Jun 10, 2005

Something THEY Don't Want You To Know #1: Sports Fans Are BIG Nerds

This is hopefully the first of many articles I want to publish here at Thoughtnami. It's just sporadic thoughts about things people rarely know about. Or at least things people don't really want to admit. It's basically a fun discussion, at least for me. I'm not an old man, but I have realized many things in this thing called reality. So, at least for the next couple of minutes, delve into a little bit of madness I'm calling Things THEY Don't Want You To Know.

I'm not a sports fan. Maybe that's because I live in the nation's largest metropolitan area without a major league franchise. Maybe it's because the players on the minor league teams in the area really don't want to be here, and it is kind of hard to root for a group of players that would rather be in Chicago or New York. Or maybe it's because a lot of people fully embrace the fandom of a team memorizing every little insignificant thing about every player, every game, and every other team out there.

Or maybe it's because sports fans and the general public at large laugh at science fiction and animation fans. When they see a bunch of Star Wars fans in full costume wait outside for a movie ticket, those fans are generally mocked. When you have diehard fans compiling what they know about a certain item, like an alien language, and publish books based on them, the public will basically call them freaks. When otaku and comic fans dress up like their favorite characters, they're often called geeks. The general public sees diehard fans of movies, comics, and anime as nerds.

Sports fans are nerds too. The general public just doesn't want to admit it. Afterall, nerdom is generally seen as a weakness, a lack of stability, and overexcitement and a bit of insanity over a particular subject. But, in essence, this also describes the average sports fan.

Every other month, sports fans have their own version of Otakon, E3, or Comic Con. Whether it's opening day of a certain franchise, a sports tournament, a big race, the playoffs, or the championship. For the extremely diehard sports fan, it could be a game against a rival team. These fans complain when their favorite team loses, celebrate when they win, and often discuss strategies their favorite team could and should have made for days after the games, not unlike fans of certain genres who congregate on fanboards, blogs, and websites. Sometimes, sports fans gather together, either at their homes or at the stadiums, arenas, or raceways, to cheer for their team or favorite player. Often, they even wear jerseys or outfits with either the team logo or a player for a team embrazoned on them (it's funny that people don't see the difference between a sci-fi costume and a team uniform).

Sports fans are more mainstream than genre fans, unfortunately. Sports talk radio is all over the AM dial, though not as frequent as shout radio. ESPN and Fox Sports Net are the two dominant sports culture channels in the US, giving former jocks and sportswriters outlets to complain, strategize, and talk about sports. Genre fans mostly have the internet, though sports fans are there as well courtesy of Sportsline, ESPN, Fox Sports, and CNN/SI. If there actually was a genre-specific television outlet in this country like Sci-Fi Channel was before the hammer shattered it to bits eliminating shows like Sci-Fi Buzz and Anti Gravity Room, that would be cool (G4 doesn't count because G4 still doesn't know what it wants to be [this week, they want to be Spike TV with shows that are mostly catered to viewers with a Y chromosome]).

The mainstream sees sports as the ultimate escape. Sports leagues and outlets eat it up as well. That's why they charge billions for broadcast rights. Seriously, did you know you could finance six seasons of three genre-based hour-long shows and a blockbuster film for what the NFL charged for four seasons of its programming? But sports fans are nerds. They care about things like statistics, just like nerds. Seriously, who needs to know how many yards a running back ran throughout their career or how many home runs a slugger hit in a single month for the entire decade? It's just as crazy as somebody knowing how many levels there are for a Super Saiyan or the model number of the Gundam piloted by Amaro Ray (or those who curse me out for mispronouncing them), but the public doesn't acknowledge that.

Genre fans don't blame failures on silly things like curses of dead players, clumsy fans in the stand, or a goat that couldn't go in a bar. Just bad writing, directing, or actors. Sports fans have it easy, and it is kind of unfair if you think about it. You don't really see fake people committing crimes or using drugs (unless it's in the script). Reality bites.

And sports fans are nerds. Tell it to the world.

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