JEFF PEARLMAN

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The sports fans I hate

wet-vol

There is a certain sect of sports fans who I absolutely can’t stand. I want to use this post to explain.

First off, I don’t much care for big-time college sports. Yeah, I love March Madness, but only the first and second rounds, when 15s and 16s still possess wild dreams. Otherwise, the whole mess just makes me angry. Corrupt coaches, corrupt programs, so-called student athletes who leave school with a subpar education and, oftentimes, no degree. Millions upon millions of dollars going from corporations to programs to coaches to administrators. Stores selling No. 12 USC jerseys without the player making a cent; video games featuring the numbers and likenesses of players, as the kids get squat.

More than anything, however, I detest off-the-charts fanatical adult fans.

When I was a student at the University of Delaware, I very much enjoyed covering the Blue Hens. It was fun; cool; optimistic. These were my peers—kids I’d see in class now performing on a field or court. I rooted for them, because they were (in a sense) me. When Kevin Blackhurst hit a deep three or Billy Vergantino threw for a TD, I felt pride. A chill went down my spine. Really, that’s what collegiate sports should be for—the kids who play, and the kids who attend the universities. It’s their time. Their moment.

Yet (and this is a direct reaction to the incredibly vile, anti-Semetic (I’m Jewish), homophobic (odd, since I’m not even gay) mail I received in response to my latest SI.com column) I am always at a loss to explain the adult boobs who, sort of literally, live and die with the Vols or Tide or Trojans or Hogs or Irish or … whatever. These people, long out of college, refer to the teams as “We,” own a closet chock full o’ university colors, arrive three hours early for games and know the names and hometowns of every player on the roster–starting QB to fourth-string kicker. The kids they’re rooting for are 18-, 19-, 20- and 21-years old, yet these so-called fans have no problem cursing their names, booing them to death, calling them flops and failures and, if they dare transfer, traitors.

It actually reminds me of the all-time greatest SNL skit—William Shatner addressing a Star Trek convention. To quote Shatner: “I’d just like to say—get a life, will you people. I mean, for crying out loud, it’s just a TV show. I mean look at you. Look at the way you’re dressed. … I mean, how old are you people. What have you done with yourselves?”

Swap “TV show” with “college football game,” and it’s exactly what I’m talking about.

My advice to you folks mirrors Shatner’s: Get a flippin’ life. Use your time more productively. Take a long Saturday afternoon walk. Hit up a museum. Travel. Because there’s more to life than college sports.

Much more.