I’m going to take a very big risk here and admit something that could potentially endanger the status of my Canadian citizenship….
I am going to come clean and just say it. I’m really not much of a hockey fan.
But in spite of that, I am looking forward to the NHL playoffs. In fact, I look forward to them every year. But this spring, Manitoba has been completely overcome with excitement that the Winnipeg Jets made it to the playoffs. Everywhere you go, people are wearing their jerseys and talking about how exciting the next few weeks are going to be.
Why is it that I care so much about a game that I was a miserable failure at playing myself, and that I don’t have much interest in the rest of the season? When you analyze behaviour by considering our basic needs, it’s easy to see why.
First off, it’s important that you have a team to cheer for. The sense of belonging that comes from being part of the fan base is huge. You are part of something big, and all you have to do to fit in is don your fan gear and cheer like crazy. Listen to how people talk about their team. People don’t say “They won”. They say “We won!” When things aren’t going so well, they say “This is what we need to do.” It’s like somehow we each personally play a role in the success of the team.
And as great as it is to feel that comradery, it’s also loads of fun to have someone around who is cheering for a different team. The trash talk and joking around is loads of fun. The internet is filled with parody songs and hilarious cartoons. I know I don’t enjoy the game nearly as much as when my friend who cheers for a different team comes over to watch.
That competitive part of the game provides a huge sense of power. We love being able to win! We will scream and yell and party in the streets when our team is successful.
There’s a huge freedom that I feel at this time of year. All the stresses and worries of regular life take a back seat for a few hours every couple of nights so that we can get together with friends and escape into this world of hockey. There’s no talk of what happened at work that day, or of the difficulties of being a parent. It’s all about which goalie is going to get the start, or whether the refereeing is fair.
And as if getting belonging, fun, power and freedom are not enough – there’s always food!!
Anytime you can meet all your needs by engaging in an activity, it’s only natural that you will love that activity. Whether you are trying to get chores done around the house, find a way to increase participation in a volunteer organization, or design a captivating lesson plan for your classroom, if you ensure there is a way that each of the needs is attended to, you will find that the energy and engagement soar.
What ways have you found to do this?