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大学体验英语第四册Unit6-Passage A

Is It Healthy to Be a Football Supporter?
- Why Fans Know the Score
Die-hard football fans hit the heights when their team wins and reaches the depths of despair when they lose. Scientific studies show the love affair with a team may be as emotionally intense as the real thing, and that team clashes have gladiatorial power. 
What's going on? Why do fervent fans have hormonal surges and other psychological changes while watching games? Why does fans' self-esteem soar with victory and plummet in defeat, sometimes affecting their lives long afterwards? Why do people feel so drawn to form such deep ties to teams? Is avidly rooting for a team good or bad for your health? You may find the answers surprising.
 THE FAN'S PERSONALITY
Psychologists often portray die-hard fans as lonely misfits searching for self-esteem by identifying with a team,2 but a study suggests the opposite. It reveals that football fans suffer fewer bouts of depression and alienation than people who never watch Match Of The Day. Hard-core fans also demonstrate a fierce and unbreakable bond. It's possible to trace the roots of fan psychology to a primitive time when warriors fighting to protect their tribes were the true representatives of their race. In modern times, so the theory goes, professional sportsmen are warriors of a city or country fighting a stylized war waged on a football pitch.

 IT'S WAR OUT THERE
Some confrontations on the pitch are gladiatorial. In this respect, our sports heroes are our gladiators. A football match, especially between rival teams, isn't some light-hearted display of athletic prowess. The self is emotionally involved in the outcome because whoever you're rooting for represents YOU. So professional footballers seem to recreate the intense emotions in some fans that tribal warfare aroused in their forebears. It could even be that these emotions have fueled the explosion in the popularity of sports over the past 20 years. 

 STATUS BY PROXY
So, through football matches, it becomes possible to gain respect from your rivals, albeit vicariously . This means you can be highly regarded not for your own achievement, but through your connection to a team that wins. Or, if you like, by your connection to individual footballers for their skill, such as midfielder David Beckham, winger Ryan Giggs, and striker Thierry Henry.  

 The connection, however, can be fickle. Bragging sports fans tend to claim credit for their team's success, saying "we won" to describe a victory, but distance themselves from a team's failure, saying "they lost" describing a defeat.  

 LOYAL TO THE END

A raft of studies has found that "highly-identified" fans - both men and women - are unlikely to abandon a team when it's doing badly. Anyone who's read Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby knows that this is true of the ardent Arsenal fan. Not only that, they tend to blame their team's failures on a biased referee or on bad luck, rather than on Arsenal's mistakes or the other team's skill. It's not surprising that these avid fans get more psychologically aroused at games and spend more money on tickets and merchandise. 

 IS TESTOSTERONE A FACTOR?
Testosterone levels in male fans rise markedly after a victory but drop just as sharply after a defeat. Apparently the same pattern has been documented in male animals who fight over a female. Biologists think that the human animal may have evolved this way to end conflicts quickly. If so, it provides an interesting biological explanation of football hooliganism after big matches. Science backs up this theory. Testosterone levels were measured in 21 Italian and Brazilian men in Atlanta before and after Brazil's victory over Italy in soccer's 1994 World Cup. The Brazilians' testosterone rose 28 per cent on average, while the Italians' levels dropped 27 per cent. 

 CAN BEING A FAN DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH?
Yes, it can. Indeed it can be fatal. The tension felt by football fans during penalty shoot-outs can trigger heart attacks and strokes in male spectators. On the day Holland lost to France in Euro 96, deaths there from heart attacks and strokes rose by 50 per cent. 

?GROUP IDENTITY
Being an ardent fan could be simply the desire to belong to a group or a society - a need once answered by religion and politics. This explains why some fans remain loyal through thick and thin, and despite the repeated failure of their teams. Surrounding yourself at a match with people who so clearly espouse your own enthusiasms, and identifying your tribal membership with hats, scarves , Mexican waves and songs, makes you feel you belong as little else does. What's more, you're part of a group where no questions are asked, explanations are unnecessary and where you can always rely on support. With so many traditional institutions like religion and family beginning to break down, the football crowd is the perfect family.
?A HEALTHIER OUTLOOK?
In most cases, a deep attachment to a team is healthy. Several studies show that an intense interest in a team can stave off depression and foster feelings of self-worth and belonging. That applies to all ardent sports fans. All human beings - including football fans - share the basic psychological need to belong. Without religion, without family, something has to answer that need. Today football, above all other sports, fills that crucial void
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