Psychologist explains why fans feel anxious around game time

It hasn't been a walk in the park for everyone who is watching.
It hasn't been a walk in the park for everyone who is watching.

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — It hasn’t been a walk in the park for everyone who is watching.

Some fans were full of excitement, others with anxiety, as they watched the Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.

Cubs fan Karla Pitner said, “You know the Cubs, you know you can’t get upset every time they lose or you would be forever depressed.”

Fan Rick Bradley said he feels, “Huge anxiety, huge anxiety. This team has been so snake bit.”

Cubs fan Grant Stohler said regarding Saturday’s win, “I was definitely holding my breath because I know that the Dodgers are a very capable team.”

It wasn’t an easy game for Bradley to keep his eyes on.

“I couldn’t even watch a lot of the games cause I was so concerned that they’re gonna choke this away again, and low and behold they didn’t,” Bradley said.

Dr. Kip Williams, Purdue University psychological sciences professor, said the longer you are a fan of a team, the longer you’re invested in it.

“They know how to cope with failure. They’ve been doing it for a long time,” said Williams. “They don’t know how to cope with success or near success as well and that makes people very anxious.”

He says the anxiety comes from identifying with the team. When the team does well, the identification gets stronger.

“They think that they’re somehow a part of that victory,” said Williams.

He said that creates a lot of anxiety when your self-esteem is tied into the team winning and losing. Right now, fans are feeling the heat.

“It’ll be pretty intense,” Pitner said. “And we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they come through, finally.”