Your heart races and your cheeks begin to
flush; as you anticipate the surge of energy this win will bring, you move to the edge
of your seat – you can’t get enough! So why are we so passionately involved or obsessed
with sports? Hormones control the way we feel and are stimulated
by every action we take. Hugging a friend releases oxytocin making you feel calm, while
cramming for an exam releases cortisol leading to irritability – but also alertness. Simply
watching sports stimulates hormone levels as well. Testosterone in particular is a hormone
linked to dominance and social interaction, but also increases brain power, spatial awareness
and muscle growth. And scientists have found that after watching your team win, levels
of testosterone skyrocket, especially compared to experiencing a loss. Funnily enough, this
has even been documented in politics: during the 2008 US election, males who voted for
Obama were found to have much higher levels of testosterone after he won, than those who
voted for McCain. When your favourite athlete takes home the
gold, a surge of dopamine is also released. This biological rush activates pleasure centres
in the brain while increasing memory and learning. This increased memory helps explain why some
people continue to watch sports – they’re looking to recreate the physiological excitement
they can’t seem to forget. The brain also contains cells called Mirror
Neurons which are not only activated when completing an action, but also when viewing
it, or even hearing it. Certain mirror neurons will be activated when throwing a ball, seeing
someone throw a ball, or even hearing the word ‘ball’. It’s the reason we can ‘put ourselves
in another’s shoes, and why we experience a similar emotional and physical reaction
to somebody else winning. In fact, scientists monitoring both athletes and spectators see
the same parts of the brain activated – as if the viewer were playing the game. From
an evolutionary perspective, this allows us to understand the mental states of others
and interpret their actions and intentions, as well as empathize with them. It also helps
to explain why we find such pleasure and excitement in seeing our favourite team or athlete become
a champion. Curiously, scientists have found that some
people have problems with this mirror neuron system. This renders them unable to empathize with
others, leading to some social disorders. At the extreme ends, serial killers have been
found to lack this mirror neuron system. Science says, our obsession with sports may
be a great example of our adapted hormonal and neuronal systems at work, keeping us connected
as the human race… while watching humans race. Don’t forget: we have a new video out every day during the Olympics! But if you can’t wait, head to cbc.ca/olympics/ScienceSays for more. Keep asking those burning questions with the hashtag ScienceSays and subscribe for more awesome science videos!

Why Do People Obsess Over Sports?
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100 thoughts on “Why Do People Obsess Over Sports?

  • June 14, 2016 at 8:11 pm
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    Loving sports is in our DNA. As humans, we love competition and rivalry!

    Reply
  • June 21, 2016 at 4:10 am
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    I don't like most sports the only sport I like is airsofting I don't like watching sports hm.. I guess I kill cereal

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  • June 22, 2016 at 4:50 am
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    After I watched my uncle watch Soccer I questioned why he liked it so I came to this

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  • June 25, 2016 at 9:11 pm
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    WHY DO I NOT ???

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  • June 26, 2016 at 4:11 am
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    How come I hate sports?

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  • July 13, 2016 at 6:12 pm
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    I don't like to play or watch most sports so science says I'm like a sociopath even though I'm incredibly empathetic I don't think there's anything wrong with people who do like sports but basically saying if you don't like sports then you are most likely a sociopath (I know they didn't say that word for word but they basically said that) is kinda rude I don't wanna cause any fights and sorry for anyone who takes offense to what I said but this is what I think

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  • August 7, 2016 at 10:02 am
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    I don't care at all about sports.

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  • August 11, 2016 at 8:00 am
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    Why non-sports fan saying sports are for pathetic people? (Warning: Bad grammar incoming) Not all sports fan are retarded bastards who yells at everything. I love watching and playing sports during my free time but I also love reading and (well sometimes) learning new facts about nature, space, and biology. I surprisingly don't even yell at any sports game in my life (well except when I was like 6 or younger). I get excellent grades and love learning. There is sports fan who is smart, quiet, and not a total b*tch. I hope I didn't piss you non-sport fans off, I'm just stating what's in my mind right now

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  • August 26, 2016 at 10:53 am
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    k i guess imma be a serial killer according to this vid

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  • September 19, 2016 at 3:57 am
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    I just don't like sports. When people ask me my favorite sports team, I'm just like, "That one that did the thing." Everyone drew the conclusion that people who don't like sports are psychotic or sociopathic, but this isn't true. I always hate watching people losing games on YouTube. It just hurts me. I don't hate all sports. I just hate things like American football because they risk a lot. I've even been told that smaller bumps can build up. I like swimming and racing, but I find them a bit boring.

