Things Sports Fans Do That Make No Sense
Sports fans aren’t rational creatures—if they were, the comments section of any article about any player or any sporting event wouldn’t be a putrid monument to human depravity.
It’s the nature of the beast. If we followed some rigid calculus, we wouldn’t care at all.
The outcome of sports competition is equal parts design and pure chance. Coaches have to game-plan and players have to practice, but no one can anticipate when a hammy gets pulled or a bad bounce rips defeat from the jaws of victory.
This helps explain why sports fans are such fickle, delusional and paranoid creatures.
We want to believe the score is dictated by the hat we wear, the routine we stick to or whether the dip is exactly seven layers. It’s the only measure of control fans have.
This mindset inspires the passion behind our loyalty but makes us suspend reality for the sake of our emotional investment in teams. The nonsense behind our fandom is actually why it makes sense that we're fans to begin with.
So obviously, we're all crazy. The following are just some of the things sports fans do that make no sense whatsoever.
They Make Very Poor Financial Decisions
There are so many ways in which sports fans waste their money. Fans who can afford it the least are often the first in line to flush their earnings down the toilet on the stupidest things.
Being a fan can get expensive, so it's important to be thoughtful about when, where and how you spend your hard-earned greenbacks.
Which means, unless you're ridiculously wealthy and whacked out of your gourd, you shouldn't be dropping a grand on the jersey of an NFL player just because he's being charged for murder.
They Boo EVERYTHING
Some sports fans are grudge-holding boo-birds—it's in their DNA. It doesn't matter who's doing what or where, when and why they're doing it; boos course through a fan's veins and keep their hearts pumping and blood circulating.
The commissioner of any given sports league is the guaranteed nemesis of the genetic boo-bird. David Stern, Bud Selig, Gary Bettman and Roger Goodell probably walk out of their houses each morning to a small chorus of boos from the hateful faithful.
Granted, those guys are like the principals in The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller's Day Off—they are really easy to hate on. But how about Celtics fans booing Ray Allen, Penguins fans booing Jaromir Jagr or Cavs fans booing LeBron James?
It seriously doesn't matter what an athlete has done for an organization in the past. When he leaves, all bets are off...forever. If you don't think there are going to be a few disgruntled fans from Cleveland on hand to boo King James at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony, think again.
They Nap at Games
Adults passing out at baseball games from reasons other than drunkenness is a pretty common occurrence. I've seen it personally over the years and probably dozed off at a few Pittsburgh Pirates games in the early 2000s.
Which is one of the myriad reasons I stopped going to Pirates games years ago. If the action of the game isn't enough to keep you conscious for a few hours, then you shouldn't be wasting cabbage on tickets.
I remember seeing a boatload of people on television sleeping during the second half of the NFL Pro Bowl in 2013. It was confounding. Of course the game was terrible, as usual, but I managed to stay awake through the whole thing in my basement apartment on the East Coast.
These people were in the first few rows, in Hawaii, and it was six hours earlier in the day. For shame.
They Dress in Spandex Bodysuits
The fact of the matter is that a spandex bodysuit isn't a good look for 99.9 percent of the world's population. Olivia Newton John was basically a swizzle stick in "Grease," and even her bad-girl spandex makeover was mildly unpleasant.
Although the female form is far more suited to spandex than the male, men are far more likely than women to bear their bodies in spandex at a sporting event. And while they may fully cover the outside, a spandex bodysuit can be far more revealing than partial nudity.
Seriously...it clings to everything. So how is it that these things have become a global phenomenon?
Please tell me it's going to stop, at some point.
Wait...it's not, is it? Gah.
They Spend Hours Defending Athletes Online
I write about sports on the regular, so I have an awful lot of experience dealing with irate fans who have a score to settle on behalf of an athlete or team.
To be honest, the level of hostility that even the most innocuous statement could elicit used to freak me out a little. Now it just confuses me and occasionally really makes me laugh.
