The worst part of a sports event is the sport itself

Watching sports is the worst part of going to a live sports event.

In theory, the game itself is what you paid money to go see. In reality, the game itself is usually… actually, it’s pretty eh.

It typically winds up being a lot of nothing happening. Like this:


And this:


And who could forget this:


You are supposed to sit through that for an intolerable 2.5+ hours. It’s dreadful.

Most fans wind up just putzing around on their phones almost the entire time.

In fact, the game is usually so mundane that it’s a regular thing for fans to leave early. In droves. Because they want to beat the traffic. Avoiding the traffic is more interesting than watching the sports game.


In no other entertainment medium is it a thing for everybody to leave early like this. People don’t leave Taylor Swift concerts early. People don’t leave Broadway plays early. People don’t even leave Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 en masse the way they leave sports events.

People leave early because watching sports is the least fun thing there is to do at sports arenas. And because by the time you get to late in the 4th quarter (or the 9th inning, or the 5th day of cricket (how does this sport work??), or whatever), you’ve already had all the fun there is to have.

Want to know why sports fans really go to see games live? It’s got nothing to do with the sport, and everything to do with the eight items below:

8. Give advice to nobody

Here are some of the things that real people will actually say at sports events:

  • “Stay inbounds!”
  • “Catch that!”
  • “Throw a strike!”
  • “Hit him!”

Sports stadiums are filled with tens of thousands of people spouting similar nuggets of sage wisdom. Some of these people take steps to try and ensure their messages are heard by the intended party.

Like these guys:




If not for these fans’ ingenuity and passion, many athletes may forget to perform defense, an entire half of their job!

Meanwhile, everyone else in the stands sits and sporadically leaks their thoughts into a muddled orchestra of truly unhelpful advice. “Tackle him!” “Don’t get a penalty!” We don’t bring loudspeakers, we haven’t hacked our way into teams’ phones or communications devices. There is absolutely, positively, unquestionably no way that our guidance will ever reach its intended recipients.

We fans like it this way.

It’s better this way because we can feel like we’ve contributed to someone’s success without actually burdening ourselves with any accountability or responsibility for their (or our own) actions.


7. Yell at nothing

In a moment, I am going to present you with a noise meter. When you see it, I want you to yell at it.


Here, yell at this:

Come on, louder!


When I was like, six, it was empowering to feel like my actions had consequence as illustrated by these noise meters — the louder I yelled at the meter, the higher it would go.

When I was six.

(Note: roughly 90% of sports fans are 18 or older.)


This yelling game may not seem that fun while you’re hollering at this blog post from the comfort of your own home, but when you’re at a sports game, it is awesome. It is so inspiring that you probably play this game a dozen times before heading home to beat the traffic.

6. Be horrible to famous people

When a friend of mine tells me “Hey I’ve got an extra ticket to the game tonight, do you want to go?” what I’m really hearing is “Hey, do you want a free pass to use the F word at some strangers?”

Here is a real life situation: The New York Rangers are a group of about 20 highly-trained professionals who were hired from countries all over the world to skate on an ice rink, usually in downtown Manhattan. For the most part, the Rangers’ crime against humanity is wearing a shirt that is a slightly different shade of blue than the one we like.

So we fans cheer: “Rangers Suck!” “Rangers Suck!” “Rangers Suck!”

During the four beats of The Chicken Dance when you’re just supposed to clap your hands, we cheer “The. Ran. Gers. Suck!”

During “If you’re happy and you know it,” we replace the lyrics “If you’re happy and you know it” with “If you know the Rangers suck.”

Here are a bunch of fans doing a cheer of “Rangers Suck” during the Stanley Cup finals in 2012:

And let’s be crystal-clear here: This is a match between the Devils and the Kings. The Rangers are not playing. In fact, they’re not even competing at this point in the hockey calendar year; they’d been eliminated days earlier. There is utterly no point to this cheer other than to be wantonly mean to 20 people we will never meet in person.

It’s great.

5. Be horrible to regular people

Even better are the times when some unfortunate regular person decides to attend the sports game perpetrating the same crime as the Rangers: wearing the wrong-colored t-shirt.

Here is a fan who wore such a wrong-colored t-shirt that apparently the police had to get involved.

