Finally Science Says Something We Want to Hear: That Going to Live Sporting Events is Good for You
Has there been a more insipid, overused phrase heard over the last three or so years than "Follow the Science"? It's a platitude. Just so hollow and devoid of meaning. Like "the Science" is just some reference book you can grab off the shelf and find out what it has to say about everything, and not an ever-changing, constantly evolving process of discovery. For example, does anyone still remember The Food Pyramid, which they used to actually teach us in school? Where science, backed by the government itself, said that on a daily basis you were supposed to have like eight servings of bread and grains. But eggs and other proteins were limited to the top of the pyramid because they're poison or something. Somehow they managed to flip that pyramid upside down without anyone seeming to notice.
Not to go full Mac here, BUT he does make some points about always believing the "experts":
(Just as a quick aside: Mac's idea that science and the Catholic church are opposed is pure nonsense. One of the founders of the Scientific Method was German friar Albertus Magnus. Belgian priest Georges Lemaitre created the Big Bang Theory. Friar Gregor Mendel is called The Father of Modern Genetics. And despite what you hear, Galileo wasn't threatened for claiming the sun is at the center of the solar system. That belief was fairly common in his day. The Pope questioned some of his measurements of planetary orbits (correctly, it turned out), and Galileo mocked him for it in a dialogue he later wrote, which was not allowed. So for his "punishment," he was put under house arrest and given an assistant to help him keep his studies going. If the church is anti-science, they're doing a pisspoor job of it, since they built one of the best observatories in the world centuries ago and welcome scientists to use it. I'm just sayin'. Back to the blog …)
Personally, the "Science" would be easier to "Follow," if it wasn't constantly declaring that everything enjoyable is bad for us. Everything that gives me pleasure is rapidly killing me. The food I eat. The beer I drink. The cigars I smoke. The hours I spend becoming one on a spiritual level with my sofa and TV. And so it follows that everything we're supposed to be doing perfectly coincides with the things I hate.
That is, until now. Until those lab coated buzzkills have stopped shaking their heads at us disapprovingly just long enough to find a pleasurable behavior they condone.
Thanks the journal Frontiers in Public Health for this. I'm usually a big fan of their studies such as "Planned adaptation and implementation of the Community Guide recommendations for increasing physical activity in rural community settings: A qualitative study" and "Obesity prevalence, physical activity, and dietary practices among adults in Saudi Arabia: Introduction." But this one really hits home with news I've been waiting for:
Source - New scientific research has found that attending live sporting events improves levels of well-being and reduces feelings of loneliness.
Published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, the research is the first large-scale study to examine the benefits of attending any type of live sporting event.
The study, carried out by academics from Anglia Ruskin University’s School of Psychology and Sport Science, used data from 7,209 adults, aged 16-85, living in England who participated in the Taking Part Survey, which was commissioned by the British Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
It found that attending live sporting events results in higher scores of two major measurements of subjective well-being – life satisfaction and a sense of “life being worthwhile” – as well as lower levels of loneliness.
These results are significant as previous studies have shown that higher life satisfaction scores are associated with fewer life-limiting conditions and better physical health, successful aging, and lower mortality rates.
The new study also found that attending live sporting events leads to an increase in people’s sense that “life is worthwhile”, and the size of this increase is comparable to that of gaining employment.
Since the research on this was all done in the UK, we can forgive the academics a break for not mentioning none of this applies to New York Jets fans.
But still. This is important. Perhaps never before have the conclusions of a scientific study felt so obvious and yet so necessary. Because far too often fans at games are treated with contempt, and looked down on by the non-attending population as drunken buffoons and assholes. Even the ones who aren't from Philly.
Let's not forget that the first thing to get shut down for Covid was live sporting events. Granted, in the early days, the Science we're talking about here didn't have it figured out. But long after they did, and knew it couldn't be transmitted outdoors, we still had empty ballparks, golf courses and stadia. And when a few places did open back up, like SEC football, other parts on the country looked on in horror and judgment, like they were all creating super spreader events that would kill us by the millions. While what they were really doing was promoting public health. Reminding us all that "life is worthwhile." And spreading the level of happiness you see in someone unemployed find a job.
That kind of Science I'll Follow to the ends of Kyrie Irving's flat Earth.
For me, this couldn't come at a better time. Thursday I'm going to Red Sox Opening Day with Barstool legend Uncle Buck.
It's going to be in the upper 30s. With a windchill probably in the teens. The team probably isn't in for much of a season in yet another rebuilding year. And yet the one thing I can absolutely guarantee myself is that I'm going to have great time, just because I'm at a game. I can honestly say that I've never once been to a live sporting event in this city or any other, and not had a good time. Even through some nut-punching bad losses. (The end of the 2019 Patriots season comes quickly to mind.) Because at the very least, you're surrounded by like-minded people who enjoy the same things you enjoy, and want the same things you want. Even the drunken buffoons and assholes.
It's deep in the human race to want to sit around in a circle and watch people compete. We've been doing it around the world, in every culture, since the dawn of mankind. And now we know empirically that we do so because it's good for our well-being. And I can't wait until we get to do it in every MLB market starting in a few days. Only this time, the smartest among us say we should. Thanks, Science.