How to Fake Being a 'Sports Expert'

Dan Carson@@DrCarson73Trending Lead WriterSeptember 18, 2013

How to Fake Being a 'Sports Expert'

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     Confession: I don't know everything about every sport. 

    Phew. Glad that's off my chest. 

    Indeed, I am by no means a sports Socrates, however, if there's one thing I've learned from writing sports every day, it's that no one is an all-knowing, pan-sports genius.

    That doesn't stop us from trying, however, because wanting to be Mr. Know-It-All is a weakness for us sports fans. We love being the most learned guy on the couch, but when we start rolling out the sports jargon, we completely alienate the casual observer.

    With that said, the following is a Cliff-Notes guide for less-than-rabid sports fans looking to fake their sports knowledge to the next level. It's essentially a rundown of good and bad "sports expert" habits, and while far from foolproof, doing these things might buy you enough time to figure out what the hell is going on.

    Remember, friend: Sometimes you got to fake it 'til you make it.

Agree with the Referees

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    The amateur fan works himself into a froth every time the ref grabs his whistle.

    The learned man—the sports expert—is above these reactionary heathenisms, and knows enough about the game to recognize an infraction when he sees one. Furthermore, sports experts respect the game, and want to see it played in accordance with every rule in the book.

    Next Level Expertness:

    Issue a loud and unprovoked statement during an NBA game about how Joey Crawford isn't perfect, but you "respect him because he's old school."

Praise an Athlete and Then Tear Them Apart

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    "He's a great player, great vision and hands. I love everything he does—BUT—I think the team would be better off if he fell into a gorge and they signed a garden hose to replace him."

    Being a sports expert means always having hot sports takes, and that means being controversial.

    If a franchise player is playing well, praise him. Then turn around and say you think the team could've gotten more value had they signed someone else for less.

    Likewise, if a team is lacking star power, tell people the franchise should mortgage the stadium in order to bring in a big name. Stir the pot, baby. You're an expert.

    Next Level Expertness:

    Use the term "utmost respect" moments before you disembowel a player and their entire career.

Say 'Can of Corn' as Often as Possible

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    An easily catchable ball in the outfield is not a fly ball—it's a "can of corn."

    If you don't use this term, you will not sound cool and/or learned in the game of baseball. I mean, do you even like The Natural?

    Next Level Expertness:

    Work the term "suicide squeeze" into any and all baseball conversations.

Love the Corner Three

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    Skip to the 1:14 mark of this video. Why? Because you love corner three's.

    You shower in perimeter shots from the corner. You love them so much that you watch basketball from the corner of your L couch, while drinking beer you bought at the corner store.

    You had to be institutionalized for your own safety after Ray Allen hit that corner three in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. You weren't going to hurt anyone, you're just hyped because that shot is "so open and underutilized."

    Next Level Expertness:

    Tell people the difference between a good "2" and a superstar is a consistent corner three.

Look Up the Vegas Line Before Games

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    This might make you sound more like a person with a crippling gambling addiction than a sports expert, but even so, people will take almost everything you say seriously when you know the point spread of the game you're watching.

    Sounding like you've done total game research is the point here, and nothing achieves that effect faster than googling "sports books" and writing down the line and point spread.

    Next Level Expertness:

    Memorize the over/under for a ball game and tell people you don't bet, but would definitely "take the under on this one."

Constantly Trash the NCAA

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    Want to come off as a forward-thinking and progressive mind in the world of sports? Gut the NCAA at every turn.

    Don't go too aggressive with it. You know there's a lot of good people who work for the NCAA, its just the rules in place that are out of date and unfair to student athletes.

    When people disagree with you, just say you don't see why it would be wrong for players to receive a monthly "stipend" (you must use this word). Also mention that the university could at least deposit a percentage of their jersey sales into a bank account athletes could access upon graduating.

    Next Level Expertness:

    Build a shrine to Jay Bilas and plaster it with Young Jeezy lyrics. Seriously though, you should go ahead and do that. Jay Bilas is awesome.

Hate the 'Mainstream Media'

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    The media is the worst, as some sports experts at ESPN will tell you.

