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FIVE STRIKES! YOU'RE OUT!



Thank God I didn't fight in World War II. I would certainly have been shot as a spy if I had been stopped by American soldiers and made to verify my citizenship by answering a sports triva quiz.

Know what I mean? --in all the World War II movies, when a suspicious looking soldier is discovered on the perimeter of the camp, usually at night, it went like this:


SOLDIER: HALT! Who goes there?

STRANGER: Um... it's me, Dave. Dave Kawolski from Baltimore. From the 214th Signal Ranger Battalion Squadron Camp.

SOLDIER: Oh yeah? How can I be sure you're an American and not just a German spy pretending to be an American? Who won the World Series?

STRANGER: the World what??

SOLDIER: BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!


I would've been a dead man. Because no matter how patriotic I was, no matter how many enemey soldiers I captured, no matter how many medals I wore, if I couldn't answer a random sports quiz, I'd obviously not be an American.

How did we come to associate a love and knowledge of sports with being an American? How did sports become such an accepted common ground that strangers on the street feel comfortable saying to me, "How 'bout the rangers?" or "What about that Johnson?". Why do they think that I know what they're talking about?

I answer and say, "That's a football team, right?"

And then, there's always that awkward silence. That social confusion as one person tries to figure out why the other person doesn't speak the same language. When it slowly dawns on the sportsman that I don't understand or know or care about football, he really doesn't believe it --that's just too wild and alien a thought. The sportsman thinks that I just slighted him, that I refuse to participate in his friendly social gesture. And that generates hostility.

The sports fan cannot comprehend that a fellow man is not really into sports. If he does finally realize that you really aren't being rude, and that you actually don't follow sports, he realizes he has stumbled upon a social oddity, a freak. The sports fan is stunned. From then on, you'll be avoided and shunned like a leper.

Telling someone that you don't like sports is like saying you don't like food or that you're a vampire. Except that not liking sports is worse.