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Heroes

Athletic Identity – The Case of Ronda Rousey

Last month, in an interview with Ellen, Ronda Rousey described how she felt after losing the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) title in MMA (mixed martial arts):
“Honestly, my thought, I was like, in the medical room and I was like down in the corner, I was in the corner and I was like 'what am I anymore if I’m not this?' I was literally sitting there and thinking about killing myself and that exact second...
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Cognitive Bias

Do We Love Violence Part II – How We Watch Football

In a recent news story, a spokesperson for the National Football League finally conceded what many doctors have long since known: there is a definitive link between playing football and developing the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). While the NFL has obvious financial incentive in denying the link between playing football and developing brain damage, media coverage of the disease (including the recent film Concussion) has done a lot toward educating the...
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Football

Do We Love Violence? – Reflections on the Pro Bowl

This past Sunday represented a lull for most football fans: the first Sunday since Labor Day without a football game. Truth be told, there was a football game, just not a very entertaining one. To be sure, millions watched this past Sunday, as the NFL's best players squared off in its version of an All-Star Game. But, to gain perspective, consider that some suggest that the rating was the worst rated...
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Baseball

Understanding a Sports Fan’s Version of PTSD

As the New York Mets prepare to host their cross-town rivals, the Yankees, for a three-game series, they lead their division by 8 games with only 16 games left to play. Assuming that the Mets hold on and make the playoffs, it will be their first playoff appearance since 2006, not to mention their first winning season since 2008. So, with the Mets holding the second biggest division lead in all of baseball, on the brink...
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Football

The Psychological Secret to the Seahawks’ Success

The Seattle Seahawks have been one of the most successful NFL franchises over recent years, winning a super bowl two years ago and narrowly missing another last year. They have a star quarterback in Russell Wilson, and a very impressive defense, led by their defensive backs. So, aside from fielding a talented roster, what is the secret to the Seahawks' consistent success?

Several articles written over the past few years all seem to...
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Cognitive Bias

Was Mickey Mantle that Good? – Misremembering Legends

Last night, Major League Baseball played its 86th All Star Game. As part of the festivities, launched a campaign for fans to vote for its team's "Franchise Four," the best four all-time players on each team. Additionally, a separate ballot asked fans to vote for the greatest four living players. These elections were interesting to monitor, watching generations of old battle current generations for the greatest ever.

As discussed in the context of Derek...
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Baseball

The Increasing Role of Psychology in Baseball

Sports in general have advanced with the times, but baseball especially has showcased how sports can change with technology. Beginning with the Sabermetrics Revolution, led by characters such as Bill James and Billy Bean, baseball teams started seeking a competitive edge using previously unknown statistics. WAR, Babip, and Fip became household words as these new-aged statistics identified surprising, at times counterintuitive, advantages of some players over others.
According to a recent...
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Fan Psychology

Why We Care About Sports (Part II) – An Escape

Previously, we resumed our discussion about why people watch sports and explained its simple entertainment value. This week we look at another factor listed as one among many in the psychology literature, yet seems quite common among well-known writers.

Sports on Earth writer and Deadspin founder Will Leitch has summarized sports' value in various contexts. For example, in explaining the mistake Lebron James made the night of his big Decision, Leitch provided an...
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Motivation

Does “Close” Count in Sports?

"Close only counts in horseshoes and grenade throwing," the saying goes. I heard this saying early and often in my life, generally after trying to seek consolation in barely losing at anything to my older brother.
Sports fans seem to accept this dictum, or as Kanye West put it, "moral victories is for minor league coaches."
As the NBA and NHL playoffs roll on, close games are plentiful. NBA playoff...
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