Step into the confessional, everyone. It's time to exorcise some demons.
Today we'll be discussing our guilty pleasures—the stuff we're not too proud of but can't help enjoying.
Ever sing Whitney Houston when you're alone in the house? Do you like to gawk when you drive past fender benders in the rain? These are both guilty pleasures, and they're not the first idiosyncrasies you admit to when meeting new people.
The following are a number of guilty pleasures enjoyed by sports fan, and in order for this to work, we all have to be as honest as possible.
Decorum and sportsmanship state we must not find pleasure in these things, but if we choose to deny our darker and weirder impulses, we deny ourselves. Let's deny no more. Let's put it on the table.
I can not stress this enough that I never want to see anyone get hurt, but the sight of a NASCAR pulling a McTwist over the track is like pure speed to the human brain.
It's not a conscious decision. Our eyes see a hulking piece of metal whipping through the air at 200 miles an hour and relay it to the brain, which screams "Sweet and sour God!" and starts pumping adrenaline by the ounce.
If you're unfamiliar with adrenaline, well, it feels amazing. It's "standing over the remains of an undead army with a rocket launcher and a broadsword" good.
Guiltiness Level: Going through your girlfriend's texts and finding nothing.
Oh, so everyone's a tough guy now?
No one here would prefer to watch football in a warm dome this December? You like wasting away in Skyrim all winter?
Alright—suit yourselves. Maybe you guys should ride horses to work if you're so averse to climate control.
Guiltiness Level: Enjoying The Voice.
I like watching indoor volleyball. I like playing indoor volleyball. I especially enjoy spiking the ball in people's faces.
And I don't need your approval, Dad!
Guiltiness Level: Big tub of froyo.
Outside the context of martial arts and hockey fights, punching people on the playing field is against the rules and unlawful.
You should never shoot off confetti poppers and scream "KABOOOM!" while watching replays of the Malice at the Palace. Never ever would I suggest that I felt extreme satisfaction when LeGarrette Blount dropped the noise on Byron Hout's face in 2009.
That would be reprehensible, and I won't stand for it. Cough.
Guiltiness Level: That time you got drunk and fist pumped to "Call Me Maybe."
Listen, Bronson—if you don't like the Puppy Bowl, you can get out.
There's the door. I'm serious, if you think you're manly for not enjoying a pile of puppies playing in a pen, you've got a long, sad road ahead of you.
Even Ron Swanson—the inventor of manliness—revels in the joy that is small animals gallivanting about.
Guiltiness Level: Starbucks frappuccino you only order when traveling alone.
Look me in the eyes, and tell me you don't love it when oblivious kickers get turned into smoothies.
I didn't think so.
Guiltiness Level: Candy Crush.
Blood fusion procedures are the devil's magic! Steve Bartman was a Marlins mole! Lamar marrying Khloe was an inside job!
Conspiracy theories are a guilty pleasure of sports fans. If we could control ourselves, we'd leave our paranoid ramblings at the door before entering any sports discussion.
The reality, however, is that conspiracy theories are the brownie batter of sports conversations. We tell ourselves we're just having a spoonful, and the next thing you know, you're skinning the bowl with your bare tongue.
Guiltiness Level: "Eh...I'll work out tomorrow."
Outrage! Heresy! Rabble!
No one likes a cheater, and what Mike Tomlin did to Jacoby Jones on that kick return is wrong.
That being said, a tiny part of me chuckled when I saw the goofy grin on Tomlin's smug face after the play.
It was the same grin my high school cornerback coach flashed every time we got away with a penalty. It was a smile that said "Yeaaa, baby. It's on."
And I loved that smile.
Guiltiness Level: Peeing in the pool.
Again, no one likes a dirty hit that results in injury.
What we do like, however, are those chips and shoves that occur away from the ball.
Case in point: Richard Sherman's completely pointless and illegal hit on Kenny Stills on Monday Night Football this week. You don't have to love the action, but you like where it's coming from—an angry place that's all about protecting the home turf.
Guiltiness Level: Finishing roommate's Pringles.
Is there nothing more self-affirming than watching someone else ruin the national anthem?
You feel so powerful and patriotic—a scholarly pilgrim defending your country's honor. You feel bad for the bungler but still harbor a sweet sense of justified outrage.
"I know there's a lot of pressure, but they should've prepared better," you tell everyone. "Heck, I could've done a better job."
Guiltiness Level: Blaming flatulence on others.
I'm not a big sportsman, but I imagine that reading an overzealous, ridiculous comment on a sports site is a lot like watching a 12-point buck walk right into your crosshairs.
You exhale steadily, tighten your grip on the keyboard and BANG. You win.
Sure, the "bucks" are pests, but you don't know what you'd do without them.
Guiltiness Level: Sweatpants. One pair. All weekend.
The sideline reporter struggle is real, and some of us enjoy it much more than others.
Guiltiness Level: Hoping mascots eat it on the trampoline.
While trying to appear ambivalent, we all secretly hope the Kiss Cam lands on us so we can show the world how it's done.
That's the case if you're with a partner, obviously. If you're at the game with a brother or sister around your age, however, you're praying a meteor strikes the Jumbotron.
Guiltiness Level: Creeping through exes' Facebook photos.
There are two kinds of nutshots in this world: the deliberate and the unintentional.
They are entirely different animals but share two common elements: They are extremely painful, and sports fans love pointing them out.
The next time you're watching a game with friends and someone takes a shot to the Taco John's, listen carefully as the viewing party morphs into an impromptu game of Crotch Clue.
At least one guy will proclaim "The lineman hit him in the junk. I think he caught him with a foot, but it could've been a candlestick."
Yup. We love solving crotch-related mysteries.
Guiltiness Level: Tripping people during the zombie apocalypse.*
*It hasn't happened yet, but the first time you kick out a stranger's legs in order to survive the undead, you're going to remember this weird Bleacher Report article and think, "He was right. Definitely not one of my top five feelings."
Join me on Twitter for the ramblings of a man who thinks he's prepared for the outbreak.