Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I Hate Sports

UPDATED

Ok, maybe that is a tad strong, but that is the general sentiment I've had for most of my life. And though I've never been particularly good at sports, that isn't the reason I felt this way. Which makes sense, because I'm sure there are millions of men who are not particularly good at sports who are, nonetheless, rabid sports fanatics.

No, for me, what I have always hated is watching sports, and not so much that, but the huge emphasis placed on sports starting from a very young age. I hated seeing so much time and effort put into sports and sporting events, making small celebrities out of the athletes while at the same time, those who were in school for the actual purpose of school - to be educated, were sidelined. I hated seeing all those letter jackets for the sports people when there were no equivalent letter jackets for scholastic achievement or even for those who excelled on the debate team or other intellectual teams for the school. (And again, this isn't because I wanted such recognition - I was never on any of the scholastic teams.) It seemed to me to be sending the wrong message - a focus on the wrong priority. You are told to do well in school, but then those who do so are ignored and sidelined as nerds while those who do poorly but can throw a ball are heroes.

Now, this has probably handicapped me for life socially, because apparently all men are supposed to be able to relate to each other through talking about sports. But I have no interest in sports and know nothing about any teams or players and never watch any games. This might be perhaps why I don't make many male friends, at least, fewer than average. And why with women friends I have I never seem to connect much with their husbands or boyfriends. I don't know the code words, I don't seem to have anything in common - and if there is something in common buried beneath the surface - well, men aren't generally very good at finding such things, which is probably why the default topic between men who don't know each other well is sports.

I remember going on an interview for a summer associate position with a large, prestigious firm when I was in law school. I had made it through round one, but then came round two with a parade of lawyers asking me things, and then the interview lunch with several of the younger associates. The whole topic through lunch was sports and I had nothing to say. They did bring up something about another season of "Survivor" coming on, and that, at least, I was familiar with -I like that show. But all I got in response to mentioning that was a dismissive disdain for it as now no longer being "novel" so not worth watching. Only later did I realize that such a statement was ridiculous from people talking only about sports - sports are no different than survivor. All sports are reality TV, playing the same game over and over. That's all Survivor is. It is just a game of intellectual skill and manipulation, not athletics (though athletics obviously play a role). In any case, I knew after that lunch I would probably not get the position, and I didn't. If I were a woman and a feminist, I might blame the ever elusive, mythical "patriarchy" that allegedly controls all. But I am a man. I can't say for sure that was the reason I did not get the position, but I'm sure it certainly played a role. And it had nothing to do with gender.

If I were nakedly ambitious, I might just fake it, learn about sports, force myself to pay attention to it, and then talk about it in such situations, but I'm not very good at faking interest in something. I've also since determined that I'd probably never want to work for a large firm anyway, though it isn't just large firms where sports interest would be useful. Hopefully it won't handicap me too much in my profession in the future.

Now if anyone wants to talk about gaming (Dungeons and Dragons!), or politics, or religion - well, I can get into all sorts of trouble there, but I won't have to fake any interest.

UPDATE: One thing I forgot to mention was where my lack of interest in sports originated. I think it is basically because my dad seems to have no interest in sports. Which just goes to show you that alot of what we are is shaped by our environment. My mother, on the other hand, is a rabid College Basketball and Football fan - but only for her school. And so, not too unsurprisingly, my sister is also much more interested in sports, and she was the jock in the family. She taught Physical Education in high school and she's a black belt in Tai Quon Do. As you might imagine, this also gave me a different perspective on men and women growing up, one that took years for me to figure out wasn't the general case. I will probably post about my different perspective at another time.

62 comments:

David said...

Holy cow - I feel as though I could have written this post myself. (I would replace the law firm interview lunch with any number of other business lunches - but other than that it's the same.) Thanks for writing this out. I'm 39 and married with two young kids. It is refreshing to hear another guy say he doesn't like watching sports or celebrating what sports seems to represent in our society. Personally, I enjoy participating in various sports, but watching them on television is so boring, so lazy. And then talking about them ad nauseum? Come on. Get a life.
Truth be told, I've always thought that people who love watching and talking about sports simply weren't too smart.
Thanks again for this post and for the whole blog - great stuff.

Robert said...

I'm right there with you, although I don't even have the excuse that my parents didn't like sports, my Dad is a huge football fan.

I hate watching sports, nothing could be duller. I enjoy a good game of softball, but then I'm actually out there playing. I play paintball, and I love tabletop gaming (Shadowrun tops D&D though... hah!)

I must have gotten lucky though, I have plenty of male friends (who don't have my sense of revulsion towards sports, but we have other things in common). But I do agree that I think I have missed out on career opportunities because I couldn't talk sports. I was passed over for a promotion by a much less qualified guy simply (I believe) because he loved the Raiders, and my Boss did too. They were then working in the same area and basically BSed about the Raiders day in and out.

But I think there are more guys that don't like sports then people realize, we just don't often advertise the fact.

DBB said...

Yeah, that is probably true - there probably are lots of guys who aren't into sports, though probably the stereotype about that is the classic 'nerd' stereotype (which I embrace just because) - with a strong implication that one is not a 'man' if one isn't into sports. Which, of course, I dispute.

