How To: Sports

A mini guide on what to do when you can’t speak sports

“Moss: Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
Postman: What was Wenger thinking sending Walcott on that early?
Moss: The thing about Arsenal is, they always try to walk it in!”
-The I.T. Crowd

You there! Ever had your masculinity called into question because you preferred the Supernatural season finale to the Barclays Premier League? Were you made fun of by your guy friends when you wanted to watch Vampire Diaries instead of India’s tour of Australia? Were you thought to be stupid by your cousins because despite knowing all about Modi’s campaign, you didn’t know a thing about the last Grand Slam?

It’s time for a fix. It’s impossible to live in a sports filled world like today, where fifth-graders beat you in FIFA and old uncles laugh at you when you tell them you didn’t make an IPL fantasy league team. It doesn’t matter if you can play the sport better, you’ll still be ostracized for not following it.

What do you do when you’re put in the spot? Here’s what to do when you see a bunch of sports fans approaching you, ready to talk some sports.

Tactic 0: Question

Open with a timeless gem. “Did you see that game yesterday? Oh my god!”

Ladies and gentlemen, this never fails. There is ALWAYS a game that happened yesterday, and if by a freak occurrence there isn’t, you could always say you meant the day before yesterday.

Sporty sporters will advance, and talk animatedly about said game. Pitch in confidently with statements like “How did he hit that shot!” (Works with cricket, football, tennis – good shots, bad shots anything), “What was he thinking!” or “We’ll have to wait and watch to see how he does in the next match.”
Try to escape as these questions buy you a little time, but just in case you’re trapped in a heated analysis of yesterday’s match…

Tactic 1: Get Excited

Get hyped. Turn down for what?

If they talk about how good the passing was, go ahead with “Oh man! The passing! It was incredible! Haven’t seen anything like that forever!” If they talk about how good a keeper is at doing whatever a keeper does, say “That keeper is my FAVOURITE!”

Laugh a lot, Agree with people as much as you can, and show insanely high levels of emotion. Try walking away again. Wait a minute, they’re still blocking your way, and you’re running out of empty statements…

Tactic 2: Regurgitate

Repeat information.

Always keep some information on standby. For example, some bald important guy called Pep Guardiola said he hates “tiki-taka”. While this statement means nothing to me, it seemed to excite a great number of my sporting friends. This line was shared by a sporting friend from a different college, and it has served me well for the past few days. Likewise, always keep one piece of sports trivia that you can throw out there to seem knowledgeable.

And of course, if you can troll, TROLL. Talk about Torres always missing, or Terry sleeping around with his teammate’s wives. Call Wayne Rooney fat, and Messi overhyped. Say Ronaldo only plays solo, and Liverpool can never win. Watch people explode, and escape in the chaos caused by angry sporters.
Oh no. They didn’t take the bait. They just laughed. Now they want more of your views. Crap. It’s time to…

Tactic 3: Compare

Hopefully there’s one sport you follow, or at least one match you’ve seen in your lifetime.

It’s time for that memory to surface, and impress. Maybe this one time you were a kid, and your brother wasn’t letting you change the channel so you could watch Pokemon, thus you ended up having to watch the match between Manchester United and Southampton. Bring up said match, and say how it induced the love of football in you forever (even though it did the opposite). How watching Southampton play changed your life, and now you’re a Southampton fan forever.

Or maybe you watch tennis. Talk about how tennis players are greater because they have no one to depend on, while footballers can play badly as long as their team carries them to victory. Steadily steer the conversation to your forte, tennis. Ball’s in your court, time to smash.

Tactic 4: Accuse

Call them out for being fake fans.

Extremely risky, yet incomparably enjoyable as they flail around trying to defend themselves to YOU. Call them glory hunters, only supporting teams that win. Call them newbie fans, who’ve only started watching sports last month, and are trying hard to show off by spouting facts real fans neither know nor care about. Tell them to stop repeating information from the sports section in the newspaper. Target one guy and watch as they all turn on him, cross-questioning him, pressurising him. He will crack.

Wait a second, they asked you for your favourite player/team. Sheeeeit.

Tactic 5: Bandwagon

Watch the majority.

By default, if you don’t watch football, you can safely pick Manchester United. People will laugh, and start making fun of it. But wait, what’s this? Much like Eurotrip’s ending, a bunch of diehard fans are here to save the day! They will defend glorious ManU for you, saying things about Sir Alex, the Busby Babes, and consistency. These knights will start vehemently defending your team, and soon, it’ll be ManU vs non-ManU, and you shall be conveniently forgotten.

Remember son, always pick the team that everyone loves to love.

Tactic 6: Fake a call and run.

Nothing’s working?

It’s time for Fight or Flight. I’m assuming you’re not exactly a well-built six-footer who can throw punches, or you’d be sporty too, so it’s time to disappear. Oldest trick in the book. Pick up an imaginary call, pretend it’s an emergency and speed away from this socially awkward position.
Only use this when you exhaust options.

Go forth, disciple, and use this knowledge well. You need to bend your mind and adapt, but faking it successfully is not a stroll in the park. If these directions seem too tough for you, there’s a much easier alternative: you could just start watching sports.

Kartik Reddy

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