Why The Internet Hates Sports

Look, I’m well aware that this post would have been more effective had it been posted a week ago before NFL Super Bowl XLIX. I don’t control current events, however, and as soon as I saw that Michelle Obama had a “wardrobe malfunction” while visiting Saudi Arabia I knew I had to cover it [no pun intended]. So imagine, if you will, that we’re in the days leading up to the most-watched sporting event in America. People are already beginning to build the foundations of their dozen-layer dips and comic artists are churning out strips like the following Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

The joke being, hahaha, “geeks” [whatever that term even means anymore] don’t like sports! Not only do they not like sports, they don’t understand them! The concept of other people being excited about people physically competing against each other is completely illogical in their minds. Moss of The IT Crowd is a man who beat every record on the British gameshow Countdown and here is how he views [European] football:

Series 4, Episode 2

Let me throw a few more examples your way and get my image quota finished up in the first half of this post. The following two pictures lampooning sports commentary and people who cheer for sports, respectively, were posted to reddit [click on them to link to the comments section for each]:

There’s willful ignorance present here, sure enough, but also an obvious
undertone of disdain. “Sports are dumb, how could anyone possibly be interested in them, et cetera.” By “obvious undertone of disdain” I of course mean “overt hatred”. Buzzfeed wrote up a great list that walks the line between utter garbage and legitimate, serious reporting in that it presents some reasonable thoughts without really exploring them in too much depth. Logan Rhoades, in “5 Reasons People Hate Sports — That Sports Fans Secretly Understand” has his ultimate reason as:

they remind people of childhood trauma

The hilarity of that little kid being beaned by a dodgeball aside, there’s an incredible amount of truth in that: the more physically fit you were in elementary school the higher the chance you were popular. That extends to high school and beyond, of course, as star athletes often lounged on the apex of the social pyramid. Most people who spend the majority of their free time on the internet [perusing reddit, imgur, etc.] don’t have positive experiences interacting with those sorts of people. At the very least, they don’t have a lot to relate to when it comes to being in that position.

Gordon and I discussed “nerd culture” at the tail end of 2012, and while we fundamentally disagreed on most things we did more or less conclude that this group who was once on the fringes of society [I suppose that descriptor could be debated] is a vengeful one. That’s a strong word, but a lot of our conversation covered “fake geek girls” and those who decried their existence, often using words I don’t feel like typing out today.

Everyone likes an underdog story, except that it’s the once-socially-downtrodden, such as they are, who now control the internet. There’s a bias so unsubtle that every once in a while a meagre backlash can be seen, such as this person who observed that the following is “Imgur’s general attitude towards sports”:

I write all of this as someone who only really started watching sports a couple of years ago, and who infrequently catches them on at present [I don’t have a TV or cable]. Surprisingly enough I began with one of the least exciting ones in existence, barring golf:

The handshakes are one of the most entertaining parts.

That’s right, Major League Baseball. And I got into it for the same reason that I got into the National Basketball Association, that being that my city was being represented. At the core of it there’s a rush in having your team, whichever one you’re rooting for, defeat the other, especially if it’s against all odds. Of course, the Raptors’ making it to the playoffs last year didn’t hurt either.

Five years ago I didn’t even know what the word “posterized” meant.

Look, I am a person who spends a good portion of his spending money on comic books [soon this will be mine] and who postponed writing this post due to the hubbub about DC’s most recent shakeup and Marvel’s newest all-female Avengers team, for all intents and purposes I suppose you could define me as a nerd. The thing is, I don’t bear sports-lovers any ill will whatsoever.

The reason for that is because, not that I was socially sidelined by athletes or anything as a kid, I don’t believe in repaying evil with evil [to put it strongly]. Just because other people like me may have been ostracized for their passions, whether they be Star Wars or whatever, doesn’t mean that I in turn need to hate that which the offending parties love. That is illogical, limiting, and frankly kind of immature.

It’s fine to have a little fun when it comes to that which we can’t really relate to, but it never has to descend to meanness [all of the examples I’ve posted have been the milder ones]. We’re all entitled to enjoy different things, and at its heart sports aren’t any kind of harmful pastime [the associations that rule them on the other hand…], whether they’re being played or watched.

As the final words of the comic I’m concluding with state, I want to reiterate that there are aspects within professional sports that are worthy of criticism. Let’s focus on those, and not the actual games themselves.

Sports Interview

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