And Shadowrun - yes, I enjoy that as well - ran it for many years, 1st-2nd Ed, but then haven't since then. Haven't even looked at 3rd or 4th ed, though I admit I have the books. (Just didn't have time - law school and all).

Mr K said...

Yeah I'd have to agree there, all through my life I have had to deal with people who are obsessed with sports... I just don't care.

Gong said...

i am into "certain" sports, so i cannot say that i am not into sports altogether. i tend to like watching individual sports (love most of the olympic events that are individual-focussed), and i was a serious tennis player when i was younger, and was even thinking about turning pro when i was in college.

and then, i discovered books.

Anonymous said...

I have the same feelings as you on this. I have never liked sports. Watching them is boring, playing them is only fun if you are with friends, and then it is not for the sport but for the friends. The part I hate the most is how much people talk about them. Every time the Superbowl comes around I have to find out which team is playing which team and at least one player, otherwise I will have nothing to talk about with some of the people I talk to.

ballgame said...

Great post, dbb. I'm not quite as averse to sports fandom as you, which definitely helps out with my relationships with some of the guys I work with. Sports does provide a politically safe (that is, utterly meaningless) topic to cheer, commisserate, joke, and argue about.

My real passions -- left wing politics, gender egalitarianism, and general artsy fartsiness -- are a lot more problematic to share with guys I work with.

Robert said...

If you like 2nd edition, 3rd is basically just a streamlined version. The 3rd edition sourcebooks are great in that they give all the mechanics to designing everything you would want int the system. Ie: the vehicle book has the rules for designing vehicels, the weapon book has rules for making guns etc...

4th edition is a complete new rules system, and while it does spped up play, it also looses some flavor...

Discussing the merits of roleplaying systems in a thread about hating sports seems somehow appropriate.

DBB said...

I would worry about loss of flavor. One of the things I LOVED about the Shadowrun game was it was just DRENCHED in flavor. I liked the little quotes they'd have with contacts where they'd use their manufactured future slang, "chummer" being one of my favorite words there.

One of these days I'll crack open those books and take a peek.

And yes, there is some sense in talking about gaming in a thread about a dislike for watching sports.

cornucrapia said...

I'm in the same boat. I enjoy playing some sports (I'm doing rec soccer once a week these days) but as for watching them? How incredibly boring. Living in Calgary during playoff season is damn near intolerable. You'll see bankers wearing Flames Jerseys, it's like the dress code is either suit and tie or jersey, bizarre. The only "sport" I enjoy watching is skateboarding, and to a lesser extent other extreme sports. But they're different from general sport coverage in several ways. Most importantly is the artistry of the filming, even if you don't know what a fakie heelflip is you can appreciate the stunning camera work and acrobatics. In Canada, at least where I went to school we don't have letter jackets or anything for any particular sport or group, which is nice, but EVERYONE played hockey so there was still definitely exclusion if you weren't a jock.

Bruno-X said...

Thanks for writing this. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only hetero male that does not like sports.

It's so hard for me to comprehend such irony... that fantasizing about men and praising their trivial achievements ad nauseam is considered by men and women alike to be most masculine. I'd rather talk about this girl or that girl and how I'd like to F the cr@p out of her.

bruno-x said...

Oh, and by the way, sports fans... while you're grabbing ass with all your other male friends talking about men in tights handling balls, I'm contemplating how to get into your girlfriend's pants, whom you've left all alone.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way as the poster about sports. I never cared about them. And the social awkwardness I experience almost everytime someone speaks because I don't know anything about sports annoys me to no end! But I don't care. I'd rather lose the power to speak than watch even five minutes of football. Oh--I am a hetero male. But, on the bright side, I have learned that there are a lot of us out there who don't give a damn about sports. It's just that admitting it is something akin to saying that you eat bugs. People don't know what to make of you. And most of us don't want to admit that we eat bugs. ;)

DBB said...

I'm now rather unapologetic about my disinterest (and sometimes dislike) of sports. But it still handicaps me in multiple social situations. I can't fake it (nor would I).

CG said...

I was surfing the web and found your article. I cant express how much I agreed with what you expressed. I, too, have not been able to develop an interest in sports, and have been always dismayed by the degree ofimportance given to sports by seemingly every segment of this society. It wouldnt be nearly so bad if there were was some proportion to it, or at least some refuge from it somewhere, but sports mania has become inescapable. It actually makes me a bit depressed when I think about it, I guess primarily because the unthinking mania for sports so often causes an excessive regard for things that really just shouldnt be so important, and an equivalent neglect for things that really should be treasured more. And when one makes an effort to complain about it, one all too often gets a dismissive "brush off", as if the mere idea of disliking sports or questioning its excess did not merit being taken seriously.

Perhaps the only thing that can be done until things change (and dont hold your breath for that anytime soon) is to at least express these feelings, and let there be the occasional statement of disapproval of this mania, amidst all the unthinking obsession.

Anonymous said...

I think that sports/PE should be removed from schools entirely.

Athletics is no place for an intellectual environment such as school--if you want to do sports, do the same thing that everyone who plays any sort of game other than athletic ones has to do and do them outside of school. It's absurd that these time-wasting activities can be used as reason to gain favor in the admissions process, when being a master of something considered trivial--such as rubix cubing, yoyoing, or any video game--is ruled out as a quirky hobby. Games, especially RPGs, puzzle games, and others are highly intellectual and mastery of those, especially highly competitive ones such as Starcraft, may relate more closely with academics than sports would. (anecdotal: one of the smartest students I've known--highly healthy, able to bench 400lbs, breezed through quantum physics--was a gosu-level Starcraft player.)

