Sports culture is a funny thing. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it, but it can be wild. The main reason I am drawn to sports is because of the communities that surround teams and programs. I have met and become friends with amazing people because we liked the same team or, in some cases, rival teams.
One thing that’s funny about the sports community though, is that a large part of it is proving your worth. There’s this huge gap between people who tolerate sports and people who love them.
You don’t meet that many casual fans who are like, “Yeah, I like sports, but I’m mildly informed and have no opinions on anything.”
When I was first getting into sports, this gap totally freaked me out. I felt like I couldn’t say I liked sports without people asking me about my opinion or asking me to prove why one team was my favorite over another. (The fact that I was a high school girl that didn’t really look like the type of person who would like sports didn’t help much either, but that’s a whole other conversation.) And if, God forbid, I disagreed with someone or didn’t have all the stats straight, I was sent to that exile where all the “fake sports fans” go.
As I have gotten more knowledgeable about sports, my fears of ruining my precious sports fan reputation have eased up. I am confident in my opinions and okay with not knowing every single stat.
But as someone who got into sports later in life and had many questions early on, I realized that it would be nice if some fans would ease up a little. I began to understand the nuances of certain sports by asking tons of questions to people who were more than willing to explain things to me.
However, I have witnessed a ton of situations in which someone was made to feel stupid for not understanding how a game or certain call worked. We as a sports community should be trying to attract more people, to show them the awesomeness of it instead of shutting them down.
To be fair, I give my friends rubbish all the time about their favorite team or player, and trust me, I get a lot of it back. I’ve never had a problem with this sort of banter because it’s never insulted my intelligence as a human. I’m never made to feel stupid because I’m a Pats fan and am friends with an alarming number of Giants fans. (Side note: why are they all Giants fans?!)
To all the future sports fans out there, don’t be afraid to ask “stupid questions” if you don’t get something. All sports fans had to learn the rules at some point and had to ask questions too.
There’s always going to be jerks at parties who make you feel stupid, but right behind them is someone willing to talk it out and explain everything to you.
The sports community is a wonderful place full of lots of wings, banter and great friends.
Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.