10 Things No Sports Fan Should Ever Do
Being a sports fan in today's day and age isn't an easy task.
Whether we're covering our faces with more makeup than Liza Minnelli or skipping out on family functions to watch our beloved team play in a preseason game, being a sports fanatic is a taxing lifestyle.
But like anything else in life, there are certain rules that true sports fans should never, under any circumstance, violate.
Think of this list as a modern-day rulebook to sports fandom. Follow these guidelines and you should be able to stay on the straight and narrow.
Break these rules and you'll be forced to watch The Bill Engvall Show on DVD while being duct-taped to steel chair in the middle of a dilapidated shed.
All right, maybe it won't be that grandiose of a punishment, but you get the point.
It's now time to start the slideshow below and check out 10 things that no sports fan should ever do.
Don't Let Your Kids Jump on the Bandwagon
As a parent, your No. 1 task when raising your children is to make sure they don't turn out to be bandwagon sports fans.
Forget reading, forget writing, and honestly, who needs math? In today's day and age, being a successful parent is based solely on your kid's sports loyalties.
There's nothing worse than picking up your son or daughter from school after work and seeing some other kid aimlessly wandering around school grounds rocking a LeBron James Miami Heat jersey.
Look, I know we all have fallen victim to bandwagon ideologies at some point in our lives.
The '90s were a magical time that involved slamming back bags of 3D Doritos, betting on when Jimmy Johnson's hair would move and, of course, watching Michael Jordan annihilate anything that crossed his path—minus a baseball.
But today's social media-infused world has changed the game.
Instead of being able to hide all the Polaroids your parents took of you rocking a Jordan jersey in front of the Empire State Building, now your kids will be forever enshrined in the "bandwagon" Hall of Fame thanks to Mark Zuckerberg.
This is sports gospel. Parents, please, keep your kids away from the old, rickety bandwagon—a Justin Bieber staple.
Don't Get a Tattoo of Your Team Winning a Championship Before It Happens
A recent trend that the media have picked up on in 2014 has been diehard fans getting tattoos proclaiming their teams will be champions before it actually happens.
Getting blessed with ink is cool. It's been a staple of American culture—an estimated 45 million Americans currently sport a tattoo.
But there's a stark difference between getting your wife's name across your shoulder and proclaiming your team to be a champion months before it happens.
It's not only brash, it's as ridiculous as watching Juwanna Mann sober.
Sure, it could be perceived as the ultimate prediction. You're so confident that you're willing to prove it with blood and ink.
However, do the world a favor and wait until your team actually wins a championship before going all Norman Rockwell on your flesh.
Don't Buy a Fathead
Sticking an Andre the Giant-sized picture of your favorite athlete on the wall is a great way to scare away people of the opposite sex and learn the true meaning of night terrors at the same time.
Commonly referred to as wall decals on the streets, these photographic monstrosities are bizarre Hey Arnold!-like shrines that have been created to show loyalty or respect to a favorite player or team.
There are plenty of ways to prove your loyalty without using Clay Matthews as wallpaper.
Buy a jersey, put a sticker on the back of your vehicle, snag a pair of season tickets. But whatever you do, step away from the Fatheads.
The only fans who get a free pass in this area are children. They just don't know any better.
Don't Be Drake
Just don't, please.
First off, this isn't a conversation about Drake's music. You either appreciate his melodramatic, synth-laden rhetoric, or you don't.
This is strictly from a sports perspective.
Over the course of a few short months, we've learned that Aubrey Graham—Drake's government name—is not only a diehard Kentucky Wildcats fan, but he also has pledged his alliance to the Toronto Raptors.
The whole Toronto part of the puzzle makes sense, considering he was born in that city and all. The Kentucky part? Eh, not so much.
But when you get the luxury of sitting courtside during an NBA playoff game, there's no need to steal the spotlight away from you know, the actual game.
I guess when you're the global brand ambassador of the team, you can do that type of stuff.
For the rest of us sports fans, make sure you keep the lint rollers at home and the cheese lingo to a minimum.
Don't Pretend to Know Everything About Sports
We all have that one friend who thinks that they know it all.
You know, the person who killed one too many brain cells during his sixth year of community college and now thinks he's the second-coming of Mel Kiper Jr.—minus the wheelbarrow full of mousse slathered in his mane.
He's the guy who still believes that Tim Tebow could be an elite quarterback in the NFL.
He's also the guy who picked the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup without realizing they failed to make the postseason.
Yes, he's the classic "sports fan" who doesn't know what he's talking about.
The lesson here is that if you don't want to wake up one morning and become "that guy." Stick to topics you understand. Don't pretend you know everything about every sport in the world.
