As devout sports fans we all tend to be a bit more competitive than the average person. Whether it's blogging about how superior our favorite team is or yelling over each other about a percieved missed call by some referee, we are passionate people who sometimes allow our emotions to overrule our judgement. Not that this is necessarily always a bad thing, just that it often results in unintentionally hurt feelings and ill will.
No where is this more evident than in a Fan Nation throwdown. Those fantastic mini-debates so many of us enjoy. There are a great many different personality types who participate in TD's and some get pretty emotionally charged either in the debate itself or amongst the commenters. Those of us who compete in a great many of these challenges will tell you we don't care about winning or losing. We're lying. Of course we want to win, who doesn't? Now, we may not get overly upset at a single loss here or there, simply because we do so many and know the odds are you can't win them all but trust me, we go into every one of them with the intention of winning. Most of us can tell you how many wins we have without even looking most of the time.
Which brings me to the thrill of winning. What does it mean to win a TD? Well, nothing really. There is no prize. It's forgetten about by virtually everyone within minutes of it's conslusion. And your record means little to anyone other than yourself. It can give you bragging rights, I suppose, but even that gets annoying to people pretty quick. Personally I enjoy a good debate about virtually any topic and am a member of a couple of different debate sites that are more intense than the 1200 character arguments allowed in a Throw Down. Yet there is an allure to debating about sports with other passionate fans and the interaction in the comments sections on Fan Nation that I can't explain. I've often gotten caught up in the arguments outside the argument, myself.
Ah, the agony of defeat. Who wants to lose at anything? Nobody takes on any competition with the intention of losing. At least not competitive people such as most sports fans. Defeat in a throw down causes as much animosity on Fan Nation as anything else, I believe. People don't like to lose, period. Some on the "leaderboard" won't accept a challenge from a quality opponent for fear of being knocked down the list. Others will whine and cry about losing because they believe they have the superior argument. (Who doesn't believe they have the superior argument?) Still others will accuse people of voting for or against them for reasons other than arguments.
That last one, of course, has some merit. Some people will and do vote based on how they feel about the competitors or in bloc's based on groups or what not. That's just part of the game that you must factor in when taking the challenge. I can usually look at who voted and tell you who voted against me. That's especially true if I'm up against a weak opponent. It comes with the territory when you are very active in a community such as this one. You will acquire friends and you will acquire enemies.
Others will vote based on how they feel about the topic at hand while paying no attention to the arguments at all. This is probably the most common misuse of the vote buttons. A throw down is a debate, not a poll. It should't matter what you personally think about a particular subject, just what the two debaters can argue. Yet we all know that if it's a subject you are passionate about, trying to be objective when voting is near impossible unless one side or the other is just awful at stating their case. It's frustrating to see 10 votes go up based on little more than a name or a list, yet it happens over and over.
Hell, we'll even argue about those who throwdown. "So and so just goes for easy wins", "XYZ has the Night Owls vote for them in every TD", "ABC gets support from Women R Us no matter how bad their arguments are", etc. For us passionate sports fans even something as seemingly meaningless as a throwdown can evoke a strong emotional response and keep us coming back for more. I'm undecided on how mentally healthy this is but the word "fan" IS just short for Fanatic. We were all fanatics when we got here so the fact we act that way shouldn't come as much surprise.