There aren't many of us. We hang around indie coffee houses and comic shops, Banana Republic and Ed Wood marathons. We lie and feint and try bold face bluffs in social company; but overall we try to keep our mouths shut. We might catch a snippet here or there, gold mines of information that we can spend, ever so carefully, if cornered and trapped, prodding eyes and waiting ears aimed at us.
We shouldn't be ashamed, of course. In this pluralistic world where Puritans are no longer hunted and children aren't expected to put in a full 18-hour work day, people are pretty open to new ideas; there's no reason to hide it. But we can't help ourselves. What would our coworkers think? Uncle Ralph? What about Stan across the street? He'd never let us borrow his gas powered weed whacker again.
We are the sports idiots. ¹
I mean, we're not even the sort who only watches New Zealand rugby since we 'caught the bug' while backpacking across South East Asia. We don't have a casual interest in curling or bowling or NCAA hoops. We might know that Minnesota has the Vikings, we most likely won't know what sport it is.
It's a group of misfits and navel-gazers and general ne'er do-wells. We probably don't drink beer and perhaps harbour an absinthe addiction.
I'm sometimes relieved to find others like me. I feel a bit of me relax a little. My mind won't have to scurry into the warren of Transformers lore and 'The Fifth Element" lines to try and remember if Naslund is a Canuck or a BC Lion; or if it is indeed March Madness time, and what the hell we are mad about.
And, you know, invariably, I'm let down. This person will say, "Oh yeah, I don't really watch sports", and just as I start to breathe a sigh of relief and quip "WE ARE THE KNIGHTS WHO SAY NI!", they'll add, "Oh, but I love those Tennessee State Tigers! Go CATS! RAWR!".
I mean, I get it. The communal activity of the entire tribe rooting for a common cause. The shared language and experience that sport can bring. Even us sports idiots get pulled into that world when "our" team makes it to some playoff. But if that's hay you notice on our slacks, that's because we love us some bandwagons.
But we have never read a sports section. We have the merest grasps of what various sports rules mean.
And it's not like I think we sports idiots are better than people who watch sports. I'm not the proverbial progressive Mother Jones subscriber who has thrown away their TV and cannot shut up about it. I fully recognized that the nerdy and untoward things I'm interested have no more redeeming factors than sports. Maybe even less.
We sports idiots throw ourselves towards odd pursuits: stamp collecting, black and white manga about zucchinis, indie games released by lone programmers seeking to usurp the current industry power paradigm, marionnette fashion, beat poetry about Latin syntax. We are wide and varied.
We all share the common secret, though.
So if you see us, cornered at a BBQ, eyes filled with fear and darting from left to right, trying to figure out what the hell a "two-yard no-fault lateral offensive penalty" is, please feel free to distract, perhaps holler something like "Go Ti-CATS GO!"
1. For some reason, women are generally given a free pass on this. They don't need to know about sports. No one edges slowly away from them at the coffee machine if they can't speak cogently about 'that bullshit icing call'. Then again, you did have to go through that whole suffrage thing.