As an avid sports fan, there is something I need to get off my chest. No, it’s not Mom’s spaghetti. Nor is it chest hair, you sickos.
I’ve been following sports ever since I was about 6-years-old. No one sat me down and taught me the rules of any sport. I taught myself. Watching baseball on television, night after night, gave me an understanding of the game. At first, it was challenging. What do these numbers on the screen mean? When is a ball considered foul? What is a strike zone? What pitches do pitchers throw? All of this intrigued me. I figured it all out by watching for patterns. All of a sudden, it made sense.
Then, I got involved in the game myself. Almost every day, I would go outside in my backyard and throw a tennis ball against the side of my house and play catch. I would also throw the ball up against my deck to simulate ground balls coming at me. Then, I would try to throw the ball as high as I could to simulate a pop-up. I was a fantastic fielder in my backyard. At one point, I asked my parents to buy me some books about baseball. This included a “Baseball For Dummies” book, which is still on my bookshelf today. Other books taught me how to hold a baseball in order to throw certain pitches.
My knowledge of sports doesn’t end with baseball. It extends to hockey, basketball, football, curling, and lacrosse. I consider soccer, tennis, and golf to be fringe sports. I’m not 100% interested in any of them, but they can all catch my attention at any point.
I am always watching sports. I am always learning. I am always looking for strategies that players and teams employ. In a way, I am like a lazy scout who sits on a couch and watches games. I think I am fairly rational and reasonable when it comes to talking about sports. I just wish others were, too.
I have committed most of my life to following sports. I can’t help myself. Maybe I sound cocky when I say I know a lot about sports or when I make certain suggestions about player movements, but I think I have a point most of the time.
Here is my problem…..
Ultimately, I despise fake fans. They intrude on the territory of fans like me and they soil it. They annoy me. They bother me. They make me lose three minutes of sleep every night.
What is a fake fan? A fake fan, as defined by me, is a person who cheers for a team, wears their merchandise, and tries to fit in with a large crowd, all while giving the impression that they are a huge fan, when really, they are not. A fake fan is someone who has a sports opinion that is flat out stupid (I don’t care who gets offended by that) or irrational.
All my life, I have never been about following a crowd or chasing down what is popular in society. This is what fake fans do. They don’t really know why they’re cheering, they just know that they are and it’s “cool.”
Time to focus this down to one thing, for now. The Toronto Blue Jays. Over the years, when people who don’t watch sports talk about the Blue Jays, the narrative is always the same, “Oh, the Blue Jays suck.” “They never make the playoffs.” Yes, they are right. But, I hate people like this. They don’t watch the games. They don’t know anything about the players. They don’t know WHY they suck. And they certainly don’t know how hard it is to make the playoffs. If they did, maybe they’d be a bit more understanding to the situation. I am offended when I hear stuff like this because I know how many hours I have dedicated to sports.
Since when does a team have to be good for you to watch them play? If you think this, you are a fake fan.
I am mad at the people who question why Munenori Kawasaki was sent to the minors earlier this season. “Why would they send him down? Everyone loves him!” Shut up. People don’t understand that some players have “options” and others can be lost through waivers if they are sent to Triple-A. I love Kawasaki as much as the next person, but is he a great player? No.
Now, if people made the argument that the Jays actually have a better record when Kawasaki is here than when he isn’t, then maybe I’d agree with them. But they don’t make this argument because they don’t know their facts. And they don’t know their facts because they don’t go home and watch every game at night.
I am not suggesting that casual fans should have no opinion about anything related to sports. I am saying that they should be honest with themselves and with others. For example, I don’t know much about movies. I haven’t seen many movies. Therefore, I don’t go around acting like I know everything about movies. If someone is talking to me about a movie I haven’t seen, I’m not going to pretend to agree with them and nod my head and laugh. No, that is just stupid.
I understand that people were excited by the Blue Jays this year, but I feel like some people are excited just so that they are included. No one wants to be left out nowadays. Don’t believe me? Well then why do so many people worry about how many Facebook friends or Twitter followers they have? Exactly. I see people “cheering” for the Blue Jays that I have known for many years. It wasn’t until this year that I knew that they even knew who the Toronto Blue Jays were. Funny how that happens.
I have very little time and respect for people who say generic phrases like “this team sucks” or “this team is amazing.” If you can’t tell me why they suck or why they are amazing, you are just pretending. Name some stats. Name some players. Name some injuries. Name something that proves you know what you’re talking about.
I just want people to appreciate sports as much as I do. Is that so much to ask? And if it is, then don’t lie to yourself or to the educated fans around you and act like you know everything. Because you don’t and when you make a trade suggestion or voice an opinion, you sound ridiculous.
This happens with every sport and it bothers me every time. The Super Bowl might be the worst case of fake fandom in the world. I see people who don’t even know what a first down is, watching the Super Bowl just to be a part of the gang and the party. Then they have the audacity to post a Facebook status cheering for the team they want to win. They don’t even know 3 players on the team! Stop it. You give me nervous twitches.
I could be way out of line with everything I just said and I shouldn’t care so much, but I do. I think that if you watch sports, you should appreciate them and try to learn about them. If you choose not to learn about sports, that is perfectly fine. There are a lot of things I don’t care to learn, either. However, the difference is, I don’t pretend to know something I don’t, or try to fit in where I don’t belong. Sometimes it’s best to keep your uneducated opinion to yourself and your Facebook status off of everyone else’s news feed.
I feel better now.