Why is it so difficult for sport fans to divorce the club they support?
As human beings, we can change partners, jobs and religions, so why do we have to stay loyal to sporting clubs we started supporting as children? And why is it so difficult for sport fans to divorce the club they support?
To unpack this phenomenon, Refiloe Mpakanyane is joined by resident clinical psychologist Khosi Jiyane.
Khosi, say you support a sporting team which used to be the best at one point, say its Kaizer Chiefs'. Why one would a person find it difficult to divorce Chiefs for a better performing team such as Swallows FC? Why do we have so much loyalty to sporting clubs?
The question ultimately is what inspires this much loyalty to clubs or the lack thereof. How did I come to be a fan of a certain club which I won't mention at the moment because is a sore point? Part of it was looking at it from a social learning, social scripting or indoctrination for that matter because, of course, as children, we know nothing about these things.Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist
Somehow we are introduced to this dimension of love. There is someone who introduces this to us and it's done sometimes deliberately. We are told in this we are this and this supporters. It becomes deliberate os subtle. Kids sitting with adults and they are talking about the game, watching or listening and you hear these conversations and you hear where things are leaning.Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist
There is also very conscious social modelling around it. You see the behaviours such as excitement and disappointment. The narrative that comes to mind is there is a house in Orlando, for example, at a corner, and it a very clearly big Orlando Pirates home. I imagine what conversations go on in that house. Is there a thought that a child may not want to be a Pirates supporter? And you see these grown-up men and I see them on TV and wonder whos dad is that, wearing all these paraphernalia, going on and on and I think 'Okay'.Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist
There is something mundane about being a fan, there is also something deep about it.Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist
Listen below for the full interview ...