If football is your bread and butter, you should wax about the pigskin. If you're more of a hockey guy, converse about the ice.
There's nothing wrong with having a casual conversation regarding sports.
But when you start cooking up abrasive, outlandish thoughts, you begin to warrant the same level of respect that Al from Home Improvement got.
And honestly, bless his flannel-covered heart, who in their right mind wants to be Al?
Don't Have a "Second-Favorite" Team
Nothing is worse than hearing one of your buddies claim that he has a" second-favorite team."
The ones who have an NFC and AFC team. Or when the Los Angeles Kings are out of the playoffs, they root for the New York Rangers.
Sorry, but that's a violation of Sports Fandom 101.
You pick a team and stick with it through all of its historic triumphs and massive heartaches.
Think about all of the poor, struggling Chicago Cubs fans or even supporters of the Oakland Raiders. Despite taking an Ivan Drago-like beating year-in and year-out, those fans remain loyal to their teams.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a supporter of the Silver and Black who roots for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos after the Raiders limp to another 4-12 record.
Simply put, to see a friend celebrate in a Tom Cruise-esque, Oprah's couch kind of way after his "other team" wins is grotesque.
Don't Put Your Fantasy Team Above Your Real Team
If you play fantasy sports, there's a good chance you understand exactly what this means.
Say you're an avid supporter of the New York Giants, but your fantasy football team's quarterback is Matthew Stafford.
Instead of "hoping" that the Giants win but at the same time wishing for Stafford to throw for 500 yards and 43 touchdowns, how about you just root for Big Blue?
I get it, fantasy sports are a way of life these days.
You get to play the part of a general manager, build a team, name it something quirky—Romano—and battle your friends or co-workers on a weekly basis.
But you're a sports fan above anything else.
You don't need to take a hard-line approach on fantasy sports like Mike Francesa did after polishing off his 34th Diet Coke. All we ask is that you be reasonable when your favorite team is playing.
Don't Buy a Customized Jersey
Buying a jersey with the name of your favorite player on the back of it is great way of supporting your team.
Buying a customized jersey of said team and then slamming your name on the back of it is not.
You never want to be that person at a tailgate party who is clasping a cold one and rocks his or her own name on a jersey. That's a complete "High School Harry" move.
Even Fireman Ed wore a Bruce Harper and later a Mark Sanchez jersey on his back.
There are two exceptions to this rule:
For starters, you're allowed to buy a custom jersey if you are willing to put a name of a legend on the back of it.
I don't mean Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. I'm talking a fresh Los Angeles Lakers Nick Van Exel jersey—circa 1997—or a Gheorghe Muresan Washington Bullets throwback.
The second and only exception to the rule is getting the nickname of your favorite player added onto the back of a jersey.
Like replacing Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch with "Beast Mode" or throwing on the words "Big Country" in lieu of Vancouver Grizzlies hero Bryant Reeves' last name.
But if you violate either of those rules, your fandom will be questioned for an eternity.
As Jonah Hill reminded all of us in the classic flick Superbad (Note: Video contains NSFW language), "people don't forget."
Don't Forget the Past
Nostalgia is one heck of a feeling.
If you could find a way to bottle it up and sell it, you'd be like Larry Ellison—aimlessly cruising around the Amalfi Coast on a yacht and shooting jump shots while paying people to fish your misses out of the water on powerboats.
Sports fans love the past. We need it to remind us of better times.
Like watching reruns of Seinfeld and quoting each iconic moment as it spills off your DVR, the past is something we can't let go of.
Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers can attest to this theory.
Without the ability to reminisce about Magic Johnson killing the fashion world with his fur coats or Shaq singing his Vlade Divac-inspired version of the Cheers theme song, the 2013-14 season would be unbearable.
However, thanks to the past, Lakers fans know that hope is always just around the corner.
Don't Abandon Your Team
If there was one cardinal rule that every true sports addict must live by, it would be the following: Never, ever, give up on your team.
No matter how many merciless seasons your team has endured, no matter how many times you've had to put up with your neighbor assaulting your pride for being a New York Mets fan, don't you ever give up hope.
This is the beauty of being a sports fan: Despite feeling like you've been slugged in the gut by King Hippo, when there is finally a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel, it all somehow magically becomes worth it.
Just look at this flock of loyal Red Sox fans, who in 2004, got to witness their team win its first World Series title in 86 years.
The struggle is all too real for sports connoisseurs.
But when that moment of glory finally comes to fruition, you'll be able to strut down your driveway like Vince McMahon, pick up that newspaper and hurl it through your neighbor's window with the arm strength of JaMarcus Russell—before he got his paws on a dump truck full of Suzy Q's.