7 Tips To Fake Your Sports Knowledge Until You Make It

Sports are unavoidable, so how can non-fans fit in with the sports-crazed populace around them? Here are a few ways to pass as an average Joe. 

Sports are everywhere, but they definitely aren't for everyone. For non-sports fans there are endless opportunities to feel left out simply for not knowing things about a bunch of grown men playing recess. Want to avoid that crippling anxiety that you feel when your girlfriend's dad asks you to watch baseball? Need to impress a football crazy boss? Here are a few ways to fool everyone into thinking that you've been an undercover sports guru this whole time.

Know the lingo.

Every sport has its own Frankenstein-like mish-mash of lingo that its fans know and use to communicate. If you aren't aware of what some of these terms or phrases mean you'll stick out like a sore thumb. Luckily, you don't need to be fluent in a sport's vocab to pass as a fan--it only takes knowing a few of the major terms. Fortunately for you, sports can have its own regional dialects; so if you are caught in a lie while talking to that cute girl at the bar, simply pass it off as, "In Portland, we don't call it that, we call it ____." SCORE! You two will be doing the horizontal hokey pokey in no time.

Ultimately, don't worry about getting into the minutia of terminology; some terms can be easily picked up. If you are the studious test-taker type, why not break out those 3x5 index cards, write down some sports terms, and review them while you are in the bathroom.

Google is your friend.

Never forget that the internet exists. If you are in way over your head, a quick Google search can be your lifeline. There is nothing that sports fans love more than statistics. Searching "[player name] + stats" is an excellent way of arming yourself with conversation bullets to shoot off whenever the opportunity arises.

Find an obscure sport.

Maybe learning about the popular sports in your area bores you completely. Time to dust off that computer, pull up YouTube, and start scouring for some obscure sport from halfway across the globe.  When you find one that interests you, become an expert at it. Learn as much about it as you can. Bonus points if you have sports highlight videos already queued up on your phone.

Other sports fans will like having a guy hanging around who is a fan of a quirky sport. When they meet other sports fans they will be proud to bring up your knowledge of Sepak Takraw kicking techniques..

Follow the leader.

Anytime there is a gathering of fans, at least a few of them will compete for being the most knowledgeable. What you need to do is to identify the leader and start agreeing with any of the points he makes in a discussion. Try to side with the most assertive fan in the group--the louder and more passionate the better. Don't be too obvious with your allegiance; a simple nod of the head or re-statement of something he said earlier will work great. If anyone disagrees with you or tries to call you out, the leader you've chosen will step in to defend your arguments (which are also his). This new-fangled alliance will shield you from any haters and an added bonus is you might actually learn a thing or two!

Learn a sports joke.

Everyone likes a good joke. Keep your audience in mind, and find a joke that is either positive towards your group's favorite team or negative towards their rival. When you've selected a joke, test it out on some of your friends. Once you have the timing down, you are ready for the big day.

Note: Also acceptable is: "[your favorite four letter word] + [rival team name]."

Be a parrot.

Time to pull out your best parrot impression. Pay close attention to what the announcers are saying on the screen. Repeating basic analysis is an excellent way of appearing smarter. Watch out, pure mimicry can be tricky; if the analysis that you parrot is unpopular with the rest of the group, there is a chance they will call you out on it. Instead of making stand-alone statements, you can protect yourself from personal attack by making a statement like: "[sports announcer] said _____". While you lose points for originality, your fragile self-esteem remains well-guarded behind an impenetrable web of words.

Buy a round of drinks

This is the nuclear option. All of your approaches have failed--not only have you failed to make a vaguely positive impression, you've made it painfully awkward for everyone. Fear not, for as a wise man once said, "Alcohol is the cause of and solution to all of life's problems."* If things have all gone sour, ask around the table to see if you can buy everyone a round of drinks or a bucket of beer and appetizers. Chicken tenders and beer will change you from the weird kid who eats his boogers to a harmless eccentric guy who, while completely ignorant about sports, at least buys everyone beer.

*That man was Homer Simpson.

Follow these simple tips and in no time you will be riding the monorail to success. Who knows, with each sortie into the realm of sports you might even grow a little bolder. Before long you might be the silverback gorilla of your friend group, cracking jokes and dropping obscure stats like a seasoned couch dweller. Every sports fan started somewhere.