?Let’s be honest gang, much as the 12-year old-versions of ourselves who got stuffed into lockers by guys in letterman jackets might hate to admit it, there aren’t that many differences between comic book/sci-fi fans (from here on known as nerds) and sports fans. Plus, if you think about it, it’s not the jocks who can tell you that former Detroit Tiger Ty Cobb held the record for most stolen bases at 892 until 1977 when Billy Hamilton came along and broke that record, but the guys who watched all the games at home or played team manager for the school team. Heck, some of us collectors even got our start with sports trading cards before moving on to those rad Marvel Super Heroes cards and eventually comics. So, with that in mind, we’d like to not only bring people together, but also make insulting broad generalizations about both by looking at the six ways nerds and sports fans are alike in increasing levels of obsessive nerdiness.
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6) A Love of Themed T-Shirts
?Have you noticed that romantic-comedy fans don’t run around in Valentine’s Day T-shirts? Sure, within the last few years geeky T-shirts have become more popular than ever, but the sports fans have had us beaten in that department for decades. You can buy a jersey of any player from any team of any major sport with either their name or yours online somewhere, not to mention basic team shirts across the board. Too bad you can’t just order up a shirt of your favorite character. What about all the Prez and Milly The Model fans out there? When will they get the chance to tell the world what they like in such a weirdly specific and public way without actually saying a damn thing? Hopefully never.
5) A Love of Gatherings of Fellow Nerds
Thanks to the nature of what sports fans love, events, they’ve been enjoying the company of their compatriots while also enjoying the subject of their obsession for a hundred years now either at the games themselves or with friends watching them on TV. Nerds just started getting the idea in the last 30 or 40 years with conventions for everything from comics to Star Trek and now everything else you can imagine. Throw on your favorite T-shirt, consume overly expensive food, stand in line for the bathroom even though you’re probably a dude, look at the people dressed up in full-fledged costumes sideways and enjoy your obsession in the company of like minded individuals. Sounds like a convention to us. Or the last Pittsburgh Steelers game. The comparisons get even closer when you take sports memorabilia and card conventions. Hell, they’re both swimming in unwashed masses trying to get the signatures of has-beens.
4) Obsessive Attention to Facts and Dates
Sure, maybe we had to look up that fact about Ty Cobb in the opener, but we can easily tell you the first appearances of an embarrassing number of superheroes, villains and even some supporting characters. The more obsessed the fan, the more intricate the knowledge. Hey, everyone knows Wolverine’s first full appearance was in Incredible Hulk #181, but did you know he appeared in one panel of #180? Form there it’s just a slippery slope of pouring over price guides, biographies and other books that put you further and further away from the touch of the opposite sex.
3) Irrational Hatred of People Who Love a Slightly Different Version of What They Love
Have you ever been the one DC fan in a room full of rabid Marvel zombies? You feel like the walls are closing in no matter how concisely and passionately you argue the merits of Batman over Captain America. It’s the exact same thing when you show up wearing a Yankees hat at a red Sox game. Watch your back because both sides have been known to get violent for no good reason. It’s just an opinion you goobers.
?T-shirts are one thing. They’re usually easy to buy and don’t involve veering from societal norms too much. Cosplay is a whole different beast. For nerds, this usually entails dressing up as their favorite character from anime, comics, TV or movies, but for sports fanatics, it’s a completely different undertaking. These are the dudes who aren’t satisfied with just wearing the $75 jersey, but go in for the face paint and then the crazy color-coated outfits that look like they may have been crafter by some of New York City’s more creative homeless people. Hey, at least some nerdy characters won’t get you a second look out in the real world, but face paint doesn’t cut the muster anywhere, gang.
1) Undying Loyalty, Even When It Should Probably Die
Part of any fandom lies in the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Whether your favorite superhero kicks the right ass or your team has just finished off yet another losing season, we’re in it for the ups and downs. Quality’s an important part of that, of course. You want your teams to be of a high enough quality to win and your comics and moving pictures to be good enough to make up for the price of admission. Basically, no one wants to feel like they’re not getting their money or time’s worth. Well, that doesn’t stop a lot of fans from dropping their favorites when they suck. Some people buy every single X-Men or Batman comic based solely on the fact that those characters are in the book regardless of quality, while sports fans will continue buying tickets for New Jersey Nets games even though, well, they’re mostly terrible. The problem with this incredibly high level of loyalty is that you’re actually helping make the thing you like suck even more. This is a general lesson for life that everyone should listen to, if people are making money regardless of the quality of their product, they’re probably not going to look at the quality of that product to make improvements. Voting with your dollars is the most efficient form of democracy you can participate in. Sure, sometimes a book or a team will come around and you’ll feel good because you’re no fair-weather fan, but just look at how much time, money and, let’s face because we’re all emotional about this stuff, heartbreak, you wasted and try not to feel like a chump even though you’ve got a full run of Uncanny X-Men or have seen the last fifteen seasons of Nets games.