Things in Sports You've Been Doing Wrong the Whole Time

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2013

Things in Sports You've Been Doing Wrong the Whole Time

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    Chances are we've all played our fair share of sports since the day we could walk. We learned how to throw a ball from coaches, while our parents taught us how to cheer on our team.

    We've all ditched school early or played hooky to go to Opening Day. Everyone has overspent on playoff tickets.

    Hell, we've probably even started a chant at a game before.

    But I'm here to tell you something—you're doing it all wrong.

    That's why I'm giving you this list—so you can fix the problem for the next time you participate in anything regarding sports.

Asking for an Autograph

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    First off, aren't you a little bit old to be hollering toward an athlete to get him to sign a piece of paper for you?

    Once you've finally admitted to that, here's the proper way to do it right.

    You're not a kid anymore, so don't look desperate and beg. In fact, doing that will guarantee that you look creepy as hell and not even get a second look from the athlete whose attention you're trying to get.

    Since you're an adult now, talk to the player. Ask him what it's like to play in the bigs and how the season is going so far.

    Once he warms up, casually ask for a pic and a signature on whatever you have.

    See, that's not so hard now, is it?

Celebrating a Touchdown or Goal

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    There are two rules of thought on this one.

    The first is the typical "act like you've been there before" one, where you immediately just run to the sideline or your side of the field—but that's not very fun, is it?

    The second one is the more popular decision of celebrating like it's a party, absolutely rubbing it into your opponents' faces that you just scored and now they have to pay for letting you do it.

    Regardless of which way you choose, it's time to step up our celebrating to humiliate the other team.

Picking Your Fantasy Team

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    Congratulations! You've ended up with the top pick in your fantasy football league this year, meaning you have unlimited options on whom to choose.

    Do you go running back? What about the top quarterback?

    Here's a thought—trade the pick.

    Typical drafts use a snake format, meaning your first pick is getting coupled with the 20th overall pick (in a 10-team league).

    Would you rather have the best player in the league along with a second-tier running back or the ninth and 10th-best players in the league?

    It's called depth—utilize it.

Organizing a Pickup Game

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    We've all faced this predicament before. It's a Saturday afternoon, mid-60s and sunny, and all you want to do is get your buddies together for a day of backyard sports.

    But the one mistake we all make is choosing quantity over quality—and it's time to change that.

    No one wants to play two-on-two, but if the four guys playing are the ones who are best, so be it.

    All too often, when we get 10 guys running up and down a court, two are goofing around, another two are too lazy or out of shape to run up and down the floor, and six guys are left actually playing.

    Stop the madness and frustration and organize a game that's worth playing—not just the one that has the most guys suited up.

Paying for Concessions

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    We've all complained about the increase in concession prices, but I'm here to remind you that you don't need to take it.

    It's called a flask, and it will be your best friend as long as you play it cool.

    Now we're not telling you to break rules by any means; we're just hinting that spending $20 on a bottle of Jack to pour into your cola is a better investment than spending $20 on two Miller Lites at the stadium.

    Most of you know this tactic already, but judging by how many people I saw repeatedly standing in beer lines at the Seattle Mariners game last weekend, I felt a reminder was necessary.

Wearing a Rally Cap

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    Rally caps are a great way to pique fan interest and help generate a common faith amongst the crowd to help their team finish a come-from-behind win.

    But remember that you never want to turn that hat inside out too soon. The appropriate time would be when your team actually has some sort of rally going.

    So if their down five in the ninth and get the leadoff man on, that's way too early.

    But say one run has already crossed and there are guys on second and third with just one out—then go ahead and bring the faith, brother.

Choosing a Partner Who Cheers for a Rival Team

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    As someone who grew up in Ohio, this commercial was all too familiar to me.

    I'm scarlet and gray through and through, so it would never even cross my mind to kiss a girl who hails or cheers from that state up north.

    The same goes for anyone who might root against your favorite team.

    A house divided is one thing, but a house divided because of sports is something that no one should ever be willing to do.

Handling a Loss

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    All too often we see people who hype up a sporting event so much that they almost blow their gasket before the game even starts.

    Though we should all get pumped up before our team's prime timers, we have to keep things real every once in a while.

    So when your favorite team loses, it's not appropriate to let the rest of the day be ruined because you're a little too emotional over the loss.

    The only exception are championship games. It's acceptable for those to linger for a week or so.

Throwing a Knuckleball

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    As kids, we heard a ton of different theories on how to toss one of these things.

    The most popular one consisted of putting the ball on the actual knuckles, nestling it between the index and pinkie finger and flipping the wrist to push the ball over home plate.

    Have you ever tried that, though? It's impossible to throw it farther than eight feet.

    That's why we should just let the pros handle mastering the pitch—or we should at least read the proper way to attempt it.

Painting Chests

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    In high school and college, it's not uncommon for a group of guys to trim their "taco meat" off their chest, strip off their shirts and paint a letter on their torsos.

    And while this has been around forever, we still continue to do it wrong.

    Gone should be the days of limiting the word to just five or six guys. It's time to get the entire row involved to really show team morale and school spirit.

