It's tournament time, which means we're looking for a little BIRG action. That's what the fans of winning teams do--they BIRG.
"They're BIRGing," said Deborah Stroman, who teaches the economics of sports at UNC's Department of Exercise and Sport Science. BIRG is the tested social-psychology phenomenon of Basking in the Reflected Glory of a winning team.
"When your team wins, you start taking on the thought that you're part of the team, and now you're nice to everybody and you want to treat people well."
Likewise, if their team starts losing, some people become unapproachable. They're CORFing, or Cutting off Reflected Failure.
I wasn't familiar with these terms before reading the article, but this fancypants description of the reactions associated with winning and losing is certainly spot on. If your team wins a big game then it's tough for anything to ruin the rest of the day, and you just want to go up to people and high five them or hug them or hug them while high fiving them. Hey, man, looking great! Me, I'm floating on a cloud over here!
If the team loses a big game, though--let's say, speaking hypothetically, a tall and rotund individual on the opposing squad tips in a game-winner at the buzzer--you just want to crawl into a dark place and be alone. And why are there so many hours left in this day, you lament as another round of heavy sobbing begins. Or maybe that's just me.
To put this another way, here's winning:
I'd like to dust off my struttin' shoes--I have a pair for strutting and strutting only, obviously--and it's a damn shame that it's been so long in between major sports-related strut sessions. Let's rectify that, basketball team that I can't mention by name because of my ongoing shame spiral.