The most common argument for keeping sports/PE classes in school is that they provide exercise. Sports are to exercise what RPGs are to reading: they provide it, but not as much as pure exercise or pure reading would. If you want to get the most out of exercise, make a strict program for cardio/weight lifting. The exercise in sports isn't focused. In fact, a video game like DDR may actually be better for exercise because you can play in controlled, timed intervals while knowing exactly how many steps you've placed per song. This is the main excuse for keeping sports in schools, and it's a weak one. Standardize some classes that would teach kids how to exercise/eat effectively and you'd save a thousand or two hours.

The problem with complaining about sports is that people equate having a disinterest in sports with being unhealthy, unathletic, lazy, etc, which is highly untrue. I follow a strict meal plan, literally eating the same meals scheduled at the same times every day, with no complaints due to the health benefits they provide, as well as exercising on a daily basis--it's not an issue of health, it's an issue of making a hobby, which is what sports are, something more than a hobby by allowing them to be used for admission or recognition in an intellectual environment.

As far as I know, the shock of reducing sports to hobby status is an American thing. In Germany, sports are given hobby status by schools, as is music and other extra curricular activities, though I don't know if German colleges use them as factors for admission. However, the top American colleges are the world's top colleges, which makes admission based on excellence in sports a poblem. Either make every other kind of competitive activity (gaming, yoyoing, rubix cubing, to name the former examples) equally recognized in schools or remove the ability to use them as credit. Right now, all it does is waste the time of students that should be spent learning.

GreggOrange said...

This country's obsession with sports, pro sports, sports celebrities, sports heros, etc., is insulting to my intelligence. It is also very indicative of just how culturally backward and stupid we have become as a society when what really matters to us is who wins the Super Bowl or the World Series when a huge segment of the world's population is starving, we are destroying the enviornment for our children, we are fighting a war in the Middle East that has bankrupted our economy and America is going down the tubes. We are busy placing tremendous emphasis on organized team sports on our children from an early age on and we are spending countless millions of dollars on sports programs in our public schools because it teaches "good sportsmanship", "competiveness" and "keeps kids in shape". Other countries are making a complete mockery of us because their kids are far surpassing us on every intellectual level and we are rapidly losing our competitve edge in the global marketplace because we are more concerned with teaching our kids to worship Micheal Jordan and throw a ball around than we are teaching them something truly useful to improve themselves intellectually and become productive, useful members of society. Sports is nothing more that trivial entertainment and should be regarded as such. When we as a society praise and regularly participate in this absurd Roman gladitorial arena spectacle called pro sports and continue to shell out exhorbitant amounts of dollars so that some pro quarterback can make 20 million dollars a year to toss a ball a few yards with the utmost precision we are ultimately the ones to blame. Sports figures are generally just as bad of role models for our kids as drugged out rock stars, egomaniac Hollywood movie stars, thuggish rap "musicians" that advocate violence, drug abuse and general stupidity as well as a host of other "celebrities" that are altogether undeserving of their status. Let's get our priorities in line and start putting our dollars in the pockets of individuals that can really make a difference in our society and perhaps improve the quality of life for not only us but our children as well in the future. Teachers, scientists, innovators, forward thinking intellectuals, agriculturists and other true leaders in our society are the ones that should be given merit and big salaries. But that probably doesn't matter to you, you've got season tickets in the luxury booth and you are getting ready to pop open another Coors and scream at the top of your lungs because a bunch of huge, aggressive muscle bound guys in tight pants just got a first down. That's what matters to you. This country is doomed!

justme2 said...

I hate sports, and I'm so glad that I'm not alone. To me, sports is almost pointless, and for the life of me, I cannot fathom how society has placed soooo much value on it. It's like someone telling me to accept 1 + 1 = 5; it just doesn't make any sense to me. Sports to me is equated to caveman behavior. Don't get me wrong because I consider myself to be in very good shape: I lift weights, do cardio, stretch, do martial arts (self-defense NOT sports), but I never do any sports. Somehow, bouncing a ball around, throwing it into a hoop, and running up and down, just can't compare to say, using wavelets for human voice recognition, or using an imperative, context-free language to write an operating system, or using the genomic sequence data of the human genome to discover cures for cancer, or using a million-count transitor IC chip to design a processor capable of executing millions of instructions per second. I'm looking at sports on the one hand, and these other things on the other. Humm, no contest. Sports suck.

Heatherrivity said...
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DBB said...

Yes, those sports assemblies are terribly annoying. I only ended up being forced to attend one of them when I was in High School and fortunately I figured out pretty quickly that I could slip out and go home early.

Pretty much everyone I work with at my new job is into sports, so I hear alot of talk about it around the office from everyone (men and women). But they also are respectful of the fact that I have no interest in it whatsoever - in fact, my boss's boss asked me in a friendly manner if I pay attention to sports at all, rather than the usual (which is just assuming that I do). And I felt comfortable enough to say that I really didn't.

George Estremera said...

I could write a long post like this too, but suffice it to say I grew up being expected to be an athlete only because sports were popular.

George Estremera said...
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George Estremera said...
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Craig Storm said...