    So stop asking just a few good men to show skin in the middle of winter. See which ones are truly superfans who will join in your frostbite.

Comparing Generations

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    It's only common for fans to get caught up in the here and now of today's athletes.

    But as simple as it is to marvel at what current sports stars do on a nightly basis, we can't forget about the ones who helped pave the way before them.

    LeBron or Jordan? Adrian Peterson or Barry Sanders? Bryce Harper or Mickey Mantle?

    These conversations are great to have, but let's appreciate what we've seen and what we'll continue to see from future stars. Otherwise, we might just miss out.

Heckling the Other Team's Fans

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    As passionate (and drunk) as we all get during sporting events, It's important to remember that it's just a game.

    So while booing and giving one-finger salutes to the opposition's fans is one thing, come at them with a more educated approach by stirring up some debate.

    Tell them why they suck so badly, not just why you hate them so much. You'll come across as a condescending prick, but really, isn't that the point?

    The No. 1 rule for heckling another team's fan, though, is to never let it get physical. Getting escorted out of a stadium in handcuffs is never a good ending.

Proposing at a Sporting Event

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    The whole Jumbotron or TV timeout message has been done hundreds of times, so use some creativity to guarantee she'll say yes.

    With the adaptation of social media where fans are engaging with athletes every single day, reach out to your favorite player and get him involved.

    Get him to sign a ball for you and write on it, "Will you marry him?" to toss up to your lady.

    Not only will she cherish the ball because Derek Jeter's autograph is on it, but when she turns and sees you on your knee with a shiny ring, she'll be speechless from all the tears of joy.

Wearing Jersey Attire

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    So everything that this guy has going on is an absolute no-go, OK?

    These days, fans think that just because they drop $75 on a replica jersey means they can wear it anytime they want.

    Not true.

    To a bar or stadium on game day is cool, but just around town is a little much.

    And remember the No. 1 rule—never tuck that thing in.

Singing the National Anthem

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    First thing's first—always take off your hat.

    If you didn't already know that, you should be kicked out of the stadium for being an awful American.

    Next, empty your hands to put behind your back, find the flag to stare at and go ahead and softly whisper the words.

    Doing anything less than this comes across as disrespectful, and the last thing you want is a veteran sitting behind you to call you out on something like that.

    Oh yeah, and don't be the d-bag who yells, "Yeah!" before the end of the song either.

Dancing to Get on the Jumbotron

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    Take it from this heavyweight dancer—let it literally all hang out to get on the big screen.

    As someone who has accomplished the feat multiple times at multiple games, take it from me that unless you're dripping sweat, you aren't getting up there.

    Another tip? Never look to see if you've made it.

    You need to be as inconspicuous as possible, focusing on your moves. Let the other people in your section let you know when the cameras find you.

    One last thing, don't wuss out once you've made it and change it up—you're up there for a reason.

Distracting a Free-Throw Shooter

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    As a Kentucky alum, I'll get hell for referencing a Duke video, but this one is without a doubt one of the best free-throw distractions ever.

    Instead of waving your arms and making a bunch of noise to try and get an opposing player to miss, you have to think outside the box.

    Distracting a shooter is much like a staring contest—he knows something is coming, while you're thinking of what to do to break him.

    This guy went with the power of awkward humor—and it paid off beautifully.

Sinking Half-Court Shots

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    It would be easy to just play this video and tell you to basically do the opposite of this poor guy, who might have just proved there are worst shooters out there than DeAndre Jordan.

    But rather than poke fun at his attempt, we're going to give you a quick overview on how to attempt a half-court shot.

    First, if you randomly get pulled from the crowd, make sure you can at least get it there without having to bounce it twice—as this dude did.

    Second, don't let the adrenaline and emotions of the crowd psyche you up so much that you heave it over the hoop, hitting the student section four rows deep.

    And finally, don't underestimate your own strength by running from one baseline to midcourt and launching it.

    It's much like lining up for a field goal in football. Take a few steps back, walk up and shoot it with a little more strength than you normally would.

Streaking/Running onto the Field

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    Now that the undisputed champion of sports streaking has recently called it quits, it's time for the next Mark Roberts to step onto the field—butt naked, of course.

    Before you dropped trou and idiotically run past security, you have to have some sort of plan.

    Are you working to promote your buddy's new business by painting a website on your back or just going out there with your boys hanging out in order to get some laughs?

    If it's the latter, stop now.

    But if you're looking to become a legend like Roberts did, take some notes and make a name for yourself instead of just being known as "that tasered kid from the Phillies game."

Tailgating

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    Everyone thinks that they party harder than anyone else before a sporting event, but unless you have swarms of people literally fighting to get into your tailgate, how is yours any different from the hundreds going on around campus?

    The Hall of Fame tailgates have at least five different drinking games going on, generators for multiple big screens to be viewed, so much food that people won't want to eat the rest of the weekend and such an insane amount of booze that fans are worried they'll be too drunk to attend the game.

    Oh yeah, and it allows friendly banter between both teams to only build the intensity of the game to come.