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Psychology behind sports rivalries

Psychology expert Blanca Cobb advises on how to be a good sport when it comes to sports rivalries.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — With the NFL playoffs, fans will be supporting their favorite teams. Tensions will be high leading up to game days and when talking to opposing team fans.

Competition is just as intense off the field as it is on and smack-talking can lead to heated exchanges.

Fans feel an allegiance to their teams because there's a sense of identity, unity, and belonging to their teams, just like you feel with your family. 

Usually, someone disagrees with a referee's call or a play. There's a difference of opinion about who's at fault. You tend to view their opinion or perception as an insult. When someone insults your team, it's as if someone is insulting your family; you get defensive. You take it personally.

If you're going to watch a game with fans of the opposing team, you have to understand that they're going to be fiercely loyal to their team as you are to yours. This means that you should expect some smack-talking. The more you can ignore it and realize that it's part of the allegiance, not personal to you, the less you'll get defensive. It's a mindset thing.

Share your thoughts on my Facebook page: Blanca Cobb – Body Language Expert. Write a message on my timeline, and I'll get back to you. While you're on my page, I'd appreciate it if you give my page a "like."


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