There are only three places in the universe where society has deemed it completely okay to be horrible to a regular person. One is when you’re driving on the highway and someone kind of momentarily veers into your lane. The second is when you hate a reality TV contestant on some show. The third is when you’re at a sports game.

It’s much cheaper to buy a sports ticket than it is to buy a car or to buy a cable-bundle-subscription-package-thing, which makes being horrible to people at sports games really a logical, economical decision. Plus, your person-hate is not impeded by some panes of glass; you can call a human an asshole right to their face and watch them react, which gives you a much rawer high than the diluted substitutes your car and your TV offer.

4. Watch kids be worse at the sport the adults were just playing

We’re really just hoping to see discombobulated kids screw up and fall on their faces.

3. Just throw all kinds of shit on the floor and leave it

Nobody likes concession stand food. It’s the same schlock at every arena: hot dogs, peanuts, sodas, beers, nachos, popcorn, cotton candy, Cracker Jack.

The real reason we buy this stuff is that when we’re done consuming the edible parts, we can just throw all the rest of that shit right on the floor. The little paper boat the hot dog comes in, the soda cup, the peanut shells, that absolutely disgusting, moist, sticky paper cone that once held the cotton candy puff.

Just right on the floor! All of it! Nobody gives a shit!

In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a trash receptacle at a sports arena outside of the restrooms.

There’s absolutely nowhere else in society where you’re allowed this kind of freedom. Movie theaters? You can get away with leaving trash on the floor, but that’s mostly because it’s dark and you can be sneaky about it. In a movie theater, you’re likely to leave your empty box of Jujyfruits in a cupholder. Sort of respectful. In a football game, you’re likely to leave your half-finished box of cracker jacks on the floor, spilled, with the loose kernels crushed and mashed into the ground because people stepped on them. You don’t care.

Spot a souvenir helmet that someone left half-filled with popcorn? Easy! Turn it over, dump the popcorn on the floor, and now you own a free, unencumbered souvenir helmet.

We justify this because we implicitly understand that the arena is going to get completely cleaned after the game. (…But really, is that any more true about a sports arena than it is about a restaurant, a theater, or your friends house?)

In fact: I would probably pay for an event that’s just a neat, entirely presentable room where you go and make a huge mess of everything and leave. $5 if you just let me spill an entire large soda on a very clean floor. $20 if it’s a higher-quality room and you leave me for an hour or two.

2. Reflect on your own inner sadness, loneliness, and failure while hoping that this could be the day

or, in other words:

2. Watch the Kiss Cam

Some truth:

  • We’ve got millions of sports fans at arenas all over the country (or the world)
  • Drinking beer
  • Cheering on 50 or so hyper-aggressive alpha males either physically or metaphorically just beating the hell out of each other

And at every single one of these events, without fail, is a 90-second segment where those fans watch completely random (and usually not terribly attractive) people give each other a quick, polite kiss before we immediately never see them again.

It’s the most honest and raw expression of vulnerability that sports fans can muster. As a collective, we are a neurotic, self-conscious, lonely bunch. The sports are irrelevant. They’re a 2.5 hour charade so we can tell our peers we were doing something full of aggression and bravado, when really, all we want is to feel the embrace  — however fleeting — of a romantic interest.

Want to see what sports fans, everywhere, truly desire and dream about? It has nothing to do with overcoming long odds or winning championships. It’s here:

This guy right here:


We go to sports because maybe, some day, we’ll get to be as happy as him.

This list item was kind of a downer. Which is okay, because there’s still #1 which is…


What if I told you that you could have a t-shirt with the following attributes:

  • made from the worst cotton possible
  • inevitably the wrong size, usually by a lot
  • plastered with a mess of corporate logos

You’d probably be like Bill Reilly here:


What if I told you that you could have a t-shirt with the following attributes:

  • made from the worst cotton possible
  • inevitably the wrong size, usually by a lot
  • plastered with a mess of corporate logos


Look at these kids:

These are high school kids; by their nature, they don’t give a damn about anything. The rule with being a high school student is that the less you care about anything, the better you are at being a high schooler. Even the most fleeting display of caring about something can be enough to undo years of hard work (and perceived lack thereof) in climbing the social hierarchy.

So it’s unfathomable to see these kids springing up out of nowhere to try and get their hands on a terrible shirt they will never wear, ever. But it happened there, and it happens everywhere.

That’s the power of the t-shirt launch.

The T-shirt launch is our holy grail.




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