Know nothing about sports? Have friends who love sport and insist that you become accustomed to their way of life? Had enough of being put on trial by said ‘sport-loving friends’ for not being interested in the thing they hold most dear? Fear not oh un-sporty one. This guide will walk you through the things to say—and most importantly, the things not to say—while you face trial for sports treason.
DID YOU CATCH THE GAME LAST NIGHT? Never say this. I cannot emphasis this enough. In all likelihood there wasn’t even a game last night, but what’s worse than that is that there was, and you didn’t watch. Who played? Who won? What was the score? A thousand questions you almost certainly don’t have the answer to. Do not perjure yourself, the jury will not look kindly on this kind of behaviour.
ALWAYS ROOT FOR THE UNDERDOG. I find that in most situations, there will be friends supporting both teams. So unless you need to appease a specific juror, a safe bet is always to support the team deemed least likely to win, or the least hated team. Everyone loves an underdog. Now obviously this requires you to know who is playing and what the odds are, information you likely don’t have on hand, but lucky for you the wonders of modern technology mean that this information is only click away. Never go to trial without exercising your due diligence.
GREAT TOUCHDOWN IN THE SCORE ZONE. The worst thing you can do is pretend you know what’s happening. Any good sports prosecutor worth their salt will see straight through that. There is nothing more infuriating than the casual sports fan trying to engage in the technical jargon of a particular sport. Having said that, there are a few generic lines you can throw out when your back’s against the wall in a cross examination that may fool even the most diligent of juries. He’s been doing it all day ref! C’mon he’s plumb, you’d have to be blind not to see that! Surely that’s a foul! No need to know what any of these mean, just be confident in delivery. Fake it till you make it. Objection! Sustained.
DRESS TO IMPRESS. Just as important as what you say is what you wear. A lawyer would never show up to court without a suit, so what makes you think its ok to show up to a sporting event without the proper fan gear. Ditch the shirt and tie and pick up the jersey and hat. Whilst not completely masking the fact that you are out of your depth, it’s all about putting your best foot forward. First impressions matter, so make sure you buy the merch of at least one of the teams playing. And worst-case scenario, you’ll have great mug shots.
DRINK. AND CONFESS TO YOUR CRIMES. This is it. The last hurrah. The final stand. Your sporting Alamo. All your other efforts are to no avail, the case is all but lost. This is the court you die on. With your fate all but sealed, grab a beer, or wine, or cider—really any alcoholic drink of your choosing—and make your plea. You don’t know sports, and you never will. You have committed sports blasphemy and that’s ok. So raise a glass, have a drink, and hope the alcoholic tendency of all your sporty friends reduces your sentence. It’s just a game after all.