How a Huge Sporting Event Can Help Our Mental Health

Every year, around mid-March, a significant portion of the country will gather in front of their televisions to watch hundreds of collegiate athletes compete for the national basketball championship. March Madness is one of the biggest sporting events of the year, rivaling even the Super Bowl. It is a massive tournament, and millions of people will tune in to watch it and cheer on their favorite teams. Sports, as a whole, can draw a lot of criticism, and rightfully so, for the behaviors and actions they can encourage. These behaviors are a symptom of more significant issues that permeate our country and our world. There is a certain shallowness that is present when you boil down sports to their base form. After all, it’s about getting emotionally invested in people we don’t know as they throw a ball around on television. In the case of college athletes, these people are far younger than us. It is absurd when you look at it like that. So, when an event like March Madness comes around, it is easy to brush it off as another example of American consumerism and celebrity-obsession. Millions of dollars will be spent on food, traveling, cable, and game tickets, and for what? It doesn’t seem like there is a valid reason to pour so many resources into a silly sporting event. 

 Sports as the Great Unifier

The thing about March Madness, and sports as a whole, is that it builds a sense of camaraderie. Teams and games can help develop a sense of community. When you go to a game, you are surrounded by fans of the same team, and that can build bridges. Sure, we can look at that and say that they are bridges built upon something meaningless. What if we had that sense of community surrounding something like a protest for climate change? Couldn’t we unite around helping a school system get more money for facilities and supplies? Aren’t those things more important than sports? Yes, we would agree that they are, and we are sports fans. Education and political progress are more important than our favorite team winning it all. Still, our world is full of crumbling bridges. There is a tremendous sense of disconnect and mistrust permeating our society. As such, we shouldn’t minimize a connection, no matter what it is based upon. Walls are so prevalent in our lives that it isn’t a bad thing to find a simple way to break those down. We spend so much time seeing people as different than us, and that is a massive part of why we are so disconnected from each other. Sports can allow us to see how we are the same. We are all humans, and we all experience the same things regardless of beliefs and ideas, and that’s great. 

Building a Community

If we keep building our sense of community, we can eliminate the loneliness of mental illness. For a lot of us, mental health is part of why we struggle to connect and be social with other people. If we allow ourselves to indulge in these sporting events, it can help us break out of that shell and feel connected to other people. Sports can help us forge friendships and relationships. Games can help us find people to connect with in a meaningful way, and that is amazing. This sense of connection helps our happiness and joy grow, it reduces anxiety and depression, and we can become better people because of it. As with all things, a certain level of balance and self-awareness is needed. We can’t justify yelling and losing our cool at strangers by saying it’s for the sake of the community, after all. Bridges are still bridges, and no matter their size or substance, they can help lead us to bigger and better things. 

Whether we like it or not, March Madness is here, and it is going to be a big event. No matter our judgments, people will gather and cheer hard. We can sit here and choose to disassociate from it, or we can let ourselves dive in and find those connections. If it’s not your thing, that’s okay; we just don’t want to see anyone lose out on a beautiful thing because they think it won’t matter. Any and all connection matters, and you deserve to find it. The Madness is here, and there are a million other people looking to appreciate you for who you are. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]