In Praise Of The Geeky Sports Fan

I’m writing this article from my couch. Normally, my laptop stays in my office, and I do all my computer work there. But it’s Sunday, and my beloved Minnesota Vikings are playing the Miami Dolphins, so I’m zoned in the living room today, and I’m writing during commercial breaks and time-outs.

That’s right, folks. This geek girl is a football fan! And I know I’m not the only one.

Think geekery and sports don’t go together? It’s time to dispense of the stereotype that geeks are the weaklings who couldn’t play or even understand sports. In a Venn diagram of geeks and sports fans, there is big area where the two groups overlap. There are a lot of us hybrids, and we should feel free to wave our Terrible Towels.

From Geek To Sporty Geek

Admittedly, I have never been much of an athlete. I was the chubby kid who was picked last for the dodgeball team and was almost a full lap behind the rest of my gym classmates. I went on to play intramural broomball in college, but you could never rightfully call me a jock. (Anyone who knows me in real life is laughing their asses off right now at the thought of me as a jock.)

I liked watching sports, though! My junior high years were a golden age in the NBA, with players like Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, and Karl Malone making the game classy and fun to watch. Like a lot of North Dakota kids, I bled purple for the Vikings, even though I really didn’t understand football. When I went off to college, I took advantage of my student pass and went to every hockey game I could, and a fair number of football games too. The geek who would become my husband finally explained football to me, and it opened the gates to football heaven. It was a proud day when my college-mate (and fellow small-town North Dakota kid) Jimmy Kleinsasser was drafted by the Vikings. Since then I’ve spent pretty much every Sunday afternoon planted in front of the TV, and I’ve become enough of a football fan that I even watch games between teams I don’t really care about, because a bad football game beats 4 good hours of work.

Geeky Sports Fans Are Everywhere!

Speaking for my personal geek circle, pretty much all of them have at least a passing interest in sports, and many are as rabid football fans as my husband and I are. Last weekend’s Star Wars game was interrupted several times for updates on the college games, and we were sidelined for a few minutes when we were all stunned by the loss suffered by the University of Montana Grizzlies. Most of us don’t game on Sundays during football season, and a number of us have skipped Saturday night games to watch the NFL playoffs.

Plenty of the geeks I know only online are sports fans, too, based on their Tweets and Facebook posts on game day. As much as I hate the Green Bay Packers, I grit my teeth and bear it when reading Margaret Weis’s and John Kovalic’s status updates. Because they’re Margaret Weis and John Kovalic. The rest of you can keep your Packers love to yourselves!

The loyalty and dedication many sports fans have for their teams borders on the obsession other geeks have with Star Trek or Final Fantasy. The guys and girls who get into costume for every game are the cosplayers of the sports world (those Raiders fans are a sight to behold!). And then there’s the fantasy football geek. Have you listened to these guys, with their stats and trades? They’re huge geeks! Nerds, even! Whether they realize it or not, the guys at the sports bar rattling off Jay Cutler’s number of fumbles for this season versus last season without having to look it up have crossed over the border into the Realms of Geekdom.

Should You Transition To Sporty Geek?

Should all geeks like sports? Of course not. If you’ve tried watching sports, even with a kind friend explaining the rules to you, but it just doesn’t catch your interest, that’s just fine. Like any other thing that people geek out about, it’s not for everyone. But it’s yet another available geek flavor, and no geek should ever think that it’s against some unwritten geek rule to like sports. Whatever sport you like, there’s no reason you can’t set the dice aside for a few hours and watch your favorite team or athlete do their best to roll a critical hit.

And for those who have joined the +5 Cha community, actually becoming active in a sport is a good way to help in your health and fitness goals. If you don’t like the gym, taking part in a team sport can be a good way to get your exercise in while having a lot of fun. After all, sports are games – and we’re all about games, right?

In the end, my Vikings lost this week. Oh well, Vikings fans are used to disappointment. I guess that’s one thing that makes RPGs better than sports – your team (of adventurers) might screw up, but at least they don’t lose!

What’s your favorite sport? Do you geek out about it, or is it a casual interest for you?

About c

By day, Connie Thomson (aka Ariel Manx) is a mild-mannered shoe salesgirl, geeking out about insoles, outsoles, and shanks. But when night falls, she takes her turn at the helm of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, where she writes, edits, and does layout for table-top RPG products. Regardless of her persona, C is always a fangirl, bookworm, and craft diva. (Email C or follow @arielmanx on Twitter.)

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