A recent article in The Atlantic describes the emotional connections that people have with their sports teams.

A study suggests that “highly identified” fans form social connections through their fandom, which leads to an increase in overall feelings of well-being.

The article linked here focuses mainly on international soccer (er, sorry, football)  fans living in the U.S.  For those fans (even more weakly-identified fans) rooting for their national team seems to be a particularly rich emotional experience that connects them to their native countries.