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Stress Worsens Cancer, Why Am I Still A Sports Fan?

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Article

We all know that stress is bad.

Burt Rosen image

It’s bad and probably helps cancer develop, it’s bad and probably makes symptoms worse and it’s bad and can lead to a lot of health issues (cancer and others). It’s bad enough, that a constant effort by all people with cancer is to reduce the amount of stress in our daily lives.

So, WHY ARE WE STILL SPORTS FANS???? I have been a sports fan forever. I grew up in New York City (Manhattan, actually, yes, I’m a real live native NYer) and have been a sports fan since I can remember. My favorite teams from back when are the NY Yankees, the NY Rangers, The NY Knicks and the Los Angeles Chargers.

Since I left the East Coast and moved to Portland OR, I’ve added in the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) and to a lesser degree, Oregon Ducks football.

Ok, the Yankees and the Rangers (and even the Knicks) have won championships in my lifetime and sometimes, seem to have a desire to win. The Blazers have also won but it was in 1977 and we didn’t move to Oregon until 2009.

So those teams have their stressful moments, as all sports teams do. But, there is no team as bad for stress as the Chargers. I have been a fan for 43 years and they are the most creative team at finding ways to lose. In fact, there is now a well known verb in NFL circles and amongst fans, “Chargering”, that means finding new and creative ways to lose. The highlight of my Chargers fandom was in 1994, when they made it to their one and only super bowl and got trounced. It’s never happened again.

But, I still root for them. Every week. I read their news, I buy their merchandise, I just went to a game in LA (they lost a close one, of course), I stream the games (it’s legal as far as I know like everything is on the internet!) and I participate in social media about them.

Why do I still subject myself to such pain and stress, especially when I have more important stressors in my life? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

One reason, which is overused but real, is the community. When I was at the game a few weeks ago with my son, I wore a jersey (sorry, no face paint) and I remember seeing all the other jerseys and thinking “It feels so good to be in a place where I am not suffering alone”. It felt like there was a real community of Chargers fans, who all have love/hate relationships with the team, and that felt so comforting.

I really don’t want to compare sports and cancer but, the only thing I will say is that it's the community that makes you feel supported, not alone, and not crazy. And that might be worth the stress of watching a team you care about lose and never get out of its own way.

So, this week, when you are watching sports and it’s not going the way you hope, ask yourself, how many 100s, 1000s, 10000s, or more people are feeling exactly as you are and take solace in the fact that there is a community of people just like you out there!

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