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  • September 22, 2016 at 11:22 pm
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    This question is a no-brainer. Men want to be alpha males because women want to be with alpha males. Successful male athletes are more likely to be alpha males.

    Sorry, social constructionists: this dynamic is hard-wired into human sexuality. It's the legacy of our evolutionary heritage.

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  • October 4, 2016 at 2:18 am
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    I think the main point of this video is to convey the fact that humans innately root for other humans' victories or growth, even if it's not in an athletic sense. So, us people who don't care about sports, we're not precisely special snowflakes. We just like to see growth, victory and excitement in other humans doing different activities.

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  • November 13, 2016 at 8:02 pm
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    im a man and i really do not understand the sports obsession mentality. i only like and follow my cities nba team (sacramento kings) but thats it. im good at playing sports though and i prefer playing over watching. i have better things to do with my time instead of sitting down all day on sunday strengthening my beer belly and having my eyes glued to the tv.

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  • November 27, 2016 at 4:17 pm
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    Subliminal programming?

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  • December 22, 2016 at 6:45 am
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    Also known as Hero worship.

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  • January 17, 2017 at 4:07 am
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    ….I'm watching thiis video because I can't understand why people like sports.

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  • January 29, 2017 at 12:31 am
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    Or like your in the moment

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  • February 13, 2017 at 7:40 pm
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    "You have to watch the super bowl and like it, OTHERWISE YOU ARE A SERIAL KILLER!!!!"

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  • March 5, 2017 at 4:35 pm
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    Man this channel is instructive

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  • March 10, 2017 at 9:35 pm
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    i must be a sociopath.

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  • March 23, 2017 at 2:08 am
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    because sports are great

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  • April 3, 2017 at 11:48 pm
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    I like sports because I play them I play hockey so thats why but thats the only sport I play and the others are kinda boring plus everyone has their own opinion can't hate on that

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  • April 8, 2017 at 4:33 am
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    SPORTS ARE BORING

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  • April 23, 2017 at 9:41 am
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    i don`t like sports.

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  • June 2, 2017 at 4:41 am
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    Is it only me who likes playing sports but hates watching them?

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  • June 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm
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    I hate sports… does that makes me a psycho killer?

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  • June 8, 2017 at 5:46 am
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    People get so excited over sports and I have no idea why. I mean my dad bought some tickets to a warriors game and it was very boring (no offense to people who would love that). I know I sound ungrateful but even my dad who literally bought the tickets for the game looked bored. I just don't see why a group of guys throwing a ball into a hoop is more interesting than something like a cancer man who makes meth and is a badass. Entertainment and interests is different for everyone, I know, and I'm not trying to offend but I much rather watch anything else.

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  • June 8, 2017 at 5:31 pm
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    Hi maybe you guys can do a video about why some people are always cold

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  • June 11, 2017 at 7:11 pm
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    Throwing around a ball no matter how it's done is not impressive

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  • July 5, 2017 at 8:02 pm
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    I don't have a problem with normal people who don't watch/play sports and don't follow teams. I have a huge problem though with those self-entitled piece of shits who make a big deal out of themselves not caring about sports and shame sports fans for simply being PASSIONATE and expressing their interests in something. those kind of people can kindly jump off a plane mid air rather than try to get involved in a conversation INVOLVING SPORTS WHICH YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE IN by ruining the fun for literally EVERYONE ELSE

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  • July 8, 2017 at 1:38 pm
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    I dislike people who get overly emotional with their favourite sport teams.

    I despise the people in this comments section who think by not liking sports they are somehow superior to others..

