March Madness Can Bring On Unhealthy Stress

Apr 6, 2015


March Madness may come to an end with the crowning of NC AA champions in men's and women's basketball, but the stress along the way can be significant for coaches, players, and even fans.  Georgetown College Associate Professor of Sociology Eric Carter says, usually, that stress is not lasting.  He cites the case of his wife, who, like University of Kentucky fans, felt the sting of a loss to Wisconsin.  "She's a die hard Arizona basketball fan," said Carter.  "I mean she was completely destroyed after Wisconsin beat them.  I mean, so much so, that she couldn't even function that night.  But, the next morning, all was well." 

Carter says depending upon the individual fan, there can be physical, emotional, and psychological effects, to varying degrees, from wins and losses.  Carter believes some losses can result in depression for more obsessed fans.  He says that is especially the case in places like Kentucky where college basketball reigns supreme.  "I think there's got to be a balance because certainly sports is sports, but there are other things that are essentially more important, in my opinion," he said.  "But, here, it's so embedded." 

But Carter also says the deep connection to a sports team can be a healthy one, when taken in the right perspective.   "Sports have the power to create a space for people who may not have other forms of social capital or other forms of community," explained Carter.