You see them in every type of social setting: That Guy. The one who thinks they know more or are better than you and let’s you know it—either directly or indirectly. It could be the wine aficionado snidely smiling at your Franzia box purchase at the liquor store. It might be the car guy who openly mocks your “cute little foreign car”, or the fashion expert who can’t believe that you’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans again. It could be the guy at the gym who shakes his head as you attempt to curl 20 lbs. It might be the hair stylist telling you that you have a “neat” haircut, or the teacher who believes that their style is the only acceptable way to educate kids (sorry, personal pet peeve). No matter where you are, people like this are always around. I’ve always hated these people. Then I realized that I was one of them…
When it comes to sports, I’m That Guy. I’m not the super competitive-D League-slow-pitch-softball Guy, but rather the I-can’t-be-bothered-with-this-conversation-because-I-know-so-much-more-than-you Guy.
I may be That Guy, but I'm definitely not This Guy
I’ve been That Guy for a long time now, and I didn’t realize it until just recently. If I’m involved in any kind of sports conversation, I constantly find myself silently judging and usually mocking the others involved. “Oh you watched the Twins game last night? How cute. Do you know the batting averages and ERA’s of every player on the team within a hundredth of a point? Can you not only name, but speak intelligently about all the guys on the opposing team? Do you know the rosters of all of our minor league teams by heart? No? Then don’t try to talk to me about last night’s game." I can’t seem to hold a polite conversation with these people. I can’t even stand there nodding and smiling. I have to leave; I have to get away so I can get on my high horse. It’s incredibly rude and smug, even if these comments are only occurring in my mind. Yet some version of that goes through my head any time someone I deem “unworthy” makes any sort of sports-related comment. Hell, I often silently mock people if they’re simply wearing a Twins or Vikings t-shirt.
There's no way I'm the only one judging/mocking this guy.
Those who know me are probably not surprised by this revelation. I might have a bit of a reputation for openly and outwardly mocking people on a whim. But this self-realization about the level of my sports snobbery is a big step. I feel like I should start going to meetings:
Q: “Hello, my name is Adam and I’m a sports snob.”
Group: “Hi, Adam.”
Q: “Ah, I guess I’ve always had this problem, but I didn’t realize it until just recently.”
Facilitator: “That’s very common, Adam. The important thing is that you recognize it now and you’re getting help.”
Q: “Shut up. You’re probably the guy who loves Joe Mauer simply because he’s from St. Paul and has those stupid sideburns.”
Facilitator: “Now see, this is what we need to work on…”
You like sideburns? Me too! I wonder if there's a club we could join?
Before this article gets too self-deprecating, allow me to validate myself. I got this way through a lot of hard work. I can sense your skepticism, but hear me out. For as long as I can remember, sports have been my only hobby. Virtually every minute of free time I have is spent looking at or doing something sports-related. When people ask me “What’d you do this weekend?” or “What’ve you been up to lately?” my answer is almost always “Nothing much.” I say that because I’m embarrassed to admit that last night I spent two hours on the internet looking up statistics and batting trends of the New Britain Rock Cats (the Twins AA team) or analyzing the remaining schedules of every team in the AL Central. I don’t want to tell them that over the last two weeks I’ve been researching and reading books about the history of the Duke-North Carolina basketball rivalry. But that’s what I do and it’s hard, intense “work”.
This is research. I'm kind of like a scientist...
Yet I hesitate to take pride in my “work”. I do so because sports are viewed as recreation and thus not worthy of this extreme amount of time consumption. If someone told you that they spent their Saturday weeding their garden, most people would not view this as a waste of time. They might even praise them for being outside.
Really, this is acceptable?
However, those same people would likely look down on the fact that I spent my Saturday looking at the contract status’ of potential NBA free agents in 2010. Well gardening is as much of a recreational type of hobby (if not more so) as sports, yet time spent on this activity is not viewed as wasteful.
Maybe that’s why I’ve developed such an elitist attitude when it comes to sports. If everyone is going to degrade my passion, then I’m going to gravitate towards it even more. That’s gotta be it. That’s why the first hour and a half I’m home from work every day is spent on Deadspin.com, TheBigLead.com, etc. while ESPN blares in the background. That’s why I have the Twins game on the TV while my computer has multiple windows open tracking the Angels-Red Sox, Cubs-Brewers, and Rays-Blue Jays games.
I'd call it multi-tasking
It’s not my fault; it’s everyone else’s. It all makes sense now.
My name is Adam, and I know more about sports than you do.