    R/iamverysmart material is all over.

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  • July 24, 2017 at 3:15 pm
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    Aye I Can Play Sports And Read…You Can Read But Can't Play Sports 😂 Big Mad

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  • July 29, 2017 at 4:15 pm
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    sport is the life yeah, sports like soccer,basketball,calisthenics runs in my blood and it is much better than being a nerd/book worm those retarded people who dont know the true value of sports really sucks.

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  • August 2, 2017 at 11:34 am
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    You left out the fact that the enjoyment of sports is a modern form of enjoying watching people literally kill each other. Colosseum ring a bell?

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  • August 12, 2017 at 1:29 am
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    I noticed a pattern. Those with higher IQ are less likely to enjoy sport.

    I wanted to enjoy sport, but I find interest in other things over watching people getting smashed like idiots.

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  • August 15, 2017 at 10:57 pm
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    Warriors Fan: "We won the championship!"
    Me: "No those guys in that arena on TV won the championship."
    Some people act like they are part of the actual team they watch.

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  • August 16, 2017 at 8:13 pm
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    People watch and obsess over sports because it's the greatest thing in the world. Period. It's manly. It gets men of all different races and background together and it is something for men to do to escape from their wives. lol joke. But seriously. I love being a guy and doing guys stuff. Kicking back and BBQing and hanging out with other guys on the weekends farting and belching and talking about sports while watching sports is great. After a long, hard day at work, you want to kick back and watch sports.

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  • August 25, 2017 at 3:16 am
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    I enjoy sports sometimes, I don't get the obsession tho.

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  • September 13, 2017 at 5:18 pm
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    So many special snowflakes in the comments section 😂

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  • September 27, 2017 at 12:28 pm
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    Although Sport can be healthy, some are obsessed with it, i made something about sports obsession, if anyone wants to see it then simply just type in the following title…….Peoples obsession with football./sports teams

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  • October 8, 2017 at 8:57 pm
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    Played sports and loved it. Watched other people live and loved it. I just do not get watching strangers I know nothing about, and who know and care nothing about me.

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  • November 13, 2017 at 2:14 am
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    I hate soccer or "futbol" with a burning passion. Everyone that has an obsession with it needs to hand their life over to someone who can make better use of it, if they ever had one.

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  • November 20, 2017 at 10:50 pm
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    Pro tip: Never say that sports are good on youtube because a bunch of angry nerds will say "I DON'T CARE ABOUT SPORTS WAH WAH WAH"

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  • February 5, 2018 at 8:07 am
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    Sports is awesome and if you don't like sports then something is wrong with you

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  • February 7, 2018 at 1:01 am
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    so I'm a serial killer if I can't empathize with a ball ?

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  • February 9, 2018 at 10:49 am
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    I hate sports they suck

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  • February 18, 2018 at 1:32 am
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    When I think of grown men keeping up with Sports as a hobby, stats, ESPN etc. I think of this Scripture: "11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

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  • February 22, 2018 at 6:16 pm
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    Cause sports are awesome

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  • February 22, 2018 at 6:48 pm
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    I dont like sports

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  • February 22, 2018 at 9:26 pm
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    I don't generally care for sports cause my parents don't care for sports and my mom's family as a whole. I only really get into a sport if a friend or my class and I are taking part in a sport/competition. My high school had a once a year week long games event where the classes played ball sports, board games, and tug of war, etc. and the class that won overall got bragging rights. I was very much a sports fan then. But to cheer for athletes to win on TV – meh. I need to know the people – real or fictional – to care if they win or not. It's not like it's life or death. I find sports fans really dramatic. But then if I'm playing a sport, I can be really upset by losses. I don't like playing and losing, so I don't often like to play – even card games.

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  • February 23, 2018 at 1:48 am
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    And why is it socially acceptable to obsess over sports while doing the same for a book movie or tv show is considered nerdy? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.

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  • February 23, 2018 at 2:50 pm
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    Go for indoor games chess

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  • February 24, 2018 at 3:04 pm
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    God Messi!

