Sports connect. Sports unify. Sports foster community.
These unique properties of sport render it one of the most important form of ritual in American society. For some, the "big game" is more highly anticipated than Christmas. In many ways, major sporting events have taken to a holiday of sorts. For proof, look no further than the Super Bowl.
Essentially, sport watching breeds an ecosystem. Each and every individual gathered around a television set—be it at a local bar, a friend's sweet big screen, or a college dorm room—brings something different to the table. Just like the sport itself, those watching the game together often develop into a team. For a successful watch party, every individual must contribute in some fashion.
As in any ecosystem, there will be those that thrive. There will also be those who struggle to adapt to the circumstances. Their inability to integrate into the group will become noticeable by the other members of the team, and their continued presence could even become harmful.
With every group of enthusiastic and cohesive sport watchers, there is always a buzz-kill. In addition to making the game considerably less enjoyable for all involved, these specimen have the uncanny ability to somehow remain part of the group.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 buzz killingtons of sport watching. If it weren't for them, the rest of us would have nothing to talk about when the game's over.
"What is he thinking!"
"How do you, give him the ball there?!?"
"Take him out, he sucks."
"Ref, are you serious?!?"
We've all said these things. As a sports fan, it is only natural to play the role of head coach from the couch. After all, if we never yelled at the TV, would anyone ever hear us?
Of course not. Plus, isn't everyone a better head coach than the actual person under the helm?*
*The answer to this question is a resounding no, but we'll just pretend that we could do a better job.
Ye Olde Sporting Fan remembers watching Jackie Robinson play for the first time, and wastes no time telling you about it. In fact, you could recite his tale by heart by now.
When he's not drowning out the commentary with his snoring, he's loudly rummaging through the cabinets for Vick's vapor rub. When he is doing neither of these things, he's calling players by their father's names.
Ye Olde Sports fan is notorious for criticizing NBA baggy shorts, the use of instant replay, and football helmets. He is appalled that NFL coaches do not wear suits, and thinks the X Games is run by a bunch Soviet spies.
Since he is completely unaware of what's going on in the game, he will compensate by telling story after story about walking 20 miles as a kid watch the Dodgers play at Ebbet's field.
Ye Olde Sports fan sits in the most comfortable reclining chair in the room, but you can't ever switch with him because of his bad back. He tries to analyze games through seemingly wise, declarative statements. You are initially impressed with this ability of his, only to find that he was merely reciting passages from John Wooden's autobiography.
Mr. Kodak moment thinks that every single game has the potential to completely alter the meaning of life. For some inexplicable reason, he feels the need to compare every game to some famous World War II battle.
This individual usually has a young son who isn't all too interested in sports, so Mr. Kodak moment attempts to compensate by advertising sports games simply that—Kodak moments.
Mr. Kodak Moment in Action:
Mr. Kodak Moment (watching the game): Son, what are you doing?
Son: Studying for a history test.
Mr. Kodak Moment: Put your textbook away and come watch this game. This is real history.
Instead of being armed with a six pack, queso dip, and beef jerky, this fellow's arsenal includes a fresh set of diapers, rattles, and pacifiers. His wife is at girls night (again), so it is his turn to take the baby. Despite having an able babysitter down the street, this guy doesn't believe in the stimulus plan.
It was a complete nightmare the last time he did this, so the group came prepared this time. The handyman of the bunch built an impromptu playpen on the opposite side of the house, successfully limiting the baby's ear-curdling cries to under 50 decibels.
This character spends the entire game running suicides across the house, tending to the child about every fifteen minutes. When he's in the room, he's bragging to the rest of the clan how active his baby his, almost certain that his lateral quickness will make him an excellent linebacker someday. At halftime, he raids his friend's kitchen to make Ray Lewis Jr. some food. He end's up overcooking the zucchini, and the house smells like burnt vegetables for the rest of the night.
The CG arrived late at the watch party because he was caught up at the OTB. He usually tends to be unfocused on the game on screen, as he has more money on five other games that are being played simultaneously.
The second coming of Pete Rose often tells you about this great bookie he knows, and constantly offers to "hook you up." He thinks you are crazy for constantly turning down his offers, but remains convinced that you'll come around some day.
