Can Freaking Out Over a Buzzer Beater Really Kill Me?

From the time the ball leaves Stephen Curry’s hands, to the instant it sails through the rim, the neuronal equivalent of fireworks detonate in the brain of the sports fan. There’s a reason, in other words, you feel like your head’s going to explode while you watch that orange sphere hang in the air. It is the briefest of moments, with hardly seconds passing on the game clock. But in your mind it feels like eternity as you wait with bated breath, preparing to implode with unrestrained emotion. In basketball, it’s the phenomenon of the buzzer shot, but there’s an equivalent in every sport: football’s Hail Mary pass; baseball’s full-count, two down, bottom-of-the-ninth payoff pitch; soccer’s sudden-death penalty kick. Whether they lead to triumph or devastation, they are the climactic…


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