is a kind of transformative experience and the fans could escape from their humdrum lives by this transformative experience. Spectatorship could provide a transformative experience by which fans could elevate from their daily life hazards.

Transformative experience of sports spectatorship could explain the quasi-religious goals of face painting, hair tinting or distinctive choice of costumes (Harvey, 2014). Religion wants to provide a community based transformative feeling. Quasi means apparently but not really. Quasi-religion means apparent religious feeling. Face painting, hair tinting or distinctive choice of costumes provide the sense of identification with community that have similar mind-set. However, these activities are able to provide a quasi-religious feeling as religion too is able to provide community feeling. These activities are not related to religion; however, the feelings from these activities are similar to that of religious feeling. These activities like face brushing, hair highlighting or unique choice of costumes could help the participants to escape from the disappointments and limitations of daily life, which is similar to the feeling of religion and spectatorship. Activities such as these could be able to establish a community of supporters of the similar activity.


Fanatics are the priceless customers to a particular brand. They are highly attractive to the marketers for variety of reasons. For example, some fanatics are moved by the extreme consumption drives that would entail high rate of usage and purchase patterns. These fanatics act as opinion leaders as they would earn others’ attention to the brand. They could also captivate the other customers on behalf of the brand. Fanatics undertake personal and financial supports to the brand by connecting and engaging in brand communities. As they are the fanatics, their support is consistent, resolute. Their support is so resistant against the views of marketing massages from competitor brands that any endeavor to minimize the attachment to the brand would be disregarded by the fanatics. Hugenberg (2014) explains that companies could be monetarily benefitted by the fan loyalty.

Transformative Experience of Sports Spectatorship

There is a similarity between the fanatical fan and devoted fan. Distance and time do not matter for the fanatical fans; these persons are not bounded by the time or distance (Higgs, 2015). They identify themselves with the attachment of sports consumptive object. Self-identification with being a fan is very important part of a fanatical fan. The fanatical fan behaves in such a way that is beyond the normal devoted fan. Fanatical fans show much anxiety, higher level of knowledge about the team and a feeling of arousal while watching the game, which is different pattern of behavior from the normal devoted fans. However, the family, friends or other fans accept the behavior of the fanatical fans because the source of their behavior is rooted in the supportive nature of their characters. They are the mere supporters to a particular game, team and sport, though they are the blind. Devoted fan might go to watch the game. However, the fanatical fans would like to visit the gallery with faces painted with the colors of their supportive team. They would like to go to the gallery with costumes that would exhibit a completely different behavior than that of the devoted fans. For the fanatical fans, interactions with the club are highly esteemed. In case of the devoted fans, there is no such binding.

Supportive nature of the fanatics could be related to the emotional stimulation as emotional stimulation motivates the fantasies of the fanatics for a particular team or sports. For them, sports are much more than a game and actions. It is just like the ritualistic part of a religion. For instance, studies have shown that being a part of a sports team or religious group is a useful thing for psyche of human. Research has also shown that the fanatics could correlate with the frequency of positive and negative emotions respectively. The strong emotions of fanatics are associated with the number of other indexes of psychological stability as well, like, affective expression, alienation and vigor.


Politically, many fanatic groups believe that their belief system could make the world a better place to live. Their believe system is so strong that they wants to believe that they could capitulate themselves and their older selves and that would help to push forward the new agenda and system. Many political fanatic groups have resolved to violence, which comes from the belief that they could one day change the world. Sometimes they are ready to hurt themselves and others for the sake of their political beliefs. Even the sports fanatics have started the violence many times at the end of the game. There are certain areas in the world where wearing a particular team jersey, could create problems. The problems could go in that extent when one could beat up and killed. Sports fanatics are very loyal to their teams. Their psychology is so attached to the team that any negative feeling from the supporters of the other teams could make them violent. Politically, some of the extremists belief that what they belief is right. It is unfortunate that at times certain political extremists feel entitled to believe. They become aggressive as they feel that the support they are receiving is from mainstream political system or campaigns and officials.

