On Saturday September 12, 2015 Penn State had its first home football game against Buffalo. Although this wasn’t my first time sitting in the student section, it was my first home football game as a Penn State student. Saturday was when I really got to experience the student section. It was something I could not explain with any other word but wild. People were cheering and yelling and I am 90% sure my eardrum is blown. I have experienced a variation of this kind of behavior before as my father is a passionate football viewer who was often screaming at the TV on Sundays while I was growing up.
I am no football expert, however, I do know two very important things that you need when viewing football: passion and beer. So, while I was sitting in the student section listening to the slurred screams of my classmates, both of anger and praise, I was wondering, do sports make you agressive?
One of the many things our brain does is control our actions. However, when people drink alcohol, a common commodity during football games, that function becomes impaired. Once someone drinks alcohol, said alcohol travels through the bloodstream which will affect the brain. Neurotransmitters carry the messages to your brain to determine what action you should take next. So, when you consume alcohol the speed of the messages decreases. Alcohol also attacks different parts of your brain such as the cerebral cortex and the limbic system. The cerebral cortex processes your movements, senses and thoughts and all of this is affected when under the influence of alcohol. Because alcohol affects the cortex, it affects the judgments that a person is going to make. So when guests are enjoying a game, they have less control over the way they’re acting and what they’re saying which can cause problems for them and those around them. The limbic system controls emotions and memories, so when under the influence a person will be over dramatic and can trigger emotions such as anger. While watching the game, the opposing team may score and your reaction can be heightened because of the alcohol consumption. Instead of reacting in an appropriate matter, you could be more inclined to be angry and rash.
Football is a violent game in itself, it’s a bunch of guys tackling one another in order to get the ball down the field. Most sports are highly competitive and many major league teams have a large following of fans. The physical strain these players endure is definitely something to worry about, and so is the actions of the fans of the game. Factors like noise and crowding are big causes of aggression and also include acts of vandalism and inappropriateness . Another contributing factor to aggression is anxiety . Sports games are almost always filled with anxiety because viewers are nervous that their team will lose. When you are anxious it can also cause you to become irritable which could result in strong reactions and aggression . There is also a social influence on the way someone acts. When spectators view the sport of football they have the inclination to act in a similar way, aggressiveness is contagious.
Penn State is famous for its athletics and its powerful fan base. After conducting this research I would say sports do cause aggressive fans, but there are outside factors that contribute to it. WE ARE!