How To Talk Knowledgably About Sports

It’s one thing to BS your way through a casual conversation about TV shows, but it’s a much trickier endeavor to try and feign interest around hardcore sports fans. They are often volatile and short-tempered, and any slip-up in facts or history will lead to a strong tongue-lashing and perhaps even a (friendly) stabbing. If you are not a sports zealot, you’ll need to have your wits about you when trying to fit in or impress your friends, so take note. We’ll have you shooting buckets in no time (baseball reference!).

  1. Use the correct terminology. Nothing angers a sports fan more then when others use incorrect lingo that is not compatible with the sport being watched. Find out what you’ll be watching, and quickly gather an arsenal of words that will be appropriate to throw out every so often. For example, don’t shout ‘Goal!’ when Lebron James dunks the ball, shout ‘It’s Good!’ Please don’t call it a Cricket ‘Game’,  it’s a ‘Match’, so call it ‘Indian Baseball’. Being well-spoken is the first step in hitting a home run (golf reference!).
  2. Statistics. In the movie Moneyball, Brad Pitt played Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane, a man who was obsessed with statistics to benefit his team. The thing about sports fans is, most of them think they’re Brad Pitt. And they’re also obsessed with statistics. If you can toss around a few numbers intelligently, you’re golden; you’ll be able to say whatever you want after that and no one will judge you. Wins/losses, PPG, RBIs, assists, etc. Brush up. If you’re struggling, make up an invented acronym and hope it flies: “Fun fact: The Mets are actually leading the league in LOTOTs this year – Losses Overall To Other Teams”. Knowing stats can make the least-knowledgeable of sports watchers seem like a regular Phil Jackson (rugby reference!).
  3. Go on the offensive. Non sports fans still worried about being exposed can quickly flip the switch in any convo, and turn the tables on their loud, face-painted alpha friends. Start throwing out obscure sports that your friends don’t know about, explaining that the Water Polo season this year has been insane, or how you’re flying out to London for the Snooker Championships in the fall. Sigh heavily when the more popular sports come on TV, and claim that all of them are “rigged” to favor the “big market” teams. Reiterate your support for pure “merit-based” events, and explain that you just learned how to use “quotation marks.” Your friends will dig your insider scoop, and once again, you’ll be serving steady aces (darts reference!).
Cow Tips!
*When in doubt, start crying about the premature death of Len Bias.
*Keep repeating: “Defense wins championships, but the best defense is a good offense, so who knows anymore?!”
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