Fanatics and Devotees

Information acquisition is another reason that could motivate the fanaticism. According to me, structured organizations control both the religion and sports. For example, churches, mosques and synagogue are the places or organization where religion is practiced. These are all house of religious practices where believers come to satisfy their beliefs. Similarly, the sports stadiums and arenas represent the cathedrals and temples where followers come together to celebrate the success of their respective team. Communally the supporters pray for the success of their supportive team as if the devotees go to the temple or cathedral to pray. In both the structured organizations, there are many rituals, which are performed in the arenas, which could be associated with sports or religion, are organized and structured.

The most fanatical and devoted fans should know the information about the players of the opposite and respective teams. In the psychology of a sports fan, community pride plays an important role, as they perceive the sports club as the “main source of local expression” of their community. These fans want to attend the sports event because if the local team is in the higher position in the city that would increase the images of the community, which could represent an important symbol for the community.

Another reason that would motivate fanaticism is the sense of group affiliation. Fans wants to express this feeling as their immediate ancestors would come to visit the sports. This is one of the main reasons for which fanatics wants to attend the game. From the childhood, many young fans became the fans of a team, as their parents are associated with the sentiment of the team. These fans want to carry their family sentiments by attending into the sports ceremony. Many fans perceive the club as an extended form of family where they show a certain degree of devotion. For devoted and fanatical fans, this is extremely true. The fanatical fans show loyalty and commitment to the club by purchasing merchandise, accompanying home games and participating in other related activities. These fanatical groups believe that activities such as singing, chanting before or during the match would make them the real fans of the team, which would act as the backbone of the other supporters.


The fanatics could value the creation of feelings of the communities of similar likeminded people. The sense of connectedness, belonging and devotion are associated with the community feeling, which could create a sense of transcendence. In many ways, the fan driven development of communities could be seen as branding the community. Fanatics have huge and detailed knowledge of the history of the club they support. They commemorate the past stories before the beginning of the match or in halftime. Among the fanatics, interaction with the club is highly acknowledged. These fanatics are to engage in the website discussions and commentaries through emails.  These activities help to connect the supporter groups. The fanatics of particular sports club are active in researching and subscribing to the newsletter and fanzines. Many fanatics would like to see the club as their extended family.  It is related to the devotion that the fanatics exhibit while watching the sports in the stadium.  

In the discipline of sociology, fandom is used to portray the interaction between the audience and popular media within culture studies (Delaney & Madigan, 2015). From the late 1980’s Fiske and Jenkins were the first scholars who put importance on fans and fandom in media and cultural studies (Duffett, 2013). They introduce the concept of motivation and the interaction between fans and the objects of their fanaticism. A fan is generally perceived as an obsessed individual who has an enthusiasm for a particular team, show, celebrity and brand. Fiske has defined fandom as a specific social and cultural interactions, institutions and communities, formed through the close interaction of committed groups of fans in a sub-cultural context. Sport fandom can enhance psychological well-being and the quality of life (Evans & Stasi, 2014). It has been argued that identification with sport teams may serve to replace traditional but declining social ties such as religion and the family. Social connections resulting from sport identification may prove beneficial to ones psychological health by serving as a buffer against depression and alienation while increasing self-esteem.

To conclude I would like to say I am a member of Islam religion and big fan of Barcelona’s team. I almost feel the same when my team wins and when I pray for my God. The level of commitment is similar in both the categories.

References

Delaney, T., & Madigan, T. (2015). The sociology of sports: An introduction. McFarland.

Duffett, M. (2013). Understanding fandom: An introduction to the study of media fan culture. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Evans, A., & Stasi, M. (2014). Desperately seeking methods: New directions in fan studies research. Participations, 11(2), 4-23.

Harvey, L. (2014). A brief theology of sport. SCM Press.

Higgs, R. J. (2015). God in the stadium: Sports and religion in America. University Press of Kentucky.

Jensen, J. A. (2014). Sports fans, identity, and socialization: exploring the fandemonium.

Jona, I. N., & Okou, F. T. (2013). Sports and Religion. Religion, 2.

Watson, N. J., & Parker, A. (2014). Sport and the Christian religion: a systematic review of literature. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Watson, N. J., & Parker, A. (Eds.). (2012). Sports and Christianity: historical and contemporary perspectives. Routledge.

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