The Top 10 People To Avoid Watching Sports With

September 15, 2009

With the exception of heckling the elderly and telling school children that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, there’s nothing better than watching sports. The thrill of the game, the agony of crippling gambling losses, and the idea that (unless you cheer for the Kansas City Royals) dreams do come true is unbeatable. However, sometimes watching your favorite team with the wrong people can be "Tracy McGrady in the playoffs" levels of agonizing. Here are the folks to avoid when the big game comes on.

10. Women - Not to be sexist, but when have you ever said “Wow, that’s a great point,” or "I'd love to explain why they're kicking it now" as opposed to “Seriously, why are you still talking?” whenever watching a game with the opposite sex? Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of female friends who don't spend the entire game pointing out that the quarterback on the team with the really pretty blue jerseys got featured with his supermodel wife in the "Stars are Just Like Us" section of Us Weekly, but the majority of the fairer sex just can't understand why re-scheduling chemotherapy to coincide with a bye week is a brilliant idea. (Girls do, however, have the uncanny ability to use sports for spite. Every year the Calgary Flames get eliminated from the playoffs I receive a text message from my ex-girlfriend that mocks my intelligence, questions Jarome Iginla's sexuality, and makes me wonder if I'll ever have a response for "my mother always told me that only losers came out of Southern Alberta.")
9. Ohio State Fans - It almost seems like the entrance application for OSU contains the question “Are you prepared to be agonizingly obnoxious and annoy everyone around you for the next forty years?” They’re loud, unbearable, and idolize some geek in a sweater vest no matter how many straight bowl games he loses. While I do admit that their passion is unrivaled in the sporting world, the way they express their Buckeye pride borders on inappropriate at times. Wedding toasts, court hearings, and eulogies aren't the best occasions to debate Terrelle Pryor's pro prospects - though when the first dance for a new bride and groom is to the tune of the Ohio State fight song, I guess anything goes.

8. People in More Than Six Fantasy Football Leagues - These aren’t fans. They’re nerds who don’t understand that going to a sports bar just to watch how many receptions Greg Olsen gets is unacceptable. Usually travelling alone with the stench of desperation and microwave burritos emanating from his Jay Cutler lunch thermos, this young man isn't afraid to show up to the pub with his laptop and a pair of headphones in order to listen to the Detroit Lions game and keep track of Jason Hanson's fantasy points. So screw you, guy at Joe’s Tavern last week - you give the guys in five fantasy leagues (the acceptable amount) a bad name.

7. Your Boss - It may seem like you're bonding over a beer and mutual admiration of Taiwanese midget tossing, but come Monday morning he’s going to remember you as the office supply-stealing employee who owns a “lucky Kyle Boller jersey,” awkwardly hit on a married waitress, and cried about losing $32 betting the over on a Bengals game. With the exception of the Boller jersey, none of these will help during a performance review.

6. People Who've Bet Against Your Favorite Team - Ever wonder what makes a middle-aged insurance broker get charged with assault on a Sunday afternoon? No, it's not the State Farm Fight Club (that's on Tuesday nights after the company-wide Melrose Place viewing party) - it's having to deal with a degenerate gambler at the bar high-fiving every stranger who appreciates the four game parlay he just nailed. There's nothing wrong with celebrating a win for your favorite team, but betting against a friend's favorite franchise is the lowest thing you can possibly do. Kick his dog, sleep with his wife, or even register him as a sex offender and then put up the posters around his children's school - but profiting off of his team's misfortune, that's just plain cold.

5. Bandwagon Champions- There’s nothing more infuriating than heading to a football game with a guy wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey, Florida Gators track pants, autographed Kobe Bryant mug shot and a collection of bumper stickers that manage to combine his love of the New York Yankees and Detroit Red Wings. Of course he’s got a great story about why he cheers for each of them, like "My brother-in-law is from Gainesville" or "I met Kobe at a Starbucks once" or "The Red Wings were the first team I ever saw play," but come on! He’s the kind of guy who spends  more time shopping for replica championship t-shirts than actually watching the game and has rehearsed the phrase “Screw you, I’ve been a fan my whole life, bro” at least three dozen times in front of his North Carolina Tar Heels commemorative full length mirror.

4. Grown Men Who Wear Face Paint - Spending any amount of time with a guy who says “I think going out in public with a giant blue star on the side of my face to show how much I love the Cowboys is a great life decision,” never ends well. It's kind of like when your 41-year-old co-worker starts saying things about "how sick the new Jay-Z jam is" or "where all the fine bitches are at?" It's acceptable as a teenager or young child, but really creepy for people with health insurance and two ex-wives.

3. Anyone Over the Age of 70 - The day we stuck my grandfather in a crooked retirement home we heard great things about during a Dateline investigation, he accused me of "having no respect for my elders" and "stealing his confederate coin collection." While I don't think he's right about my complete lack of admiration for the elderly folks in this country, I do refuse to sit down and watch a game with them. All they do is talk about how “today’s players just aren’t as tough as they used to be” and how “this burger is difficult to chew.” Meanwhile, the top offensive lineman from his era would be too small to try out as a kicker in today’s NFL and the his favorite New York Giant ended up marrying Kathy Lee and hosting a "very special" Christmas sing-a-long with her. Plaxico Burress would never do that from his jail cell.

2. Women
- Cannot stress this one enough. (Plus sifting through hate mail is a fun way to spend the holidays.)

1. The “Did You Know” Random Stats Guy
- In order to prove just how much he knows, this statistical prodigy (who likely spends every Saturday in his parent’s basement wondering what self-respect and a woman's breast feel like) throws out nuggets of knowledge after every single play. “Did you know Brett Favre has thrown for 4,000 yards in five separate years?” “Did you know Miami had 12 first round draft picks in 2001?” “Did you know Kurt Warner had a brief, but memorable, affair with Jesus?” It doesn’t stop all game long and there's always one guy who encourages him.

Source: Scott Boehm/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images