What is the old saying? Misery loves company? Perhaps that is the reason why so many sports fans flock to message boards for post-game relief. In this internet age of virtual communities and the ability to vent without ever voicing a word, message board communities provide a haven of solace for frustrated sports fans looking for answers.
It’s 4:15pm and an egregious error by the sideline judge, just cost State University a conference game. John Tailgater, a self-proclaimed State-U junky, can’t bear to watch the post-game interviews or analysis. Instead, he flips off his television and storms off to his computer desk, blood boiling and looking for something to destroy. Little by little, John pounds away at his keyboard, with each keystroke releasing a bit more tension than the one before. He logs onto a State-U fan website where thousands of his fellow fans, none of whom he has ever met, share the same intense passion and obsession over the team.
“How could he have missed that call?!” “College officiating is so corrupt — ” “What a waste of an afternoon!” The statements of anger rage on as John and his fellow internet companions vent about the poor officiating that cost State-U the game. Forget the three turnovers in the red zone, missed tackle in the final minute and wasted timeouts that preceded the blown call; the end result was no one’s fault but the zebra’s.
After about 20 minutes of venting, John has whipped himself into a tizzy. With nowhere else to go but down, John spends the next 40 minutes slowly rationalizing the loss, blaming the outcome on the referees, and eventually gaining optimism for next week’s game. By this time, he’s over the loss and prepares to enjoy a Saturday night out with the family.
Over the course of about an hour, John went from irate maniac to semi-normal human being, all because of the pressure release that comes with sports message board reading. Now isn’t this why the internet was designed? to socialize remotely with complete strangers that share a common interest? Of course it is! Internet message boards allow us to vent to our virtual friends so that our real family and friends don’t have to hear about it. Don’t believe me? Check out some of the traffic statistics of sports message boards following a win, and compare those to traffic statistics following a loss. What you’ll find out is that people find it a lot more compelling to run to their computers and complain than celebrate. After all, celebrations should be saved for our real friends. Thank you sports message boards, for saving friendships and relationships all over the world.
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