Emotional Sports Fans

Millions across the country will be glued to their tv's tonight as a little something called the Stanley Cup Finals moves back to Vancouver for Game Five. And Vancouver fans are ready. So just how do fans affect the players? We get the score from former NHL'er Cliff Ronning and CFL player Paul McCallum.

Today's guest host was Erica Johnson.

Part One of The Current


It's Friday, June 10th.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says too many Canadians are without jobs.

Tell me about it, say members of the former opposition.

This is The Current.

Emotional Sports Fans - Cliff Ronning

We started this segment with some tape from a Canucks Blogger. And anxious hope has businesses closing early and people calling in sick to work. Many fans find their emotions rising and falling with the team's fortunes. We can even set up a feedback loop where the players and fans feed off one another's energy. That can be a good thing. And it can be a bad thing.

Cliff Ronning was a player on the 1994 Canucks hockey team that made it to the Stanley Cup final. He was in Vancouver.

Emotional Sports Fans - Paul McCallum

Cliff Ronning says he was lucky to have fans "leave him alone" but athletes know, luck runs out. Take CFL player Paul McCallum for example. He's been a successful kicker in the league for more than 25 years.

Last year with the BC Lions he hit more than eighty-eight per cent of his field goal attempts. But in 2004 when the Western final game was in overtime, the pressure was on. An 18 yard field goal would put his Saskatchewan Roughriders into the Grey Cup. He missed. It happens.

But McCallum says what happened next was life changing. He had manure dumped on his lawn and eggs thrown at his house after he missed a field goal while playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. We reached Paul McCallum in Kamloops - at training camp for the BC Lions.

Emotional Sports Fans - Saul Miller

Dr. Jordan Grafman is a senior investigator with the Cognitive Neuroscience Section of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in New Jersey. He also wrote a chapter of the book Your Brain on Cubs: Inside the Heads of Players and Fans. We asked him what's happening when your brain is on hockey.

Saul Miller is one of Canada's top sports psychologists, who has worked with numerous professional sports teams. He's the author of several books, including Performing Under Pressure: Gaining the Mental Edge in Business and Sport. We reached him in Windsor, Ontario this morning.

Other segments from today's show:

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