Anything that is the least bit negative in tone is sure to attract plenty of rage, but reacting in an angry fashion makes sense if direct criticism is involved.
What's far more confusing is the anger resulting from indirect criticism, which is any perceived slight that comes from something like failing to mention a certain athlete or complimenting another.
It doesn't make sense that someone can say, "Kobe Bryant is a superstar," only for someone else to hear that as, "Kobe Bryant is 10 times better than LeBron James and Michael Jordan combined."
But hey, fish gotta swim and fans gotta fly off the handle.
They Ruin Things for Others
As sports fans, we're all technically on the same side. Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys fans may hate each other, but they're all football fans at the core. Which is why, generally speaking, fans may engage in behavior that expresses their distaste for the other team.
That's hardly a universally reviled action that has done nothing but serve to bring down the reputation of the sport on a global scale. Such is the case with soccer and vuvuzelas.
South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and I decided almost immediately that it was completely unwatchable with the volume on thanks to the noisy plastic horns that became the soundtrack to the entire event.
So, yeah...thanks for that.
They Permanently Deface Their Bodies
Getting a tattoo isn't really a big deal these days. There are probably more people with face tattoos out there at the moment than people without any at all.
That being said, if you're going to spend a few hours letting a stranger with golf ball-sized holes in his earlobes jab you with a needle, you should walk away with something better than a lifetime of regret.
Most sports tattoos I've seen are wretched, but I suppose the good ones don't get much attention on the Interwebs. Seriously, though, if that Steelers tattoo doesn't scare you straight, nothing will.
They Suffer Needlessly
I'm pretty sure this is mostly a football fan thing, but what is with all the insane fans who insist on doing the shirtless thing in the winter?
It's a widespread look among fans of NFL teams that play outdoors, especially in cold weather. And as someone who has been to a few Steelers home games in December, I can personally attest to the commonality of this.
It just doesn't make any sense, though. If you go topless to a playoff game in Green Bay, you're torturing yourself. And you're torturing those around you as well—we all know that most shirtless fans aren't nearly as physically fit as this Packers fan.
Just put on some layers and find a new way to attract attention, because if you get sick and die from pneumonia, everyone is going to laugh and say you deserved it. Think about your family!
They Yell at the Television
The only people in my life who I know yell at the television are sports fans and my boyfriend's super angry uncle who is always outraged at cable news—but that's a whole other story.
Yelling at the TV is just one of those things. It doesn't make any sense—we all know we're not getting through to anyone inside the magical picture-box—but for some reason it just makes some of us feel better about a bad situation.
Sometimes you just need to have your opinion heard on BS officiating or Tom Brady's stupid winter hat during a game when he's picking your defense apart, and if the TV is the only one that will really listen, so be it.
They Start Fights with Fellow Fans
Exchanging blows with a complete stranger over something ridiculous at a sporting event either makes sense to you or it doesn't.
If it doesn't, you're a normal human being and should feel good about yourself. If it does, you're a hot-tempered lunatic and shouldn't be allowed out in public without the proper supervision.
Fans fighting in the stands could be something that's been on the rise, or it may just seem that way because these days they're all recorded and posted on YouTube.
Getting into it with opposing fans is one thing—at least they're your natural enemies. Drunkenly wailing on one of your fellow fans, however, goes against the natural order of things.
They Dress Up Like Apes
Fans who attend games decked out in ape costumes are one of the world's great mysteries. Like Stonehenge, the pyramids or lost cities, they raise far more questions than they answer.
Like...why is this person wearing an ape costume? What is he hiding under that thing? Do you think he owns the costume or rents it? And which option is less weird?
Most can probably be written off as uncreative attention-seekers, but who knows what's lurking inside the mind of someone who decides to do something like this? It's probably best to keep the mystery.
They Really Lower Their Dating Standards
I'm not sure why, but I was actually surprised by the thousands of women who have been tweeting about their love and/or lust for former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez since his recent arrest for murder.
