Sunday, February 12, 2006

How to Fake Being a Sports Fan When You Really Just Don't Care

I had that conversation today, the one I have stored up with variations for those situations where it's more convenient to fake the funk than to explain that for some reason I just never developed an interest in sports. Maybe it was because I sucked at all the popular sports, maybe it was because my dad sucked at explaining things. Who knows.

(There is a caveat, I love racing. Love it. But I can't even really hang with other race fans for the most part. I'm not the biggest fan of NASCAR but find myself often in the unenviable position of defending it, because for all the rest of its faults it is close racing-and that's the sport, the racing-not the spectacle. Well, for me...)

But since racing isn't often the topic of conversation (and never when it comes to sports cars) I'm left to feign the interest.

Women get a pass in this category. Women, for good or for bad, are not expected to be sports fans, so if they pick a team in a seemingly random fashion it's expected. If the woman is, as is the case with many of the women I know, an actual sports fan she is like a godsend to the sporting male.

But for a dude, the first sign that you're posing you're worse off than if you had just admitted that you aren't a sports fan, because they just wasted precious seconds conversing with you as if you where worth the trouble. So as a dude you have to carefully build your lie. Here are some helpful tips that I use to stall the conversation so that I'm not labeled "unclean" by the traveling crews or whatnot-

Root, Root Root, For the Home Team

This seems pretty obvious, sort of a 'when in Rome' kinda idea. But here's the thing-if you're rooting for the team of the town you're living in it can seem a little poserish, it certainly will raise suspicions...and dangerous follow-up questions.

But a lot of us don't live in the same place we where born. You can pick a team that would be from a town you used to live near. For basketball, I am a Kings fan because they came to Sacramento while I still lived there. Easy explanation, no questions. Failing that, a parent's home town. Family legacies are an easy explanation. Which brings me to my next one-

Blame It On Someone Else

The afore mentioned parent, some environmental influence like a school organization that was dominated by fans of one team, whatever. I've found that a lot of 'real' sports fans have come to their teams this way, so it actually seems pretty believable.

For that, I am an A's fan. The high school band was dominated by A's fans, as was the record store I worked at. I am a 49ers fan because my dad was an avid fan. Even before when they sucked the fist time...which brings me to my best one-

No One Questions a Loser

Even legit fans of teams that are good have to defend themselves, and the fake sports fan doesn't want to have to do that. But when you're a fan of a team that has only won five games in the last two season, no one questions you. They express sympathy, maybe they'll console you-even feed you a few lines that you can use later about how the team can turn itself around. But if you're a fan of a team that sucks you can sometimes even come off a more of a fan than others. It's like a dream. The worst thing that ever happened to my world of deception was the Kings turning things around. As I understand it they're back on that downward slope, which puts me back on easy street ("Man, you guys where right there, then fell apart..." "Yeah, bit of a heart break. Just give us a few years, we'll be back.' ah, the 'we,' as if I would have any effect on the outcome of the game...)

Hatin' is the Key to happiness

Once you've found the team you're going to pretend to be a fan of, you have to find out who the rival is. Usually it's the cross town team, sometimes it's not. Sometimes they don't have a clear rival, which means you have to come up with team to hate. Hating a team is almost as vital as liking one. For me, it's the Raiders. I've sold tickets to too many Raiders games to like that team. Knuckledraggers comin' in wanting those $15 50 Yard line tickets that exist in thier head...

Disliking the fans, maybe a coach, maybe just remembering a criticism that some loud yay-hoo said on the radio or some channel you flipped by, hating another team puts that icing on the cake to make you look like a fan.

Now, you're still going to encounter questions and maybe even people will want to have an actual discussion with you. Here you're going to have to step up a little. First, once you've picked the team and the reason you have to make that the conversation. Don't know what they've been up to? You've been busy. Or just agree-sports fans don't so much ask an opinion as tell you thiers. Agree, or use the alternate opinion someone else gave last time as a rebuttal. Then you have to drift the conversation to something tangential, or let the other sports fans in the room take the ball. Before you know it, you're invited to the after work beers. Which, if you don't drink, brings up it's own issues...

There, never say we never did anything for ya...


  1. I'm having to fake it more these days because I've drifted away from being a fan now. I've just gotten tired of the whole thing--taxpayer funding for stadiums, especially. Of the majors, I keep up with baseball more than any other, but it's easy to be vague in that sport, because the real fans have all this intricate data they just can't wait to share with you, and they, much like music snobs, absolutely love to lord it over you with their superior knowledge of the game.

    Plus, I'm always able to trump most anything they have to say by telling them that I was at SBC Park the night Barry hit number 700. It's hard to top attendance at a powerful contemporary event.

  2. The closest I have for being at a 'big event' is that I attended the 1984 Olympics in LA. No big events, though (biggest? Bronze medal soccer).

    I'm a total music snob, I have to admit. For that I have lots of little tidbits...but I understand how that can be fucking irratating, especially in the stuff I listen to. It seems that people are so fucking pleased with themselves that they listen to jazz that they expect you to give them a cookie just for telling you they do.

    Same thing with theater people, really.


    *puts on driving gloves*
    *checks rear view and grins*