Interesting take. I have a different view than you, which I express on my blog. But there's nothing about Survivor there. At least not yet. :)

hb said...

I hatred of sports stems from an evil 5th grade coach. If you weren't playing basketball, football or baseball you were a "momma's boy" sentenced to drop and do twenty pushups at the slightest provocation. I always hated seeing jocks getting favors for poor grades while we smart, honor roll guys were treated like crap by the jocks. I feel vindicated when I see some moron confess to steroid use or cheating, the same way I feel when I see a "family values" politician get busted for soliciting a bj in a rest area.

mw said...

awesome. Pretty sure you'd be popular with women who dreaded that ex-bf that knew only how to burp and drink beer.

Gotta say I don't fit the stereotype of dressing up nor soap operas either. That bores me and feels fake as well.

Solarplexis said...
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Solarplexis said...

I know you posted this a looong while ago, but I liked reading this. It's nice to see more guys that don't like sports. I'll never understand why people are so obsessed with a sport they don't even play, with to many men that get paid way to much money. The whole things is boring and there are better things to do than sitting around every Sunday and Monday to watch them. And I completely agree about the sports people in schools getting all the recognition over people that are actually smart or talented musicians. They have something better to show than those playing a sport that doesn't require even as much talent and skill. Hell, I even think cheerleading requires more talent than most organized sports since it requires difficult stunting and flips (minus the pro football and basketball cheerleaders that don't much of anything but dance).

To be honest, I would never date a guy that was into sports to the point of having to stay home to watch the games, wearing team logos on clothing, and having the sports crap as part of their decora. Most of those guys seem to have similar personalities, and quite frankly I don't like those qualities. Give me an artistic guy who doesn't care for sports any day over a macho wannabe sports fan.

George Estremera said...

Thanks!

Andrew Fashion said...

Holy crap, my friends all think I'm crazy because honestly, I despise sports and absolutely agree. I would mention the same things to my buddies, how I think too munch focus is put on an overrated ball throwing game.

Brandon said...

I know this post is quite old, but I'd like to thank you for writing it.

The point you made in the beginning of the post stuck with me - about your reason for not liking sports.

I hate sports too, but I've always tended to tell myself that its ultimately because I've never been any good at them. But you're right...millions of sports tards are much less athletic than I am.

I'm in good shape, and I'm tall and fairly muscular from lifting weights. But I just hate team sports. I hate the arbitrary rules, the arbitrary rivalries...

I hate this vicarious sense of winnerhood, manhood even, that people get out of watching these overpaid clowns play games with each other. I hate that I can't point out the obvious absurdity and tedium of it without the concern of losing my friends.

I hate that I probably lost a job because I didn't pretend to care about my boss and his underling's obsession with baseball.

I hate that, as you pointed out, being a good student and actually learning in school got me sidelined and ignored while the illiterate, criminal, sub-70 iq ball bouncers and throwers got worshiped by everyone as heroes.

I hate that you can't even point that out without sounding like a "sore loser" or whatever.

It is a clear sign of a culture in decline when those who create, invent, and maintain it (especially a high-tech one like ours) are ignored while those who are closest to being turd-flinging simians are worshiped for playing games.

That was therapeutic.

DBB said...

Brandon - thanks. It is funny. This post has been one of the most commented on posts I've ever done, even now years later.

I think with all that you said, the sports fixation could be another symptom of why things are messed up in society - or rather, why they are messed up and not enough people seem to care to do anything about it. Bread and circuses, perhaps?

Of course, we all need diversions.

Mike said...

I also agree. I have nothing against people who are obsessed with sports. The only thing I ask is please understand not everyone feels the same way you do. Personally, I have better things to do with my time than spend 3+ hours watching over paid bafoons chasing a ball around. I mean seriously. These guys make more in a year than the vast majority of the people watching them will ever see in their lifetime. And they make no real contrubition to society. They play a game for a living. Its a sad state when athletes make millions of dollars and those that make civilized life possible are barely scraping by, losing their cars and homes. I would much rather spend time with my daughter or other members of my family. After all, isn't that what life is about?

multipsuedonymous said...

Hey DBB--I found your post by googling "we hate sports", & it turns out the rest of your blog is pretty interesting.
As we both happen to live in Michigan, I wanted to let you know that I have a short documentary on the high five (America's 2nd-favorite hand gesture)that's been nominated for a Michigan Film Award. It's a comedy that begins as an honest documentary & quickly devolves into a sort of indictment of organized sports in the decline of Western civilization. It will be playing at the Detroit Independent Film Fest March 12, 2011. It's called The High Five, & I doubt you've ever seen anything quite like it.
If you want more info, here's a link:
http://detroitiff.slated.com/2011/films/thehighfive_mikeheck_detroitiff2011
If you want to see the film without going to the festival, send me a message & I'll send you a private link.
Again, great blog & great article. I'll be back.

chrisamerson444 said...

This is absolutely sad in a lot of different ways.

First, intellectual capacity in no way reflects whether or not a human-being is active in sports; it's completely irrelevant.
For a lot of the previous posters who have brought up the comparison between sports and intelligence, the irony in your post is astonishing and you feed right into the ignorance you provide as reason.

