A new study of sports fan psychology concludes that fans who have the most negative emotions toward their team's prospects, get the most enjoyment out of games. So treasure your angst ... because it's more fun that way.
Ohio State researchers studied 113 college students who were watching the 2006 game against Michigan (when both teams were undefeated and ranked #1 and #2 in the country.) The students were asked to check in during commercial breaks and say whether they thought their favorite team would win or lose, how suspenseful the game was, and if they were having fun or not. The results showed that the group that enjoyed the game the most were the Ohio State fans who were convinced that the Buckeyes would lose the game. (They won by 3.) It seems to suggest that folks get more satisfaction out of the negative emotions that sports create, because sports fans are sick, perverted masochists.
Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, co-author of the study and associate professor of communication at Ohio State University, explains:
"You need the negative emotions of thinking your team might lose to get you in an excited, nervous state," Knobloch-Westerwick said. "If your team wins, all that negative tension is suddenly converted to positive energy, which will put you in a euphoric state."
In other words, winning is more exciting if don't believe in your team to begin with. Also, if you expect disaster and your team always fails, then you're never disappointed! (That explains why Lions fans exist.) But the most important ramification of this study is that we now have proof that people who strut around all day long boasting that their team can never be beaten are really just obnoxious pricks.
Seriously, fuck those guys.