If you’re anything like me, you are constantly being bombarded from the media or even friends and family talking about so called, “epidemics,” in America today. You probably hear things like, “the obesity epidemic is at a record high,” or, “the opioid epidemic has killed more Americans than the enitre Vietnam War.” Sure, those things may sound bad but I’m here to assure you, everyone is missing the most important epidemic in America and it has been silently happening for decades; the Stockholm Sports Syndrome.

What is the Stockholm Syndrome?

Assuming you have higher than an 8th grade education, you are probably already aware of what the Stockholm syndrome is but because I need to increase the word count for this article; let me use the long-winded words of professionals to explain it anyway.

Stockholm syndrome refers to a group of psychological symptoms that occur in some persons in a captive or hostage situation. It has received considerable media publicity in recent years because it has been used to explain the behavior of such well-known kidnapping victims as Patty Hearst (1974) and Elizabeth Smart (2002)… Stockholm syndrome is considered a complex reaction to a frightening situation, and experts do not agree completely on all of its characteristic features or on the factors that make some people more susceptible than others to developing it. – Medical Dictionary


Stockholm Sports Syndrome

The Stockholm Sports Syndrome is essentially just a form of traditional Stockholm syndrome. When a person who is being held captive against their will starts to unnaturally relate or sympathize with their captors, they are diagnosed with Stockholm syndrome. The same unnatural symptoms start to occur on sports fans almost every week in America and sadly, it goes completely unnoticed.

Unfortunately, I can give a personal testimony as to just how powerful and quickly this horrible disease can take hold of a sport fan’s mind. Just two weeks ago, the Houston Cougars took on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock, Sep. 15. After dominating their first two opponents, the Cougars were eager to take down the in-state opponent who had beaten them in Houston the year before. In an unexpected turn of events however, Tech beat Houston 63-49. As a fan, I was angry, embarrassed and just disappointed; completely normal emotions after a tough loss in sports. Without even noticing however, I began subconsciously rooting for Texas Tech and was even excited when they beat Oklahoma State the very next week.

I should hate the team that ruined the hopes I had of a perfect season for my team. The wretchedness, anger and complete helplessness you feel after a trauma like that sounds very similar to someone being held captive. Just like a person diagnosed with Stockholm syndrome who begins sympathizing with their captors, sports fans unnaturally support the ones who caused them pain and suffering. It’s a disease.

Now, I am not saying I would choose to be held against my will at the threat of death rather than my favorite college football team losing a game, necessarily; but I do feel the severity of Stockholm Sports Syndrome is drastically unappreciated. Consider this; roughly 60% of all Americans consider themselves a sports fan. Since half of all sports teams are bound to lose every week, there are an estimated 194.4 million individuals suffering from Stockholm Sports Syndrome, right now. Those numbers are only comparable to the Bubonic Plague.


It’s Time to Fight Back

Unfortunately, there is no official cure for this disease yet. The professionally recommended treatment for Stockholm Sports Syndrome would be similar to Stockholm syndrome, lots of therapy. Tough sports guys like us however aren’t about to pay some guy with a fancy degree on his wall to talk about emotions like it’s the friggin’ Oprah Winfrey Show. Instead, I recommend leaning into the anger. Fight the urge to cheer on the team that just kicked your ass because they aren’t doing the same for you.

I know the thought you’re going to have because I have had it so many times myself. “I want them to win all their remaining games now so it makes us look better.” That little voice of reason in your head is like the little Satan sitting on your shoulder and he shouldn’t be listened to. Remember that pain and anger those bastards caused you and let it build into passion to see them suffer, just like you did. Let’s all start acting like real American sports fans damn it and together we can once-and-for-all end this Stockholm Sports Syndrome; America’s most important epidemic.

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