Second, nature breeds us as MEN to compete. It's part of who and what we are as a species. We have been this way for thousands and thousands of years and evolution has yet to change this instinct because we live it in everyday life. From career opportunities to chasing down women - we compete.
Sports is essentially an outlet for the men in this world who understand and embrace this.

The fact that some of choose to take the view in which you do take is... telling.

George Estremera said...

chrisamerson, you're right. It doesn't have to do with intelligence. It just has to do with the individual's point of view.

Brandon said...

Chrisamerson444,

Your lack of ability to string together a coherent thought in
English is...telling.

No one is disputing the fact that evolution has wired men to compete with each other.

We are pointing out the absurdity of modern sports-professional sports in particular. You aren't "competing" with anyone when you are cheering on some overpaid buffoon to score a goal. He wouldn't look at you to spit at you...you are just his bitch.

There is absolutely nothing "competitive" or manly about being a sports "fan". Its just simple mindedness and submission masquerading at "manliness". Have fun with that.

Calvin Wallace said...

I hate sports too. Good post!

speakingrock said...

Check out Mark Dice YouTube video about the Super bowl is cancelled. It about sums it up for me. I think the vast majority of men have been brainwashed into becoming sports-obsessed drones. It's like they're being controlled and diverted from engaging in real-life activities and meaningful events. Rather than paying attention to significant world and national issues, they're (likely by design) being intentionally distracted by the media into focusing energy on meaningless games of tossing a ball around a field or court.

Katley said...

I found this while searching for people that hated sports, especially team sports. Sports on TV are boring in the extreme! And I don't like going to live sporting events, either.

What really kills me are the people who spend weekends in front of the TV watching football, basketball, soccer, etc. when they could be physically active themselves.

BTW I'm guilty of watching gymnastics and figure skating but to me they are athleticism combined with an art form.

I was one of those people who hated gym class and team sports for that very reason. I think an alternative physical activity, let's say dance, would have worked much better for me.

My favorite forms of exercise are walking, dancing and aerobics, and I consider myself physically fit. I think everyone should engage in a fitness routine.

It's amazing how many people who were commenting felt the same way that I do.

This was very well written...I couldn't have said it better!

John Preston said...

It is spelled Tae Kwon Do jackass. Since you misspelled it, it leaves me to believe you are completely full of it. If your sister was a black belt I am sure you would know how to spell it. You probably don't even have a sister. Your a liar and a fruitcake, seek help assclown.

John Preston said...

Oh, also, law school grad?! Ha! Fucking liar, your pathetic.

DBB said...

John Preston - wow, how bored must you be to post obnoxious comments on a blog as obscure as this.

I had no idea that having a sibling who participates in a particular foreign sport grants one the ability by osmosis to spell the phonetic English equivalent of that sport. I guess if Kobe Bryant has any siblings that can't spell "basketball", that means he's not really a professional basketball player.

Speaking of spelling, you said "your pathetic" when you likely meant "you're pathetic" - by your logic, does that mean I'm really not pathetic?

And as for my law degree (and licensure) my employer would be very surprised to find I was not properly a lawyer, despite all my credentials to the contrary (including working with some people who went to law school with me). Your powers of observation are incredible in that you can discern from an anonymous blog what someone's actual credentials are.

Given the stupidity and vapidity of your comments, I can only assume they were posted by a 'bot' as no human being that stupid would actually know how to post a comment on a blog. But thanks for your time!

Julia said...

the reason why you hate sports is because you didnt watch a real game, like football, and I am not talking about a stupid egg shaped eggball that americans play, but i am talking about real european football, which they call soccer in the USA. I feel like an outcast everywhere I go: at work, school, etc., because I dont discuss football and baseball... but i am proud of it. I stand up to what i believe in, i cherish my european roots and I do not wana beocme the rest of the crowd.
One other reason why I like watching soccer (i hate this word btw) games is because you feel a completely differen vibe, diff culture, diff atmosphere. International soccer can actually teach you cultire, history and educate about a particular country. Thank you

Mike said...

DBB - Thank you for the intelligent commentary on your disinterest in sports.

For years, my disdain for celebrity athletics seemed to be function of a series of bad experiences as a kid, but then as I grew older the hatred waned but the confusion deepened.

I've made my peace with my disinterest, and have managed some social bait and switches to keep my disinterest from holding me back.

However, my challenge now lies with my wife who was a sport junkie as a teen. When I met her, she wasn't terribly active with sports and we clicked. Lately, her passions have renewed full force, and she's been demanding that I "try" to appreciate it with her. I've leaned to refrain from judgmental commentary, but I can't bring myself to "care" about where the ball goes or how it gets there.

What the heck does a fella do with that??

DBB said...

Mike, the only thing you can do is be honest and tell her that you simply do not have interest in sports.

I suppose it is possible you may find something that interests you in it - statistics, maybe? Not that this would work with me.

Ultimately, you won't have 100% of your interests in common with anybody. If she wants to do sports stuff, that could be an activity she does with other friends, just like hopefully you have your own friends for activities she has no interest in. It is bad to do everything together anyway (I think) just because everyone needs space.

Team Gubler said...

Thank you SO MUCH for writing this. I am in high school now and constantly have to endure the senseless ramblings of stupid jocks (although, not all of them are COMPLETELY dumb). The rest of my family is a group of sports addicts, and they often tell me that education is not important when there is a football or hockey game on. That absolutely sickens me to the very core; how, exactly, can one accomplish anything while angrily spitting potato chips at a flat screen rectangle every Sunday?

