A lot of people have a favorite sports team. Some go so far as to make the team part of their identity. Rather than simply enjoy watching a good game, the ego seeks to enlarge itself by latching onto a group of complete strangers in order to ride their coattails to “victory” and therefore a feeling of power and worth. This is why rabid fans feel miserable when their team loses – their egos feel diminished.
The purported reason that people associate with a particular team is usually that it “represents” the geographical area that they live or grew up in, or a school that they attend or used to attend. The real reason is that the ego is grasping for a way to feel good about itself because it cannot feel good on its own. When they root for “their” team, they are really rooting for themselves. Fans don’t personally know any of the players so they don’t care what benefits the players get from winning, nor do the fans get to share any of the money or fame. The sole benefit from having “their” team win is an ego boost.
The ego likes to affiliate with other fans of the same team, even though the basis of this relationship is merely that they sit on their backsides eating fattening food and drinking alcohol while watching other people do stuff. Cheering along with others for the same team might develop a sense of camaraderie, but a true friendship cannot be based on this alone.
If all of the players on someone’s favorite sports team were traded to other teams and replaced with new players, they would still root for this team. Why? Because it’s not about the particular players – it’s about the idea of being affiliated with a particular team. The ego cannot give up its identity as a fan of this particular team, because if it did it would be annihilated.
The choice of team is usually random. A person who grows up in Baltimore will likely become a Ravens fan. If his parents had moved to Seattle before he was born, he would have grown up there and become a Seahawks fan. This is because the ego is nothing more than an identification with something external. It clamps onto something other than the true self and says, “I am that.” The true self does not do that because it is, by definition, its own identity, so it needs no other. Therefore it does not make a particular sports team, or political idea, or religion, or skin color, or nationality, or gender, part of its identity.