    The networks are too sensitive, or too blinded by corporate greed and profit motives to see the truth. You, on the other hand, see with clear eyes and base your opinions on infallible data and facts.

    The key to pulling this posture off authentically is not being too specific with your criticisms. Take pot shots at some easy targets like Skip Bayless, but reserve most of your criticism for networks and "the media" at large.

    You're faking all this, remember? Better to hold back than wade into the fray.

    Next Level Expertness:

    Casually mention to friends that TSN is "so much better" than ESPN

Vaguely Refer to 'Moneyball'

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    "Baseball has changed because Jonah Hill and Moneyball."

    Actually, don't say that in front of baseball fans. You'll get thrown in a hot dumpster.

    If you're not a big baseball guy but have to BS you way through a conversation about the sport, say something about how sabermetrics has changed the game. You might meet resistance from old-timers, but you won't be laughed out the room.

    Next Level Expertness:

     Mention something about "Bill James" being a smart guy, but call him something quaint like "Ol' Billy Boy James," to suggest your knowledge about his body of research is deep enough to be casual.

Say You Can't Compare LeBron and MJ

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    "They're from different eras."

    Real sports experts know that comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordan is just silly and a waste of time. One is a superstar with a strong supporting cast, while the other is a superstar with a rugged supporting cast. If you don't understand the difference, you're not paying attention.

    Also note this: As an expert, you don't have time for these childish conversations. You've got fourth round NBA draft picks to predict, and you haven't even finished your 2017 Super Bowl projections yet.

    Next Level Expertness:

    Use the words "Coke" and "Pepsi" while explaining why LeBron and Jordan can't be compared.

Be Fatalistic About PED Usage

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    It's not like we'll ever catch ALL of them, right?

    Admitting that cheating will always happen is the grown man's way of saying the world isn't perfect. Some people might want to drug test athletes every day of the week, but that's never going to happen (hopefully not, for their sake).

    Also, always call them "Pee Eee Dee's," not "steroids"—people will call you out for using that as a blanket term.

    Next Level Expertness:

    Tell people that stopping performance enhancing drugs is an impossible battle, considering almost half of college athletes strongly believe they have a teammate currently using PEDs.

Use and Abuse Contractual Jargon

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    If you don't use the term "cap hit" while discussing athletes and money, you must not be an expert.

    If someone brings up a player's contract or yearly income, just float that little diddy out there. If someone says that the Jets should've cut Mark Sanchez after the end of the 2012 season, tell them the team wanted to avoid the immediate $8.9 million cap charge.

    If they nod and change the subject, you won.

    Next Level Expertness: 

    Slather the term "proration" on thick while discussing contracts. I can't even begin to help you with that one.

Applaud Your Opponents

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    You can dislike your team's rivals, but if you want to be considered anything close to an authority on a sport, you have to put personal feelings away and show respect when it's due.

    You might think A.J. McCarron is a falsely humble 'Bama boy with a world of future regret tattooed onto his chest, but you have to respect him for leading his team to the BCS title game every year. You might believe Cristiano Ronaldo is an effeminate man-purse model with soccer cleats, but you must admit the kid has game. 

    Whatever you do, don't let your dirty laundry hang loosely in mixed company. Bury those personal hangups and team allegiances deep down, and only let them out around close friends and FAR away from social media. 

    Next Level Expertness:

    Write a whole blog post or column congratulating your team's biggest rival for beating your team. You'll prove once and for all you are an unbiased and fair student of the game.

Never Take the Underdog

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    Want to appear right most of the time? Don't go out on a limb.

    Underdogs have the name for a reason, and while rooting for the little guy is far more entertaining and potentially rewarding, you'll end up on the losing side of the coin more often than not. 

    You're a sports expert. You base your predictions on cold, hard statistics (or a complete veneer of knowlege, in our case). You're not in this game for the magic of improbability. You're in it to look smart and be right about stuff.

    Next Level Expertness:

    Always say your heart is with (underdog), but there's no way in hell you're betting money against 'Bama.

    Join me on Twitter, where everyone's an expert.