OK, as I went to work today, I started thinking about something quite different from what I promised. OK, Krista, I always promise*, and I promise* I will return to Rousseau and the state of Nature next time.
Instead, I want to talk about a strange phenomenon, which we might call 'sport team identification.' The phenomenon to which I refer is when a fan so identifies with the team she follows, that she starts referring to the team in the first person plural. This does not happen for the causal observer. So, when the casual observer watches a team win, he may say to a friend 'They won.' But when a fan watches the same team play, they will describe it as "We won," this despite the fact that the fan knows they contributed absolutely nothing to the victory, and indeed, is embarrassed about that when it is pointed out. And make no mistake, the wins and loses feel personal. To the fan, they really did win and lose, in a certain sense.
But the same identification does not occur in other similar phenomenon. No one watches a band, say the Grateful Dead, and describes it in the first person plural. no one says "We were awesome!" after the show. If an identification is made, it is of a different sort. The fans experience of the show is different from the casual observer, but not in a way that inspires identification.
My question: Why do we identify with sports teams? How does it become personal? And why does that not happen in other similar circumstances?