Billy Bob Ndembu said...

Mike, I found your comments interesting. You say "I've made my peace with my disinterest, and have managed some social bait and switches to keep my disinterest from holding me back."

My problem is that, as a man, every time I socialize or meet another man it is automatically assumed that I know "what the score is" when I don't even know who is playing, and what sport it is. I don't want to waste my precious time filling my head with sports trivia, so I'm looking for ways to cope. I suffer from social anxiety and I avoid doing most things with men, because either I have awkward conversations in which I reveal no sports knowledge, or because I know that if a group of men sit together for longer than 10 minutes, the conversation WILL turn to sports, sometimes for 30 minutes or more. I sit there silent...

What "bait and switch" techniques do you use to help you out? I really need to know. Thanks!

everybodywhostrulycoolhatessports said...

Hmmm, you guys need to move to Los Angeles, or something.

I don't have any friends that like sports, all my close friends are guys, sounds like you're stuck in some weird twilight zone to me.

I would not for one second pretend to like sports, partly because not one ounce of my self-worth comes from other people's opinions of me, and also because I believe that being a MAN means standing firm for what you believe in: what you're into, and what you detest.

Never be shamed into submitting to buffoonhood again, brothers. ON WITH THE REVOLUTION!

everybodywhostrulycoolhatessports said...

Hmmm, you guys need to move to Los Angeles, or something.

I don't have any friends that like sports, all my close friends are guys, sounds like you're stuck in some weird twilight zone to me.

I would not for one second pretend to like sports, partly because not one ounce of my self-worth comes from other people's opinions of me, and also because I believe that being a MAN means standing firm for what you believe in: what you're into, and what you detest.

Never be shamed into submitting to buffoonhood again, brothers. ON WITH THE REVOLUTION!

George Estremera said...

everybodywhostrulycoolhatessports's comment rocks.

Jermzy said...

Wow- you are a 40 year old version of me. No really, I'm 16, an atheist, also libertarian leaning and I hate sports. It probably has something to do with the fact that I'm not very good at them, something I'd attribute to not being raised with sport in my life (either being taught how to play or watching a team). I guess I lack coordination. I also hate the team atmosphere- it's NOT supportive as if you don't do well, they'll hate you and want you off the team.

I possibly hate watching sports even more than playing them- what is so interesting about watching a bunch of grown men kick a ball around when they aren't me? They're successes do nothing to enhance my life, I don't get a shiny gold medal when they win and overall it's just ridiculosly boring to watch and try to figure out what on Earth is even happening on the screen.

Luckily for me I'm gay (not that I fill out any stereotypes, I'm more of a geeky gamer type) so I don't feel the need to live up to any "manly" expectations. Still, it's really great to know there are other people like me who actually enjoy entertainment that is entertaining.

Jermzy said...

Wow- you are a 40 year old version of me. No really, I'm 16, an atheist, also libertarian leaning and I hate sports. It probably has something to do with the fact that I'm not very good at them, something I'd attribute to not being raised with sport in my life (either being taught how to play or watching a team). I guess I lack coordination. I also hate the team atmosphere- it's NOT supportive as if you don't do well, they'll hate you and want you off the team.

I possibly hate watching sports even more than playing them- what is so interesting about watching a bunch of grown men kick a ball around when they aren't me? They're successes do nothing to enhance my life, I don't get a shiny gold medal when they win and overall it's just ridiculosly boring to watch and try to figure out what on Earth is even happening on the screen.

Luckily for me I'm gay (not that I fill out any stereotypes, I'm more of a geeky gamer type) so I don't feel the need to live up to any "manly" expectations. Still, it's really great to know there are other people like me who actually enjoy entertainment that is entertaining.

Jermzy said...

Wow- you are a 40 year old version of me. No really, I'm 16, an atheist, also libertarian leaning and I hate sports. It probably has something to do with the fact that I'm not very good at them, something I'd attribute to not being raised with sport in my life (either being taught how to play or watching a team). I guess I lack coordination. I also hate the team atmosphere- it's NOT supportive as if you don't do well, they'll hate you and want you off the team.

I possibly hate watching sports even more than playing them- what is so interesting about watching a bunch of grown men kick a ball around when they aren't me? They're successes do nothing to enhance my life, I don't get a shiny gold medal when they win and overall it's just ridiculosly boring to watch and try to figure out what on Earth is even happening on the screen.

Luckily for me I'm gay (not that I fill out any stereotypes, I'm more of a geeky gamer type) so I don't feel the need to live up to any "manly" expectations. Still, it's really great to know there are other people like me who actually enjoy entertainment that is entertaining.

Sonoro said...

