CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - We've all had feelings of either pure excitement when your favorite team wins, or pure devastation when your team loses.
That's because parts of the brain release neurons that make us feel like we "play along" with the players.
Why do we become invested with our favorite teams so much that we ride an emotional roller coaster with them?
"It's pretty wild and it actually happens a little bit more in males, but we can actually go on the same hormonal ride that the players are going on with one exception – we have absolutely no control in the outcome," said Dr. Scott Bea, a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Bea said connecting to sports and a specific team likely starts at a young age, whether parents or older siblings introduce us to "our" team or city.
"These players and these teams start to represent our heroes – our ego ideal; what we aspire to become and that gets trained into us," said Dr. Bea.
The playoffs only heighten those emotions. Game 5 of the American League Division Series for the Cleveland Indians' fans is proof.
The surge of adrenaline and stress hormones increase because we can't influence the outcome, according to Dr. Bea. He said it can be taxing on the fan.
The feeling that fans get from watching a team is traced to the feel-good chemical dopamine, similar to the feeling people get from riding roller coasters.
According to Dr. Bea, "You can also get the opposite, though, which is all the stress chemicals, feeling down, a little panicked, so it's a little bit of gambling with our brains."
He said to remember that it is only a game. As a fan, it won't be life-changing if they win or lose.