The psychology of sports is a subject that’s long been an interest of mine, and it’s only grown in recent years. Maybe that’s an age thing. Once you’ve seen enough games and have those “reps” to evaluate things as they’re happening, you start looking beyond just touchdowns, runs, goals and baskets.
Within this interest, I’ve become particularly fascinated by Minnesota sports fans. I essentially grew up one of them in North Dakota, rooting for the Vikings, Timberwolves and (eventually, in college) Twins. I don’t know for sure if it’s especially different *here* as opposed to other places, but I do think Minnesota sports fans can be counted on for reacting in specific ways to very specific things.
As such, I’m working on a list of the 10 most polarizing topics in Minnesota sports, with the hope that it will be both entertaining and enlightening — fun, but still serious. The intention is that the refined list and brief comments on each will appear in tomorrow’s print edition. But as I set out to do this, I also realized that the opinion of one person in this case might not be as good as the input of many.
My thoughts, so far, have centered on these subjects as polarizing topics that tend to drive up online comments, for better or worse (don’t read the comments, even though I have done so to better understand all of you):
Poor officiating (perceived or real)
The correct stage of development to let young players take over starting roles
Offensive coordinator play calling
New-school vs. old-school stats and philosophies
Anyone perceived to be overpaid
The merits of soccer in general
It’s fair to guess that some of these things are universal. For instance, fans pretty much everywhere, I imagine, complain about poor officiating. For issues like that, my contention is that such a thing is even more prevalent here than it is elsewhere. Basically there are four things Minnesota fans have a hard time with: 1) Someone who isn’t doing a good job, particularly relative to salary; 2) The idea that their team is getting unfairly treated; 3) Spending a lot of money; 4) Something new that challenges the status quo.
But again, this is just one person’s list right now. I’d love to hear some feedback in the comments about other suggestions for the list and/or subjects about which you think I’m just flat-out wrong.