I came to the conclusion that I never had an innate interest in professional sports early in life. I did try to sit and watch some in the TV but I got bored to no end. It is mind numbing to me, watching this predictable event for hours on. No matter what happens, a ball is thrown or carried around. One team is going to lose, and one team is going to win, that’s it. There is nothing else. Also, no matter who wins, it has no meaningful consequences in the real world. I really don’t comprehend what the obsession/interest is.
But I have a theory. It is the case of individuals with group mentality seeking approval by such group. That would explain why most sports fans cannot throw a ball 10 feet, but they are rabid about a professional match. Getting to know what’s happening in the TV game and coming to the group the next day to talk about it gives them the feeling of “belonging”. This is something I have noticed about the sport fans; it is the “us” vs. “them” mentality and most feel lost or insecure if they don’t feel that the “us” accepts them. So they consume sports to fit in.
Me, on the other hand (and like most people that don’t care about professional sports), don’t feel the need to behave a certain way to seek group approval. I am extremely independent minded about pretty much everything. I don’t really value anybody’s opinion about myself or what I do (other than my wife’s for obvious reasons). If people approach me to talk about “how about them Dogs last night”, I politely say that I don’t follow sports and if we can talk about something else. They usually look at me like if I just landed in a flying saucer and move on, but that gives me tons of satisfaction  . My boss and co-workers know that I don’t follow sports so they never come around chatting to me about inconsequential sports anything. They do value my contributions at work, a lot, so I don’t want to hear about the “if you don’t like sports you probably are not a team player” crap.
And don’t get me wrong. I do like some sports, but not professional sports. I do have an active life style. I’m in my fifties (people can’t believe I’m that old when they find out), well trim and fit through regular exercising.
What does all this mean? Be yourself; don’t pretend to like sports if you really don’t like them just to fit in. You will enjoy life way more if you don’t worry about what the score was in last night’s game. It’s not who you are.

Chip McGoogan said...

I feel the same way, thanks for posting.

It's highly depressing and hurts me to no end that I just won't get respect, or even the tiniest amount of politeness, from many people when they find out I don't give a what about sports.

I hate when the topic comes up and men start posturing and jockeying in an attempt to appear the most knowledgeable about sports, and therefore the most dominant.

I honestly start to view them as savages in a way when this conversation happens because you can hear the primal discussion going on : "I am man, are you man? let us do battle in the arena of sports knowledge".
Why can't they let battles happen when they actually need to, and keep it civil and open minded the rest of the time?
It's so arbitrary to associate manliness/worth with an interest in sports.

I'm athletic, i like playing sports, I love women, so wtf? Just because I don't waste my time watching a slightly different version of the same match every day single day I'm an outcast?
It's crazy how many opportunities are missed by men who can't shoot the breeze about sports.

I try to accept that God has a plan and that I must not be meant to be accepted by the sports crowd, because I'm definitely not going to fake it an start learning about sports. I'd rather eat 10 pounds of flour.


Ugh, I hope aliens descend from the sky and teach humans how to respect everyone no matter what and to stop behaving like a bunch of conditioned monkeys.

Chip McGoogan said...

I feel the same way, thanks for posting.

It's highly depressing and hurts me to no end that I just won't get respect, or even the tiniest amount of politeness, from many people when they find out I don't give a what about sports.

I hate when the topic comes up and men start posturing and jockeying in an attempt to appear the most knowledgeable about sports, and therefore the most dominant.

I honestly start to view them as savages in a way when this conversation happens because you can hear the primal discussion going on : "I am man, are you man? let us do battle in the arena of sports knowledge".
Why can't they let battles happen when they actually need to, and keep it civil and open minded the rest of the time?
It's so arbitrary to associate manliness/worth with an interest in sports.

I'm athletic, i like playing sports, I love women, so wtf? Just because I don't waste my time watching a slightly different version of the same match every day single day I'm an outcast?
It's crazy how many opportunities are missed by men who can't shoot the breeze about sports.

I try to accept that God has a plan and that I must not be meant to be accepted by the sports crowd, because I'm definitely not going to fake it an start learning about sports. I'd rather eat 10 pounds of flour.


Ugh, I hope aliens descend from the sky and teach humans how to respect everyone no matter what and to stop behaving like a bunch of conditioned monkeys.

Chip McGoogan said...

I feel the same way, thanks for posting.

It's highly depressing and hurts me to no end that I just won't get respect, or even the tiniest amount of politeness, from many people when they find out I don't give a what about sports.

I hate when the topic comes up and men start posturing and jockeying in an attempt to appear the most knowledgeable about sports, and therefore the most dominant.

I honestly start to view them as savages in a way when this conversation happens because you can hear the primal discussion going on : "I am man, are you man? let us do battle in the arena of sports knowledge".
Why can't they let battles happen when they actually need to, and keep it civil and open minded the rest of the time?
It's so arbitrary to associate manliness/worth with an interest in sports.

I'm athletic, i like playing sports, I love women, so wtf? Just because I don't waste my time watching a slightly different version of the same match every day single day I'm an outcast?
It's crazy how many opportunities are missed by men who can't shoot the breeze about sports.

I try to accept that God has a plan and that I must not be meant to be accepted by the sports crowd, because I'm definitely not going to fake it an start learning about sports. I'd rather eat 10 pounds of flour.


Ugh, I hope aliens descend from the sky and teach humans how to respect everyone no matter what and to stop behaving like a bunch of conditioned monkeys.

JoshLeyh said...

I'm in the same boat, I detest sports... I don't have a problem with school sports teams, it's good to give kids some options for after school activities and sports can build friendships. However, this activity should never interfere with a child's education and should never interrupt regular school hours.

