Are You a HEAT Fan-atic?

LeBron James, D-Wade and other members of the Miami HEAT are regular dinner guests at my home, as my family tunes in to watch our beloved players take on their opponents. Those shared meals feature a sports menu that nourishes our mind, body and team spirit.

And we’re not alone. Thanks to Twitter,, the Miami HEAT Index on ESPN, Facebook and other digital channels, my kids and I are connected to millions of basketball fans.

Researchers have a term to describe the nutritional value of sports. In South Florida, we’re consuming (or consumed by) a Miami HEAT BIRGer diet, an acronym cooked up from the words: “Basking In Reflected Glory.”

“BIRGing is a technique which enhances one’s ego and boosts team association, leading fans to feel as though they are part of the success of the team,” said Victoria Wilkins,  author of “Understanding Loyalty and Motivation of Professional Sports Fans,” a research report.

Daniel Wann, a researcher, wrote about fan perks for the Journal of Sport & Social Issues.  Those benefits include:

·    Eustress:  Watching competitive dramas can generate positive stress and excitement, which in turn invigorates and motivates fans for personal achievement.
·    Self-esteem: We share an ego lift with each win.
·    Escape: Games, especially the playoffs, provide an escape from daily stress and pressures.
·    Group affiliation: By cheering, we join a large sports community, which provides the mental health benefits associated with connection and belonging.

And finally, we benefit from the fitness models provided by the Miami HEAT, including LeBron James, who often pedals to the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Of course my BIRGer diet extends beyond my home to my work environment.  Baptist Health and Doctors Hospital Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine are proud sponsors and medical providers of the Miami HEAT. Our very own Harlan Selesnick, M.D., has been their official team physician for the last 25 years.  Lucky for me, I can bring my fanaticism to work and bask in their reflected glory.  Let’s go HEAT!

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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