Can a Sports Fan Go Too Far? The Psychology of Fans and Super-Fans

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It might be that not everyone in the world is following the World Cup. But the sheer numbers of people tuning into the games show that a lot of people are seriously rooting for their favorite teams. FIFA recently came up with new (wide) estimates that say from 250 million to half a billion people tune in to watch.

And undoubtedly some of those fans will paint their faces, dress up in capes and holler at the screen like the world is ending when their teams miss that perfect shot on goal. Superfan Nicholas Iwaniwuk, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin will be one of them. He's a serious USA fan and he's just tattooed a team USA logo on his chest to support the team.  He says watching the USA defeat Spain in a recent game was "better than sex."

Edward Hirt, psychology professor at The University of Indiana at Bloomington, says there are a lot of psychological benefits to rooting for the team. But he also warns that going to any extreme in life can be unhealthy. We talk with him about where the line is, and whether it involves vuvuzelas.


Edward Hirt and Nicholas Iwaniwuk

Produced by:

Jen Poyant

Comments [1]

amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

Soccer fanaticism can be best distilled in the football memoir, Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby. His devotion to the London football club, Arsenal, was truly epic, but not totally uncommon as part of super fandom.

Jun. 16 2010 09:56 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.