I’m no chode, by God, and I will NOT be exiled from the action. So I talk sports. Problem is, my knowledge of sports is almost nonexistent. So how do I do it? How do I talk for hours on end and convince people that I’m up on the latest in athletics? And more importantly, how can you?
PRESENTING CHRIS’ GUIDE FOR TALKING SPORTS (WHEN YOU KNOW NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT SPORTS)
“He’s a Good Player”- This one phrase is perhaps the most important sentence you can ever utter when forced to engage in a conversation about sports. Chances are, the athlete being discussed in indeed a good player, and as such, the person who brought up said athlete will speak positively on end about him. This will allow you time to pay attention to the details and try and figure when to insert one of the gems to follow. However, in the off chance that the athlete being discussed is NOT actually a good player, don’t panic. Just tell the person you were being sarcastic. Everyone will get a good laugh and you’ll come across as someone with keen insight indeed.
“Their Defense Could Be Tighter”- There will be times when someone will ask your thoughts on a specific team. Your first inclination will be to be panic as you don’t know one athlete from another, let alone what teams they're playing for. But no worries, all you have to do is say “Well, their defense could be tighter.” This is perfect as it’s not only noncommittal, but it’s also true. Unless the Patriots have recruited the 300 Spartans, no one has a perfect defense. No one. And even the most passionate team follower will have to admit that, yes, as perfect as the home team is, their defense could indeed be tighter.
“That Was Something Else”- If you choose to fake knowledge of sports, be prepared to be asked if you saw a specific game. Most likely, last night’s. Most posers tend to fall a part at this point. What kind of game was it? Was it a big game? Did something spectacular happen? What the hell were they even playing? Did a tiger get loose on the field? I don’t know what happened? Don’t panic! And for the love of God, don’t try to guess what happened. Just affirm that you saw it and say it “was something else.” “Something else” can be so many things. It can indicate that you did see that spectacular show of athleticism, it can mean that it was hard fought by both sides or can mean that it was boring as hell. It was something else. Like I said, most sports people just want to hear themselves talk anyway. They don’t care if you actually saw the game. They just want to rehash it themselves. All you have to do is say the right trigger to keep the conversation moving, and “That was something else” is a powerful one indeed.
“He has/does not have heart”- Sports fans love to talk about heart. Heart can make their pants tight or their blood burn. Heart is a way of saying losers are worth rooting for. Accusing someone of not having heart is an excuse to hate him even though he has more athletic prowess than most in the game will ever possess. You can only bring up heart when the conversation has caused a rift to form in the room and everyone assembled calls for you to choose a side. How do you choose which side to fall on? Easy. Identify the side with the loudest asshole and go the opposite way. "Come on!" the asshole will cry out. "How can you like that piece of shit?" "Easy," you'll say. "He's got heart." Once everyone is united against the asshole, you can let others carry the bulk of the conversation, and go back to “he’s a good player” as a means of supporting the dude you purport to support.
“You’re a racist”- Sometimes people will catch on that you don’t shit about sports and attempt to call you on it. Not only that, but they'll go about it by being a complete asshole and go for the jugular as happened to me very recently. Sometimes they’ll ask the race of the athlete being discussed. Yes, as a fan, this should come easy. But you’re not a fan. But they might be a racist. Call them to task on it. Ask them what race has to do with the game in the first place. Accuse them of letting outdated mindsets cloud their love of the game. Tell them they're part of the problem and proof positive that as a country, we still have such a long way to go. Then, politely recuse yourself from the conversation and walk away. You're now not only known as a passionate sports fan but a man (or woman) of high moral fiber. Respect all around.
There you have it. You now have the tools to fake an actual conversation about sports. But believe me, just having the tools doesn’t make you a master. Like any other skill, mastery takes practice. Start by dropping a “He’s a good player” here and there and see where it takes you. You’ll know when the time is right to move on. And remember, never feel like you can’t walk away from a conversation. In fact, sometimes disengaging is the best course of action you can take, especially if a subject is about to turn violent. After all, one man’s good player is another’s symbol of all that is evil in sports.