Like a family member or loved one, our favourite athletes and teams reach into our hearts and souls and pull on certain strings that compel us to be biased. We can’t help it. There’s nothing we can do. Our athletes and teams are just and virtuous, and exempt from derision, while the opposition is the antithesis: deceitful, unsportsmanlike, unworthy of praise or achievement. The subjective nature of sport creates an environment where the same action or behaviour can yield very different responses depending on which side of the fence you sit.
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No one loves cricket more than Indians. The same could be said of New Zealanders and rugby. Ditto for Canadians and ice hockey. Certain nations have forged a part of their identity around a particular sport that it's impossible to mention one without the other. But how would a new sport wriggle its way into the psyche of a population and forge its own identity in a community besotted with a particular pastime? CONQA Sport explores this conundrum by finding out whether this is done through success in competition, the formation of a community, social upliftment, youth development, or an amalgamation of different variables.
The Pygmalion effect, or the Rosenthal effect, is a psychological phenomenon whereby the expectation placed on individuals and groups dictates the way they perform. Tell an athlete or team that they have a particular attribute for an extended period of time and they will soon adopt that attribute. Team identity is an abstract concept and yet some teams just exude a certain personality. The way they play, the fans that support them, the players they recruit; every facet of their being embodies an ethos. We explore the identities of two of the greatest sports teams on the planet; Real Madrid CF and the New York Yankees and find out whether team identity can be translated into success.