Why have sports become so violent?Some writers maintain that organized athletics, especially body contact sports, ritualize violent behavior in both players and spectators. According to this notion, people work off their impulses by taking part in or watching violence.
Nowadays, not only basketball, hockey, soccer, and football players play rougher than ever, but that the fans who watch them are often excited into a frenzy of violence themselves. Psychologists think that the competition to win at any price in a business that has grown to enormous proportions has lessened the ideal of sportsmanship.
An author relates spectator violence to a breakdown of community ties. The fan thinks of himself as part of the team. This intensifies his emotional reaction to what goes on in the game. At the same time, this feeling is not reciprocated by the players, who look upon their fans as an anonymous crowd. The fans' love for their heroes is denied, their desire to identify is frustrated. All that is left to cling to is victory--if not victory for the home team, then some small personal victory over the faceless tormentor masquerading as the fellow in the next row.