Now, it's hard to tell what percentage of them are actual sports fans. There's obviously going to be some overlap with the desperate fame-seeker population and the sad women who become pen pals and eventually marry members of the prison population.
But there are definitely plenty of female sports fans out there who would be willing to devote themselves to an athlete accused of murder but wouldn't give you the time of day.
Distressing, to say the least.
They Leave Games Early
Unless we're talking MLB tickets on certain days, it's not inexpensive to attend a sporting event. The cost can vary wildly by city and sport, but money is money. Leaving a game early is a ridiculous waste of money, and real fans don't do it.
Sorry, Heat fans who left Game 6 early and were stonewalled when attempting to get back in—y'all had that coming.
When I spend mine on Pittsburgh Penguins tickets, for instance, nothing stops me from getting every last dollar's worth. I'm there an hour early getting my pregame drink on and I'm there an hour after it ends, just chilling with my friends until someone kicks us out.
It doesn't matter if we're losing 10-0 in the first period or if traffic is going to be a nightmare. Nothing short of a drunken accident that leaves me with an exposed bone jutting out of my skin could convince me to leave a game early.
And if it were Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, I'd probably try to soldier through the horrifying bone thing.
They Start Fires When They Win
I'm not much of a firebug, but at least I can understand the rationale behind acts of arson that come as the result of a big loss.
Like when Canucks fans attempted to burn down Vancouver after losing to the Bruins in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final: They were disappointed and filled with violent rage.
It's not that I condone loser riots, but I get what's going on upstairs when they happen—it's not crazy; it's sports. Just kidding—it's crazy too.
What's crazier is that celebratory arson is as common, if not more so, than the losing variety. There's a disturbing number of people out there who react to extreme sadness by setting fires.
They Are Slaves to Superstitions
The power of superstitions and the ever-present threat of a potential jinx is something that is very real with many sports fans. None of it makes any sense whatsoever, but it's how we bring ourselves into the game on a personal level.
There are a number of well-known athletes who have their own superstitions or rituals, which makes a little sense. Changing a weirdo routine can mentally influence athletes and hurt their game.
The idea that the Steelers are directly influenced by my decision to wear my Troy Polamalu jersey over my Shaun Suisham jersey, however, is obviously crazy. Yet somehow, in my mind, it makes a difference.
And do the Penguins seriously score every time my boyfriend leaves the room because he left the room, proving he's a forever jinx? Probably not. But that's the reality of our lives.
They Charge the Field
The uncontrollable urge to whip off your clothes and go charging onto a field during a game is an impulse that is foreign to most of us.
Sure, we may occasionally fantasize about it during one of those never-ending MLB games in August that started so long ago that you can't even remember how you got there.
Maybe it's all that beer, or the beginning/end stages of heat stroke because it's been dark for two hours and it's still 95 degrees, but I've imagined doing it a few times myself. I might have even seriously contemplated it once or twice.
And then I imagined being taken down by a mascot, clotheslined by a player, tasered by security or the possibility that all of them might just let me scamper around until I run out of energy and collapse to the ground in a pathetic, exhausted heap.
That kind of critical thinking is what separates most of us from the dude in this photo. A simple cost/benefit analysis is all he should've required to realize that charging the field was a terrible idea...for himself.
Obviously, it was fantastic for everyone else at the game who witnessed his hijinks and subsequent takedown.
They Argue Using Irrelevant Non Sequiturs
I'm not sure this is something that all sports fans do, but I know plenty of them that do it. Arguing with rival fans is like fighting about politics or religion—it has the propensity to get excessively nasty and, in the end, accomplishes absolutely nothing.
Steelers fan: That call was terrible.
Ravens fan: Why are you the dumbest person in the world?
Steelers fan: Why is Ray Lewis a murderer?
Ravens fan: Probably because Ben Roethlisberger is a rapist.
Steelers fan: I hope you get murdered.
Ravens fan: Ravens rule!
You see how quickly that escalated and went completely off the rails? That exact conversation has probably happened thousands of times on Twitter.