Anyone who saw Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Sunday understands the term "Sports Anxiety."
It was Cleveland's Cavaliers vs. Oakland's Warriors, a close back-and-forth game that came down to the final minute. Then it happened... the Cavs who were down 3-1 made history, and Cleveland won its first major sports championship in over 50 years.
Now watching that game was torture. It was up in the air until the end. With the conditions of these playoffs, I've heard a lot of people talking about sports anxiety recently. One of the players after the game even talked about how it almost gave him an "anxiety attack." Fans feel it too. Some people hate it so much they don't even like to watch the game.
But as someone with an anxiety disorder, I feel the opposite. I love sports anxiety. Here's why:
1. Sports anxiety invests me in the game. By the end of Game 7, I was literally shaking. When you don't care, sports are really boring. Caring and freaking out with the ups and downs, on the other hand, really makes you feel alive!
2. Unlike with a lot of general anxiety, sports anxiety has an obvious end point. You either win or lose, and it's over. Clear-cut. Beautiful.
3. There's always another chance. "There's always next year" was the Cleveland motto for my entire life. If we lost, as we did every single time up until this point, it was okay because there would be opportunities in the future.
Honestly, it's hard for me to remember a single moment in the past twenty-some years of my life where I wasn't feeling some sort of anxiety. Anxiety sucks and I wish it would go away 99% of the time. But, feeling it because of love for a sports team? Because of love for the place I was born and raised? That anxiety can feel pretty damn good.
And this time, we triumphed. Cleveland - We are the champions.