From the Super Bowl to March Madness, the Masters or the World Series and the World Cup, the sports world is cyclical. Seems we are always waiting eagerly on the edge of our seats (be them of the living room or arena variety) for the next big event.
In this sense we are like adrenaline junkies, living from one high to another.
We crave physical activities that supercharge our emotions and make our pulses race, surging with adrenaline -- without ever leaving the couch. Through out these experiences, we are usually seated and often eating. In a weird, yet generally socially acceptable way, we're couch potato adrenaline junkies, siphoning off the high of those in more physically demanding roles. Such events feed our thirst for incredible physical feats, though our desire is never truly satisfied, but rather kept at bay by whatever sporting event currently captivates us.
True, the way we envy athletes for their "freakish" athletic abilities plays a key role in why we are drawn to sports in the first place. But, as voyeurs through our televisions and computer screens, we sometimes feel as if we share a part in the emotional triumph produced by an athlete's physical accomplishment -- and likewise, in their failures or shortcomings. If our team wins, their success buoys us, even inflating our ego, as if we played a role in shaping the outcome.
Similarly, when athletes stumble or experience unfortunate injuries, our perceived connection to their physical actions triggers an emotional response. For example, when Kevin Ware broke his leg last year, the sports community cringed. Most of us had probably never felt his particular pain, yet we collectively gasped in sympathetic unison as if we understood what he had just experienced.
Even when watching the so-called slower paced sports where the physical stakes are lower, we exhibit characteristics of adrenaline junkies. Perched on our seats with an iced tea in hand, we hold our breath as Phil Mickelson lines up his shot to sink that crucial putt.
Just as we are amazed by the athleticism in certain sporting events, we can also be disappointed. "Well that was a boring game," we say, as if a 96 mph pitch is child's play. We belch up our Bud Light, scratch our bellies and sigh, "such a low-scoring game. What a bummer." But we move on quickly from such occurrences, constantly searching for the next adrenaline rush. And the sports world happily obliges. Our hearts skip a beat as we hear the familiar tune of a SportsCenter notification on our smartphones. What happened now?! We wonder, equal parts excited and nervous.
As couch potato adrenaline junkies, we do give credit where credit is due. We marvel at the finesse of our favorite player, time and time again, or gasp and cheer and weep and scream at just the right moments. We play our role well, doing our part to contribute to our addiction. When Madison Bumgarner hit a grand slam against the Rockies on Friday, a pulse vibrated throughout the stadium, electrifying fans as Bumgarner completed his victory lap. In times like these, we get our high from the players own adrenaline-inducing activities, but in the end we are always aware that it's them, not us, that are worthy of the real adrenaline rush.
These events are enough to sustain our thirst for heart-racing physical feats -- until the next game, that is.
Follow Karin Swanson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thekarinswanson