Open Letter Wednesday: Dear Rabid Sports Fan

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Every Wednesday, you get a peek inside the mail bag. In this case, that bag is full of letters I write to ask questions we all want answered…or maybe just me.

Rocket FansDear Rabid Sports Fan,

How’s it hangin’ bro? Listen, we need to talk. I’m a sports fan myself. I’ve probably been a fan longer than you have of basketball in particular. In fact, in my past life I WAS a basketball, but that’s another story.

Anyway, there are some behaviors (or behaviours if you happen to be a soccer futbol fan) I’ve noticed recently that are getting in the way of my enjoyment of sports, particularly when trying to discuss it rationally on the internet or catch a game in person and I wanted to point them out to you because I’m not sure you’re totally aware of what you are doing. Despite the body paint, vague smell of Old Spice and the collection of bobble heads you keep in a locked cabinet as part of your “retirement memorabilia,” you seem like a relatively reasonable guy, so I’m just going to give it to you straight.

Your injuries are not just as bad as a given athlete, so don’t try to compare your healing time or your doctor’s care to theirs.

Just because you pulled a quad trying to heft your grill from the back porch to the garage all by yourself doesn’t make you an expert on torn ACL’s or reconstructive surgery. And even though it took you 18 months to recover, I’m guessing since the athlete is 22, in perfect physical condition and with the best medical care money can buy, he is going to heal faster than the fat, 40-something going to the clinic for rehab. Oh, and don’t offer some home remedy your mom used to get rid of bunions for a guy who has plantar faciitis.

Just because you are an ace of your fantasy league doesn’t mean you can be the GM of a team.

I know that 100 bucks you got for winning your fantasy league last year is almost as awesome as the framed email you got announcing you as the winner sitting next to the third-place bowling trophy and your shattered dreams, but it doesn’t make you an expert on much of anything other than wasting time on a computer with a bunch of drunk guys. My guess is you barely know how to use a calculator let alone understand the complex ramifications of salary caps and team fiscal responsibility. Better stick with the fantasy team and leave pro sports management to the adults.

Being a rec-league or little league coach does not qualify you for coaching in college or the pros or even in most middle schools. Neither does reading The Idiots Guide to Basketball.

I’m sure all the guys you play pick up games with on the weekend are really cool and all, but flailing around on concrete court in the burbs every Saturday doesn’t suddenly make you Pat Riley. And don’t even bother with football. Drawing a play with your finger on the ball in the flag football team huddle is not the same as figuring out how to read the zone blitz.

Seeing a guy on tv for 10 seconds on the sideline with a certain look on his face does not qualify you to know what he is going through.

You’re not psychic nor are you an expert in body language. If, during a loss, a guy smiles for 3 seconds, that does not make him a loser anymore than that shot of you drunk off your ass at the ice house with the biker chick in your lap and your eyes rolled back into your head make you an idiot. A little pathetic and desperate, maybe, but not necessarily and idiot.

Trades that work on your Playstation are unrealistic.

I know how much you love filling your line up card with murderers row and your pitching staff with first ballot hall of famers, but that’s not exactly how it works in the big leagues. In football and basketball, there are salary caps to think of and a little thing people like to call chemistry. There’s a reason why super groups don’t work in rock and roll and the same holds true for professional sports teams. I know you think you found the way to get LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard on the same team, but it’s not going to happen, so put down the RealGM trade checker and back away.

Paying for a ticket does not give you the right to act like an asshole even if you are one already.

Being drunk before halftime, shouting obscenities at players, coaches or other fans, slapping women on the ass and kicking the backs of seats are not cool things to do at a game. I don’t care if you spent $500 to sit in a platinum seat covered in the skin of infants, don’t be the jackass who throws things onto the court when a ref doesn’t make a call you like. Put your big boy pants on and act like a grown up for a few hours.

What you THINK might be happening behind closed doors is not the same as what is ACTUALLY happening.

I know, it’s fun to speculate on what is going on in the locker room, but you aren’t there so stop making grand pronouncements on internet bulletin boards that you are certain what is happening. You don’t know. You probably will never know. And even if you found out, you probably wouldn’t understand. Just enjoy the game and stop trying to be the Perez Hilton of sports.

No, training camp is not open to the public.

You cannot possibly be this stupid. Every year, some idiot posts on message boards and blogs asking when they can go down to training camp and watch practice. Oh, sure, and while you’re at it, why don’t you bring along your HD video camera so you can record it and post it online. If you get there early enough, they may give you a job as an assistant coach. Look, genius, training camps are closed for a reason, so stop asking the question and re-join normal society.

Those free t-shirts they throw out at games, despite your demeanor, are not covered in gold.

You don’t need to dive over people or crush small children to get one. You also shouldn’t complain the team doesn’t throw enough of them. It’s not their job to clothe you, Sparky. Besides, it’s the cheapest possible shirt the team can buy. You think they are spinning shirts out of 80-count Egyptian cotton to fire out of a cannon so you can cover your man boobs in couture?

There you have it. Just a few simple observations that will help me feel less annoyed and help you to be a better sports fan. See, that wasn’t so tough was it?

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