Re: "It's Just Sports"
It is just sports, but then it's more than that. Most people have a little more than a passing rooting interest in their sports teams because of the tie in that our teams have with a geographical area. Now I'm one of those people who has to have a favorite team to root for in every sport, but the the criteria is always whether or not my hometown has a team in that sport. If Cincinnati doesn't have a team in that sport, then I'm free to pick another team, but if there's a team here, I don't feel like I have any other choice in the matter since this is where I grew up and it will always be home.
This is why when one of my favorite teams from another city is doing well or poorly, the highs and the lows are never as high or low as they are with the Reds or the Bengals. During hockey season I'm rooting for the Blues, but I've never lived in St. Louis, just been a fan of the team since a former Cincinnati Stinger ended up playing there. When they play well, I'm happy, and when they lose I'm a little bummed, but it's not quite the same because they don't represent my home. When the Reds or Bengals do well, there's more to it than just a sports team winning. My home town is winning. You are out and about and people are wearing apparel and talking about the team and everyone in the city benefits from this. People who aren't hard core fans might share in the pride a bit, and those of us who are hard core fans will be on cloud 9. I've always had a strong sense of wanting to be proud in my home and rooting for athletes who represent my home is just one way that manifests itself. That's why every couple years I will glue myself to the tv watching sporting events I would never watch any other time of the year because there are athletes representing my country. When they win, we all win, whether or not we're fans of the games they play.