Most of his conversations revolve around odds, point spreads, and over-unders. He spends most of the time trying to force people to put money on esoteric aspects of the game, such as "how many times will Gary Sheffield flip his bat before he swings." The group usually turns down his increasingly ridiculous proposals, but his persistence eventually forces someone to give in, usually the one most keen to flaunt their wealth.
The CG was up $250 at one point (his excessive whooping made it clear that everyone knew that the Milwaukee Brewers covered the spread), but finished the night even.
This unfortunate fellow used to be a die-hard fan. That is, until he got a girlfriend.
Don't fear—the whipped texter spends the entire game watching the screen...of his phone.
His conversational input is limited to the oh so compelling "yea," "uh-huh," and the occasional head nod. Being that he is too focused on whether or not he said the right thing in his last message, he might as well not even be present. It is evident whenever the WP receives a text, as dives for his phone like it's front row tickets to a Billy Joel concert.
This guy clearly needs to get his head in the game.
Oh, and he leaves early. He has to wake up at 5 a.m. the next morning to pick her up from the airport.
The king of useless sports knowledge, this man's sole ambition in life was to appear on "Stump The Schwab." He was crushed when he learned that the show was canceled, and remains convinced that he would have emerged victorious if given the chance.
Nobody really knows why "Brett Favre's completion percentage when wearing alternate jerseys" is a stat, but your own personal ESPN database knows it.
You are baffled as to how this guy can rattle off the slugging percentage of every single player in the lineup, but then you remember that he's 39 and has never had a girlfriend for more than three weeks.
More or less, he is the exact antithesis of the whipped texter.
This guy is great to tailgate with, but the compliments end there.
Don't ever invite this guy to your house. He will devour your guacamole and salsa within 15 minutes, leaving none for the hungry, yet considerate male eater. Because he continually talks with his mouth full, your floor will be littered with his residue. And if you don't buy Tostito's scoops, you'll never hear the end of it.
Despite having never been to more than half of the ballparks in the major leagues, he can describe every single venue's specialty in salivating detail. His nonstop talk about food makes your appetite expand by the second, but since there's no food left, you have to wait after the game to bolt to the nearest KFC, gain five pounds, and feel terrible about yourself.
Oh yea, make sure to hide your beer. He'll drink all of that too.
Be it every shot, every pitch, or every down, you make sure to have 9-11 on stand by whenever this individual is around. You've never met someone who appears to be on the verge of a heart attack for three hours straight, so you don't want to take any chances.
For his sake, you root hard for a blowout. God knows what could happen if the game comes down to the wire.
The nervous wreck's signature move is the "hands on head," which is signified by a perpetual anxious brush-back of his hair. Circumstances aside, it looks like he's about to lose his job.
Other confirmations of nervous wreck sightings include over-exaggerated gesticulations at non-critical points in the game, chronic nail biting, and excessive pacing across the room.
You reserved a spot in the cemetery for this one, just in case his team loses a heartbreaker.
The ex frat brother never got the memo that he graduated from college. Clearly upset that the best four years of his life has come and gone, he attempts to relive his glory days through uncontrollable whooping, outdated chants, and obnoxious amounts of body paint.
After a loss, the EFB vents his frustration by calling the opposition "a bunch of pussies," which his complimented by a relentless string of profanity directed towards the referee.
After a victory, there is a high probability that the EFB will break at least one piece of furniture. If there is more than one EFB in attendance, there exists the potential for a small-scale riot.
Every male claims to hate the girlfriend who knows nothing about sports. For die-hard sports fans, the girl who yells "home run" after a touchdown is scored may possibly be less welcome than LeBron James at a Cleveland bar.
There is however, one specimen of female that sports fans hate more than anything--girl who knows it all.
Every once in a blue moon, there comes a female who spent their childhood watching game after game with her father. She dons the hat, the jersey, the terminology, and the swagger. She can pick apart a cornerback blitz, thoroughly explaining how the team would be better off running a QB spy. Scary thing is, the team won't let up another score after they make the switch, though it took the head coach two more possessions to reach the same conclusion.
Her knowledge of the game's nuances is downright scary, and her clearly superior sports acumen forces you and the rest of your buddies to question your manhood.