Friday, March 4, 2011

A Handy Guide to Dealing with Non-Sports Fans

The most frustrating thing in the entire world is to be a sports fan trapped among non-sports fans.

Imagine this scenario: You happen to be with your guy friend, discussing the difficulties of beginning a courtship. You make a quick remark about making sure your friend doesn’t send the lucky lady a picture of himself in Crocs.

Aaaaannnnnddddd cue blank stare. 

You then begin to explain the whole Brett Favre sexting controversy, only to have your friend respond:
"Wait, is that the guy who plays for the Packers?"

You then hastily change the subject, trying to resist the urge to crawl into the nearest corner and weep.

Welcome to my life. 

Rarely does a day goes by without some sort of sports reference creating an awkward space in a conversation, or a blank stare at the latest news from the trade deadline. It's tough, because generally my friends are really fun intelligent people - they just happen to not like sports.

Using my vast experience dealing with the unenlightened, I've created a handy-dandy guide to dealing with the three most common types of the non-sports fan.

Type 1: Unaware - This type of person generally just doesn't know the rules of a sport. Maybe they're a massive baseball fan, but have never watched NASCAR in their life. Maybe they understand the basics, but don't understand what that trapezoid behind the goal is. Generally these people are willing to learn the rules of the game, and probably have the capacity to be a good sports fan. If you happen to come across one of these people - help them out! You weren't born from the womb knowing what a screen pass is - everyone has to learn sometime. And, come on, it gives you a chance to ramble about sports - what fan doesn't want that?

Type 2: Hopeless - They just don't get it. No matter how many times you explain what a quarterback is, and how many points a touchdown earns, they just don't understand. 

Maybe it's a refusal to learn. Maybe they don't actually care because they only came to watch because their boyfriend said there'd be food. Maybe their brain capacity is only slightly larger than a walnut. Regardless of the reason, if you encounter one of these people, try to restrain your inevitable anger after they ask for the twentieth time what a foul shot is. 

And stop trying to explain. It won't help. 

Just ignore them and devote your energy to something useful, like yelling at referees. They'll be more likely to listen.

Type 3: Aggressive - These guys don't like sports. 
They think sports are stupid, and therefore all people who find them even moderately entertaining are stupid as well. They will generally go out of their way to tell you about these views, commonly making comments like, "I'd much rather play the game than watch" or "I have better things to do with my life than watch something this stupid for three hours." 

There are two ways to deal with these types. One is to take the high road and ignore them, and remain confident in your love for sports. The other way is to engage them in an open discussion about the meaning of sports and sports media in this day and age, and the overall effects of sports on society.

Or you can always just throw a quick left hook when they start chirping you a la Brent Johnson. That's generally how I handle it.

There are many variations on these types of non-sports fans, but hopefully these tips will help the next time you encounter someone who has not been enlightened to the wonders of sports.

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