Why I Cry At Sporting Events

Before you read any further, let me just say this post has nothing to do with the Super Bowl.

Last week my daughter and I attended a college gymnastics competition. We, through a great deal, got season tickets to watch “our” college team compete any time they are in town. So most Friday nights my daughter and I drive downtown, sit with friends, and watch these amazing college age girls tumble, balance, and awe us.

This time we arrived right on time but I had to take Jennika to the bathroom before we got to our seats….okay, actually I had to go to the bathroom and just used her as my excuse.:-)  After the bathroom we stepped into the arena just as the lights went down. They won’t let you go to your seats when it’s dark so Jennika and I stood in the back as both teams were introduced and then we all rose and we sang the national anthem.

Now, call me crazy, but for some reason 12,000 people singing together makes me cry. I was choking down sobs as I held my daughter and sang “…O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

It has nothing really to do with the national anthem, we could be singing Amazing Grace together and I would still be in tears. I cry too when a basketball team makes an amazing, last second point and wins the game. Its not so much the players who make me cry, it’s all the people around me, cheering, laughing, hugging, filled with joy.

It’s not limited to sports either. I’ve found myself emotional at the end of a play as the audience applauded the cast. The look of joy, relief, and completion on the actors’ faces paired with the cheers from the audience is just too much for me.

And finally, the same thing happens to me every time I watch this stupid video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it but I hate watching it when others are around because I feel so silly crying  over people dancing and singing!

Why does this happen to me? Can anybody else relate to this weird outpouring of emotion at such times? I have to admit it is embarrassing for me because it is hard for me to explain to my husband, daughter, or friends why I have tears running down my face.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot the last few weeks, probably because I am crying nearly every week at the gymnastic meet. Here’s my theory on why I cry:

There is power in numbers. This really isn’t so much a theory as a proven fact. There are times when people in a group, charged by emotion, can do so much more than individuals. The emotion is strong.  Sometimes it can be great, powerful and wonderful (example: the protests in Egypt)  and sometimes it can be horrible (example: stampedes on Black Friday).

Emotion is contagious. I think this one goes hand and hand with the above idea. Ideas catch on fast in groups, again sometimes leading to good things but also, often leading to very bad things.

And the primary reason….

We were made for this. As a Christ-follower I believe that we are all made to worship, together. When I am with a group of people, or even just watching a group of people, experience joy together I think I am getting a tiny taste of what I was made for. Now of course our “praise” in these setting is misplaced, but just feeling corporate joy gives me an idea of what Heaven may be like.

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4 responses to “Why I Cry At Sporting Events

  1. Me too. In movies, as well. That scene at the end of “Apollo 13” gets me every time. (It’s really embarassing when I don’t even LIKE the movie.)

    And I think your conclusion is exactly right.

  2. I cry at things like that all the time. At kids basketball games when I see people cheering for someone – big events, small events….I loose it! I totally agree with your take…especially the “we were made for this!”

    Love you!

    D-

  3. Yep your not alone Nikki…track meets do it me. For me it is watching people pour themselves out in something they are passionate about. Watching them push themselves and definitely worse when there is a big crown. 🙂

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