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  • February 25, 2018 at 5:23 pm
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    #sciencesays At night why do people just become tired without even knowing what time it is?

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  • February 26, 2018 at 3:28 pm
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    It's just mode effect.

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  • February 27, 2018 at 3:21 pm
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    luke dies.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2018 at 7:26 pm
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    So being an arsenal fan is harmful for the brain?

    #Wengerout ! For our own health!

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  • March 2, 2018 at 10:14 am
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    To me watching Sports is exactly the same as playing video games. Both are just there so that you can, for a while, relieve your anger and forget what a miserable life you have.

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  • March 10, 2018 at 12:47 pm
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    ‘Cause sports is good

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  • March 12, 2018 at 11:59 pm
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    #sciencesays do a Goints video

    Reply
  • April 8, 2018 at 7:42 am
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    "so the men who voted for Obama got higher testosterone after he won"

    sooooooooo about 50 ng/dL to about 70 ng/dL?

    Reply
  • April 28, 2018 at 2:31 pm
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    i am a very sporty girl i even want to become successful at sports but my father want me to be successful at education just because i am the 1st ranker and when i am a 8th grader i pass the 3th grader i am so sad

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  • April 29, 2018 at 1:33 pm
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    I HATE football

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  • May 1, 2018 at 2:32 am
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    I guess at this point Browns fans basically have the testosterone of a sexual reassignment patient

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  • May 2, 2018 at 11:16 pm
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    https://www.quora.com/Why-are-so-many-intellectuals-disparaging-of-sports-Since-most-sports-include-a-high-degree-of-strategy-preparation-practice-and-dedication-why-is-this

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  • May 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm
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    But I don't understand how people can start watching sports. Like you need to find a team you support first and it's very confusing

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  • May 27, 2018 at 9:53 pm
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    #ScienceSays y my PeePee hard?

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  • June 4, 2018 at 8:41 pm
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    If you wanna do drugs but you are scared watch some sports

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  • June 18, 2018 at 9:17 am
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    I just hate sports

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  • June 25, 2018 at 5:36 am
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    So if women watch football matches excessively, they will grow beard and testicles?

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  • July 13, 2018 at 8:21 am
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    People aren't actually obsessed with watching the particular sport. It's all the factors surrounding it i.e. Indulgence of Beer alcohol etc. Also the rush u get from betting. Your gonna cheer when the team u have betted on to win actually is doing good. This video is non sense lol because it's funny how people who watch sports on average are the most unhealthiest rather than undertaking in positive eating habits. Just my opinion on it.

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  • July 16, 2018 at 11:35 am
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    I don't watch sports.
    Meh! I can't watch it.

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  • August 16, 2018 at 1:51 pm
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    I love sports

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  • August 24, 2018 at 6:13 pm
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    I guess the best way i can understand why people watch NFL or NBA is why i watch WWE…its fake but its entertaining and leaves me wanting to see what happends next. I wonder if sports like basketball and football will affect me the same way 🤔

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  • September 10, 2018 at 4:42 am
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    I would rather watch a badass movie than watching sports just saying this just my opinion

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  • September 12, 2018 at 12:46 am
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    so weird how people watch some dudes chase after a ball

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  • October 23, 2018 at 1:48 am
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    Like I love sports but because of my schedule I’m from London and Dallas so I’m an arsenal fan and I only watch the cowboys and mavs only cowboys games regularly because it’s on Sunday I also played basketball in college. However I don’t understand people who are uninformed about the world and just know about sports educate yourself diversify don’t be an idiot have other interests ie( how can I better the world) In addition based on economic output high paid athletes aren’t overpaid for what they bring in but that’s a debate for another day.

    Reply
  • November 1, 2018 at 11:34 pm
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    I dont understand how u can play sports so much its repetitive and boring, only good for a 1 time use….

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  • November 15, 2018 at 1:12 am
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    I really don't see a point for people playing sports for you.

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  • November 19, 2018 at 5:29 am
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    Yeahhhh I don’t like sports but I’m not no damn serial killer but thank you,

    P.S. I looked everywhere; but why can’t I get to like sports someone answer this please.

