I have always wondered why governments spend fortunes on international sport events and why sport-funs can experience such euphoria about their favorite teams. The answer goes beyond my expectations as sport serve as an effective tool for promoting peace. Furthermore, it shares the positive psychological and social effects of warfare without any devastation.
Sport games incorporate universal core values, such as justice and fair play, which helps the moral development of humanity. On the level of communities, it provides a platform for social interaction and it can fight juvenile delinquency. In Latin-America, for example, the encouragement of football in areas of high crime has led to a remarkable decline in gang activity.
We should come to terms with the fact that warfare has some positive psychological effects on humans. Discipline, courage, and self-sacrifice can manifest themselves, while an intense feeling of community can be formed. These psychological needs are actually satisfied by sport competitions.
The excitement, provided by warfare in the past, can be gained from sport competitions by supporting one’s country or teams. Fans form a loyal attachment to their clubs, which becomes the part of their identity itself. It is said that „the sense of belonging and alliance to your army comrades or the sense of togetherness of being a nation at war can now be gained through supporting your baseball club.” It brings about a simulated „life and death” situation. It is a feeling of complete and intense commitment, which prompts strong affectionate reactions. At the end of the competitions, the spectator often reaches a mood of euphoria or misery.
This strong alliance among supporters build bridges over political and geographic barriers, which reduces excessive nationalism. It brings together citizens of different nationalities regardless of religion, ethnical clashes or economic balance of power.