Studies suggest that people who identify as sports fans have higher self-esteem levels, lower levels of loneliness, and tend to be more satisfied with their lives than those not interested in sports. Fans also tend to have more access to social support, help, and resources. Beyond bonding, fans enjoy the psychological benefits of winning, even if they have nothing to do with the players or games.
However, all these things mean nothing if you don't invest in a team and do it with passion. Anyone who has ever been a sports fan knows that their heart rate rises on game day. In times of adversity, you sit there and alternately shout out of joy, alternately cry in anguish. Rooting for a team gives you a sense of community, but you also learn to see the beauty of the game itself.
My personal story about sports fandom goes back to my childhood. I often went with my father to watch the local ice hockey team. Dad was one of the most prominent fans of the local team. One game soon followed by another, and the enthusiasm that surrounded me rubbed off on me as well.
Hockey games were, of course, also enjoyed in the family's TV room. The discussions could be loud in school the day after game day. Teams went up and down, but we all continued to support our teams no matter what. A local supporter association contributed to a certain feeling of belonging.
I've changed teams a few times since then, but the teams I cheered for in my childhood still hold a special place in my heart. Besides hockey, I also enjoy watching tennis, soccer, handball, floorball, and athletics.
The Swedish Ice Hockey Association governs the Sweden men's national ice hockey team (Swedish: Sveriges herrlandslag i ishockey). It is considered a member of the "Big Six," the unofficial group of the six strongest men's ice hockey nations, along with Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, and the United States.
The team's nickname Tre kronor, meaning "Three Crowns," refers to the emblem on the team jersey, which is found in the lesser national coat of arms of the Kingdom of Sweden. The first time this emblem was used on the national team's jersey was on 12 February 1938, during the World Championships in Prague.
The team has won numerous medals at both the World Championships and the Winter Olympics. In 2006, they became the first, and so far only, team to win both tournaments in the same calendar year, by winning the 2006 Winter Olympics in a thrilling final against Finland by 3–2, and the 2006 World Championships by beating the Czech Republic in the final, 4–0. In 2013 the team was the first team to win the World Championships at home since the Soviet Union in 1986. In 2018, the Swedish team won its 11th title at the World Championships.