    Reply
  • December 22, 2018 at 10:10 pm
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    I hate it, it’s so boring

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  • January 27, 2019 at 7:32 pm
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    You know why men like football (soccer) the most of all? Because when a man has a family, he gets 90 minutes of rest in front of tv.

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  • February 3, 2019 at 6:49 pm
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    This coming Z Generation will be the one to convert from analog sports to digital ones because our mirror neurons are being programmed to stimulate pressing buttons rather than throwing a ball. I’m all for it. Esports require just as much coordination, patience, skill, and stamina as any other sport.
    I main Lux (the notorious long-ranged burst hero) on League of Legends and can tell you the game is just as competitive and rewarding!

    Reply
  • February 4, 2019 at 1:35 am
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    Lol people are programmed so hard

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  • February 6, 2019 at 10:29 am
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    I didn't like sports as a kid because by its nature it promotes division not only of teams, but any division. Immediately it creates a division between those who like and those who don't. I was made fun of merely because I didn't even get the whole notion of "liking sports". Division. I don't like tribalism. It is, to me, regressive, and therefore stands in the way of evolutionary progress. Sports lust creates an inability to cooperate. Cooperation is negative to tribalists. Tribalists insist tribalism is our natural instinct. I say it is not for everyone. Cooperation and thus progression is instinctive in many people. I think tribalists and their "natural instincts" are standing in the way of progress in the world. That is a shame. We would be so far ahead in evolution of our brains and of technology if it weren't for this obsession with tribalism. If it is a primitive instinct, I say evolve beyond primitivity. Tribalists beg to differ. To them competition is the only way to improve things. But as far as I can see historically it is cooperation that got us ahead of everything, despite wars, arguments, pushing the other back, and other unfortunate events.Tribalism, they say, advances us economically. I beg to differ. It creates an unnecessary imbalance of wealth that wastes resources and time. We can advance without everyone banging each other over the head and creating poverty we have to waste time trying to deal with. Tribalism is the most dangerous thing to progress.

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  • February 16, 2019 at 5:47 am
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    so much not sports fan but hurt after the video, relax a little bit, we love sports bc it is entertainment, just as you may like music, movies, etc

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  • March 1, 2019 at 5:42 am
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    I don’t know what was more entertaining. Watching the video, or reading comments from triggered video game/anime outcasts 😂

    Reply
  • March 27, 2019 at 12:43 am
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    I am not a huge fan of sports and don’t watch them on tv, But I do go horseback riding every Friday (when it is possible). But I am unable to ride for a bit due to my heart rate being out of control and a few other factors that made me need to get a port. And I did go on and probably will get back in to the occasional bike ride. I just don’t find watching sports entertaining. The only reason I am able to be ok with the super bowl is because we got some pretty cool memes like left shark.

    Reply
  • April 6, 2019 at 6:37 pm
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    I can't relate.

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  • April 10, 2019 at 11:02 pm
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    So, that's why all those impulsive primates obsess over dudes kicking a ball.

    Reply
  • May 18, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    I'm obsessed with sports but I just don't see sitting on the couch and watching someone else play. i get bored easily

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  • June 6, 2019 at 3:08 am
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    I am a sereal killer according to this guy

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  • June 11, 2019 at 2:41 am
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    I don't get why people like watching sports for long periods of time

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  • June 24, 2019 at 1:15 am
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    If your team is having a good season you will become more manly.

    Reply
  • August 4, 2019 at 2:17 pm
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    Watching sports while drinking a cold bottle of beer is better than summer vacation….. Ahhhhhhhhh

    Reply
  • August 21, 2019 at 12:10 am
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    This video and the one about abortion SUCK and are very anti science. I was expecting some facts and statistics, also disliking sports would generally mean higher iq, because its an "unnatural" reaction. Bye

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  • August 25, 2019 at 6:56 am
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    we are programmed to seek enjoyment so we don't think about what life is all about

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  • August 25, 2019 at 8:33 am
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    I wish there were more men not obsessed with sports

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  • September 13, 2019 at 9:17 pm
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    stupid

    Reply

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