I've never been a sports fan, my mom didn't care much for sports, but she'd watch a game with my dad. My dad was a big sports fan, he and I would occasionally watch a pro basketball game or baseball game. I was okay with basketball, but baseball was tough, that is just so boring to watch. As a kid, watching men 7 feet tall dunk a ball in a hoop is pretty cool, but when you grow up, you grow up, and you realize that those games should be for recreation. It's sickening to think how many millions of dollars cities donate so professional sports teams can build new arenas... I live in Minnesota, we recently had Target Field built, and are in the process of getting things ready for the new Vikings stadium... It's coming from taxpayer money, and it's so stupid. Sports are just mindnumbing...

I'm involved in the media, and in doing so, I have to pretend to take an interest in sports, which kills me a little on the inside. Catering to sports nuts and pretending I even care about stats just annoys me to the point where I just want to walk away.

In my group of friends, and my family, I am fortunate enough to be rather vocal about my opposition to sports and the role it plays in American society... This isn't because my friends and family relate, it's simply because I have no problem voicing my own opinion... Except for religion, they believe and I think it's all a fairy tale so I leave them alone on that...

But I have nothing against playing them, it's the pro sports with which I have a problem. Church softball, some friends playing basketball, whatever- it's all good. But something is wrong with society when grown men are wearing jerseys of other grown men who get paid millions of dollars to play with balls...

I'm just glad I'm not the only guy who hates sports.

Alan said...

Nice to find this old conversation which sums up many thoughts I have been having for years. I'm interested in two particular aspects: 1. what do people gain from watching sports and 2. how can I minimize the social and career damage of not watching sports?

Clearly watching sports provides many benefits since even smart and successful people watch sports:
1. Provides a hobby which can be emotionally engaging, predictable and limitless entertainment. Without this hobby, life could be very hollow.

2. Provides a way to engage with other people. I cycle in clubs which also provide a good social environment but most people, particularly males, have a hard time holding a conversation. I believe sports are the lingua Franca that everyone can talk about endlessly without actually having to challenge themselves.

3. Provides a connection to a geographic region, even though the players are more like mercenaries than representatives of a region.

4. Naturally, the prevalence of sports infatuation makes sports important for the work environment and promotion. As a tall white male who speaks native English, was born in the US and had the priviledge to attend a mediocre state university and grad school, I probably shouldn't complain if lack of sports appreciation has reduced my career potential, which I'm sure it has. I firmly believe that 1 key determinant of likability is having similar interests.

So, what do people do? I don't think that bluntly informing potential bosses that you have no interest in sports is a winning strategy, although it is transparent and when put on the spot I have regrettably made this mistake for multiple great jobs that I didn't get.

My current strategy has been the following:

1. I watch the final games at the end of the season, usually just 1-2 so I have something to say at the most important time even tho I don't claim to be a big fan.

2. I'm ready to divert the topic to tangential areas I find more interesting like trends in commercials, lack of pay for college athletes, and head injuries. I'm sure this doesn't buy me much cred but at least I'm not a complete alien geek.

3. I certainly don't share that the only person in my extended family that watches sports is severely mentally handicapped.

4. I should be aware of how my universities' teams are performing but that is too much hassle and I probably couldn't talk the talk anyway...

Any other strategies people employ?

Thanks!

Asseverator said...

In times of physical attack by a street gang, sports is useless. If however you knew martial arts and were good, your chances of survival goes way up. Now supposed you were diagnosed with cancer, you think if you called a famous baseball, basketball or football player, and they perchance came to see you, your cancer would suddenly disappear? Or how about sitting in jail awaiting trial for a crime you are truly innocent of. You think a professional sport jock can get you out of your criminal dilemma by putting in a good word for you since you attended every game your favorite national league teams ever played? What then is sports really for: entertainment, beer, hotdogs and gambling. Besides this it has no real intrinsic value.

Lord Duckbutter III said...

I agree with everything said so far and feel relieved I'm not the only sports hater in the world. As a child of a broken family, I (subconsciously) felt that I could have been the cause of my parents' breakup. This brought about an increase in my already developing reclusiveness and low self-esteem. My mother remarries and my step-dad, a kind hearted man who wanted to boost my self-confidence and sociability saw team sports as the only way to get me back on track. At the time I was merely indifferent to sports but have later developed a strong aversion to practically ALL sports, which has not served me well in social and workplace situations. It's hard to fake an interest in something you detest. I was more or less pushed into junior high football, a sport I could have been good at but failed miserably, not from lack of ability but rather from lack of interest. I have always had a cordial relationship with my step-dad and haven't resented his many unsuccessful attempts at getting me interested in sports, even as a spectator if not a participant. Most American males who are not interested in sports find a way to at least pretend they are as a necessity to make and keep friends and to get and keep a desirable job. Those who openly deny any interest are looked upon as "not a team player", "antisocial", even unpatriotic, or perhaps gay or a communist, or worst of all a "gay communist". At the very least being anti-sports is considered "un-American". I am none of the above but I consider watching a sporting event on television about as interesting as watching the second hand on a clock go around in circles. For years I felt guilty about not conforming to the sports crazed ethos of this country. I tried to mask my disinterest by learning a little about the players, scores, etc. so as not to be an "outsider", much like a gay person who thinks that with treatment and determination he can change his sexuality. Now that I'm retired I realize that I can be who I am without worrying about job approval or loss of friendships. May all the sports-averse people be allowed to live in peace and openness without fear of being ostracized.