For the Love of the Game

In a new series, The Walrus explores the ecstasy, the agony, and the complex motivations behind why we cheer

A photo collage of sports fans cheering. The words "for the love of the game" are over the image.

Fans watch games religiously. They buy overpriced tickets and cram into arenas to support perpetual losers. They’re willing to suffer through decades of disappointment because those rare moments of triumph—the perfect shot, the impossible save, the long-awaited championship victory—make it all worthwhile. In a new series on sports fandom, updated each week leading to the 2021 Summer Olympics, The Walrus explores the ecstasy, the agony, and the complex motivations behind why we cheer.

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Rookie cards are selling for millions and NFTs are thriving. The question isn’t just how big the bubble will it grow but what will happen once it pops

Why Olympians Are Struggling to Get Sponsorships


By Alex Cyr

You can be the fastest in the world, but when you’re competing against influencers for corporate cash, athletic performance isn’t all that matters

Artist Esmaa Mohamoud Examines How Pro Sports Profit from Black Athletes


By Connor Garel

Sports bring people together in living rooms, in crowded bars, and in the streets. Mohamoud seeks to expose the monstrous underbelly of all that winning

The Team, the Fan, and the Severed Toes


By David Swick

What’s a person to do when their team loses year after year? For one diehard fan, it meant chopping digits

When Sports Fans Change the Game


By Shireen Ahmed

Equal pay across genders, renaming racist teams—owners are finally listening and boardrooms will never be the same

The Paradox of Being a Leafs Fan


By Waubgeshig Rice

Generations of Indigenous fans have followed the Toronto Maple Leafs through close calls and decades of despair. Ultimately, it’s the hope that connects us

More on Sports and Fandom


Credits

Series Editor: Harley Rustad
Editor: Daniel Viola
Art Direction: Natalie Vineberg
Producers: Angela Misri, Sheena Rossiter
Head of Research: Erin Sylvester
Copy Editor: Jonah Brunet
Fact Checkers: Sophie Weiler, Emily Baron Cadloff, Tina Knezevic

The Walrus Staff

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