According to Mary Sandra Shemonsky, Ph.D., psychologist, of Valley Forge, the anticipation leading up to a sporting event, such as a playoff game, is a distraction, "which takes you away from your normal life."

"The one thing about sports, for both men and women, is that it is a common denominator," Shemonsky said. "It allows you to bond with a lot of people, in a professional and social atmosphere. It is a bonding effort for most people as well. A lot of men and women enjoy sports and quite a few have participated in sports. You can enjoy sports in so many different levels."

Shemonsky said when area sports teams are successful, people tend to relate to their success.

"People who are closely affiliated with their favorite teams - they get the highest of highs with them during a victory and experience the lowest of lows during a loss," she said. "When the team wins, you can bask in the glory of the moment. You feel really great, totally positive and as successful as the team."

In relating to defeat, Shemonsky said, "When the team loses, the more you've invested into your team, the more devastated you feel. It tends to make you feel really bad. It becomes a much greater letdown for people who are really into it. Unfortunately, the true die-hard fans have the biggest letdown. They look at the team as an outlet while they are still playing. Once they are finished playing, it is difficult to look for another outlet."

Psychologist Jeannette Samanen, Ph.D., of Valley Forge, said our culture is extremely into winning and losing.

"We are very competitive and stress the importance of winning," said Samanen. "It is because winning becomes so important, you end up rooting for your team very vociferously, very powerful. No one thought how much good would've come from the Eagles' first game - and then you look at how they performed the rest of the season."

Another factor Samanen brought up was that human beings inherently have a tribe or group mentality.

"There is nothing more like that than team sports, especially physical team sports," she said. "Humans tend to relate to groups like sports teams. We all like the excitement, the atmosphere, and it is extremely contagious."

Samanen admitted herself that she isn't particularly into spectator sports.

"It wasn't until two or three years ago that I figured out the area sports teams," she said. "Even I, who is out of the loop, knew how the Eagles did in their first game against the (Tampa Bay) Buccaneers. People who aren't into sports get drawn into it because it gets so heavily publicized. Even if you aren't interested, it becomes difficult not to notice. Sometimes sports has become more prevalent on the front pages of most papers, along with being on the sports pages."

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