The fans were back in the Revelstoke Forum for the Grizzlies home opener, Oct. 23. (Google maps)

The fans were back in the Revelstoke Forum for the Grizzlies home opener, Oct. 23. (Google maps)

Piercey’s Playbook: Why do we love live sports?

Fans return to the Revelstoke Forum for the first time in over a year on Oct. 23

A night out at the big game: screaming, crying, long lines, overpriced beer, overpriced hot dogs, sticky floors, packed bathrooms, obnoxious drunk dudes and giant signs impeding your view of the action.

God, I’ve missed it so much.

For some people, especially here in Revelstoke, our last chance to get out in the stands to take in a game feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?

Well, thanks to the Grizzlies, it’s back.

What is it about live sports that we love so much?

Maybe it’s something eloquent.

The theatre of it all, a venue for emotional expression. The unbreakable, unexplainable bond formed between two dudes who’ve consumed more then a few casuals who happen to also be yelling at the same D-man who backchecks slower then the shifting of the earth’s tectonic plates. The grand chorus of an entire stadium booing after a crushing defeat.

No, it must be something more visceral then that.

The adrenaline pumped in your system as you live vicariously through the players on the ice, clutching your hot dog until it’s mush. The blood-curdling rage induced when the other team nets one. The rush of euphoria when your team scores in a nail-biter. The fist-pumping, the spit, sweat and tears.

Well, what do those smarter than I think? Scientists have done numerous studies on why we love watching sports.

Researchers have highlighted the role of mirror neurons: specialized brain cells that seem to activate the same way whether you carry out an action or merely watch another person do it. Studies have shown that watching your team win leads to a rise in testosterone levels in your brain, likely fueling feelings of aggression, much like any other animal species during bouts of competition.

For a lot of people, it’s social, even habitual.

A live game gives an escape from real-world troubles. People like to watch sports because it gives them a sense of belonging, and a connection to a wider world. People hold real, hard grudges against others because of the team they follow. Fathers and mothers pass on team allegiances down to their kids like it’s genetic.

Here’s my two cents: It’s about the moments. Things that if you didn’t watch it live, are inconsequential when looked at retrospectively. Moments recorded in history books that are just a collection of words unless you were there to see it with your own two eyes.

The Golden Goal – only those who saw Sidney Crosby win the gold for Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver with their own two eyes will truly ever know what that moment felt like. To me, that’s what makes going to watch games live so special.

So to live sports: welcome back. We missed ya.

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