I get it, if you love something it’s hard to hear it made fun of. Especially from people who aren’t “in on the joke” as it were. But who cares? Saying “yay, Sportsball” is a quick way to announce to the group of hardcore fans that you’re not going to be able to keep up with them. It’s not a slight at you. They’re not cutting you down a notch by calling you stupid. Because here’s a very simple truth:
You are not an object of derision for loving sports.
This may come as a shock to some of you readers, but loving sports and sports fandom is probably one of the most common states of being all over the world. Pick a country, any country. Do they have professional sports? Do their citizens turn out in droves to passionately support those sports? Are there people who don’t see the point? Sure. But I’m willing to bet there are far more fans and casual fans than there are haters.
Loving sports is a worthwhile pastime, and your fandom should be cherished. But in this world it is not unique. As a fan of football, for instance, how likely are you to be able to have a casual conversation with a random passerby? Now imagine if you’re really into Magic: The Gathering. Are the numbers the same? What about glass-blowing? Bug Collecting? Bird Watching? If you were at a party dedicated to Magic: The Gathering and you had nothing to contribute to a passionate, in-depth conversation.
Would you too come up with some self-depricating joke that allows the room to know where you stand on the fan scale?
Being a sports fan is the position of power
The fact is, if you’re able to talk about sports with people, you’ll find common ground far more often than you won’t. Casual conversations at parties becomes simpler, and you become a person who’s in tune with a major touchstone of society.
You know what that is to outsiders? Daunting.
It’s daunting to go to a party to be around your friends, which is also centered around something you know nothing about and people take extremely seriously. There are few scenarios where people are as passionately invested in something as watching a high-stakes sports matchup. Few things rank as high on that list as the Super Bowl, especially in the USA. Saying “yay, Sportsball” allows you to protect your own interests, but have something to contribute to the group that feels like you’re trying, while not inviting the sort of conversation that often leaves people saying “well you’re not a real fan.”
Which brings us to my next point:
“Sportsball” is a rallying cry of sorts
What “Sportsball” became was a universal phrase for those that didn’t follow sports or understand the obsession, but still ended up in sports-specific situations. This could be due to friends, or a spouse, or whatever. “Sportsball” then becomes something to help identify those in your same boat. To give you a group to gravitate towards when the conversation pushes outside your comfort zone.
So in short, let people say “Sportsball”. It doesn’t affect you in the slightest and as a sports fan you are a part of the majority. You’ll be fine.
If you say “Sportsball”? Good for you. Welcome to the party, glad to have you. If you want to get more comfortable with the sport and get to a non-“Sportsball” place? I’m here for you, let’s chat! If you like your corner of the world and you’re only here for “the vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip and a shirtless Adam Levine“? I’m here for you too. You do you. Also, I’m excited about those things as well, so let’s get hyped! I’ll also continue being riled up about the game. Because both of those life choices are okay.
Just don’t be a dick.