If you don't know how to grill a bratwurst, I don't want you in my stadium.
Listen, it's not a you thing—I just consider soaking meat in hot alcohol a pillar of the fan experience. If we, as sports enthusiasts, can't properly beer-batter a tube of mystery beef, the system is broken.
Am I being unreasonable and facetious? Yes, however, there are a number of basic things all sports fans should know how to do, and I've created the following list in the hopes of educating those who may be struggling to get a full grip hang on this fan thing.
These are the things every sports fan should know how to do.
"Give [Insert underperforming player here] time. He's struggling now, but he has so much up-side."
Learning how to defend your team's players is a pivotal part of being a fan. The practice is easy, and usually just involves throwing out buzzy words with no tangible meaning.
Be sure to use the phrase "raw talent," and talk about how they just need to "learn the system" and "get into a rhythm."
Learn a route, develop a process and get going.
Nothing is worse than sitting in gridlock on your way to the stadium, and it can sometimes take a while to nail the best route down. Memorizing your local public transit schedule and double-checking for metro cancellations can help smooth your trip to the stadium.
If you're driving to the ballpark, try to find an obscure and dependable parking situation. If you can find a bumpkin who'll let you park in his yard for some cat food and a song, you're doing it right.
You don't have to like them, and you certainly don't have to touch them.
You must respect the body painter, however. They're like giant squids or a duck-billed platypus—you don't understand them, but you support whatever it is that they do.
They're like a force of nature—a strange force of nature.
Is it sudden death? Golden ball? Does it matter what the dealer has??
Overtime rules can be confusing, but there's no reason not to have a handle on these things. Being able to explain the dusky abyss that occurs after the end of regulation will make you look like a genius with a potential future in politics.
Your drywall never did anything to you, so don't punch it in the face like it owes you a cake.
Frustration is part of the sports experience. No team is going to have a perfect season (usually), and every few games or so your team will present you with a new and exciting pile of steaming crap to deal with.
It's going to happen, regardless, so don't be the fan who upends the coffee table every time a receiver drops a ball. That table brings the room together, and no one can respect someone who pulps such a fine piece over a three-and-out.
Just exhale and apply alcohol to your face. Everything's gonna be okay.
It doesn't matter what you think, as long as you think something.
Staying updated on the minute-to-minute developments in sports isn't necessary, but doing some research into longstanding issues such as PED usage and amateurism in college sports will only help you learn more about the game.
Click around, read some articles and form an opinion based on your personal belief system. Not having an opinion doesn't make you cool, it makes you lazy.
Grip it, rip it and hope it spins in circles.
Throwing a spiral is a must for any and all football fans. You don't have to throw it on a rope—a la Michael Vick—but it's an essential part of tailgating and/or showing your children you didn't grow up under a rock.
Raise one arm. Yell "Sir! I disagree!!"
That's one way to properly disagree with a ref—something which an unsurprising number of fans do with zero tact.
Yelling "WHAT THE (bleep)?!" is elegant and all, but there are children present. More importantly, you don't want the ref to throw you out. They can do that.
I could write an entire slideshow about how to smuggle alcohol into a sporting event, and as a matter of fact, I already did.
Sneaking booze into the stadium is your God-given right as a sports fan, and knowing how to do it properly can save you big money in the long run.
Why pay $10 a beer when you can waltz through the front gate wearing 80 ounces of delicious hops on your face?
Look at each other's elbow, then slap hands.
It's the secret to a no-miss high-five—something you'll be thankful for after five hours of tailgating.
Don't. Flip. Them. Early.
If you're a novice grillman, that's the best advice I can give you. Flipping a burger before it's ready is like killing a baby bird before it has a chance to fly. Be patient. Wait for the red juice to start bubbling up and then flip her over nice and smooth-like.
Don't worry if the fire licks up through the grill. That's natural. There's nothing wrong with going a little Usher on these patties. Sometimes you've got to let it burn.
You can cook brats on the grill or boil them in beer on a stove.
Either way you do it, just remember: While there's no such thing as an overcooked brat, there is such thing as an undercooked one. You want gray all the way through these bad boys.
I like to poke holes up and down the sides of my brats. When the delicious filling bubbles out the casing, I know they're just about done.
Note: If you buy fully-cooked bratwurst packs from the grocery store, your name is automatically put on an NSA watch list.
I'd never suggest you to pick up a crippling addiction to sports gambling, however, it is helpful to understand how a point spread works.
A point spread is the number of points a team is expected to win or lose by. If you bet on a team that's favored by seven points, they have to beat their opponent by at least seven points in order for you to win your bet.
On the flip side, if a seven point underdog only loses by six, those who bet on the upset would win. If you don't follow that, it's okay. Just click over to the FAQ section of an online sportsbook. They'll be glad to explain how you can give them your money.
Improving your seats can get you in trouble, so only do it in a situation where it won't bother anyone.
Sneaking into the lower bowl at the Super Bowl is impossible, but moving down to the front row of the balcony at a regular season NBA game is far from difficult.
Ushers at different arenas operate with varying levels of attentiveness, and after a certain point in the game, most will relax and stop checking ticket stubs.
Being loud and obnoxious is an imperative during most games, but sometimes you need to know when to lock it up.
This a sporting event, not an open-mic. Every moment of every game isn't free air-time for you to wag your lips. Allow some gaps between your tantrums and loud announcements to no one in particular.
People might actually talk back to you if you let them.
It shouldn't have to be said, but if you go to enough sports games, sooner or later there will come a time when you'll be faced with a physical confrontation.
If at all possible, this is when you walk away. Being a tough guy is not worth it. No matter how bad your team lost, or how big of a jackass this guy is being, it's not worth going to jail.
I say this because it seems like more than ever, fans are hurting and killing each other over a game. It's not a part of the sport, and if you're going to games looking to do damage to another person, you should run into the ocean and keep going. We can't have you reproducing.
Chances are you've already decided who the best player is in your respective sport.
Seems like an open and closed case. They're the best player, and there's no disputing that fact, right? Wrong.
No matter how untouchable they are, someone, somewhere will argue there is a better player. For this reason, you must be prepared to argue ad nauseam about how you're right, and the other guy should go jump in a fire.
It's not fun, but it's all in the game, yo.
Humanity as a whole needs to learn one thing.
Is it to love each other? To learn to coexist as a single race and work together to end government shutdowns and bring peace to the world?
No. What we need to do is learn how to turn our smart phones horizontally when we take videos at sporting events. I can't tell you how many great fan moments have been reduced to grainy, worthless disasters by observers who refuse to take video in landscape.
Every time you shoot a video vertically you hock a loogie onto the memory of Alexander Graham Bell. Remember that.
Every team has them. You need to know them.
If you don't know your team's songs or chants, your stadium experience will go from "Yay team!" to "Why did I even come to this weird concert?" in about two seconds.
There are times to talk trash and there are times to stay quiet.
If you're at a home game and your team is beating a rival, feel free to go to town—just keep it (relatively) clean.
On the flip side, if you're at an away game surrounded by a throng of people who would see you dead for little to no reason, cheer respectfully for your guys and leave quickly when it's over.
You can cheer, but don't be the guy who spins around with his arms up every time his team scores like he's at a Comedy Central roast. Actually, go ahead and do that. Just make sure you're ready for the refreshing ocean spray of Miller Lite you just invited into your life.
Sports fans don't have to follow me on Twitter—but it'd be a lot cooler if you did.