Are Sports Fans Dumb?

March 23, 2012

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WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 27: Columnist George Will...

George Will is a big baseball fan. He also writes on other topics.

In the midst of a semi-related topic on another site, once again I saw someone bring up the old stereotypes – sports fans are dumb.  They have no interests outside of sports and just lay on the couch watching football and eating Cheetos.

Clearly, the stereotype is exaggerated.  However, there are certainly a lot of people who consider sports fan to be intellectually challenged.  I’m won’t argue that every sports fan is a member of Mensa (although I know some who are), but it’s also not true that all sports fans are dumb.  Are there some sports fans who are also dumb?  Sure.  But find me any self-selecting group of several million people that doesn’t have a few dim bulbs.

The sports fans I come into contact with on a regular basis are pretty bright.  Our resident sports writer, Johnny Goodman, has a degree in Economics and History.  He now works in a different discipline.  We work for the same employer (different offices) and the feedback I hear is that he’s very much in-demand for his expertise.

Martin Kelly is an aerospace engineer who has worked on NASA projects.  Frequent reader Evan is a lawyer by day and tech writer by night.  My good friend Lazy Man, despite the name, is a successful entrepreneur.  I talk baseball with my dentist.  My wife is a CPA and also a big fan of the St. Louis Rams and Iowa Hawkeyes.

Nearly every writer on The Soap Boxers is a sports fan to some extent (although I believe Kate’s level of interest is fairly low).  Obviously, all of them have interests outside of sports, since they write on other topics.  Issues such as legalization of marijuana, drilling for oil in ANWR, the morality of torture, and how to become a more effective writer.  Personally, I have a lot of interests outside of sports – among them computers, forensic science, paleontology, and world history.

To cast the net further, look at George Will and Nate Silver.  Both are very well-known in the world of politics.  The New York Times once called Will “perhaps the most powerful journalist in America” and Silver’s had millions of fans before the New York Times decided to license the site for their own use.  Clearly, these are two bright guys.  They are also big sports fans.  Will has written two books on the subject (Men at Work and Bunts) and Silver developed the PECOTA method of projecting future performance of players (currently used by Baseball Prospectus).

My point?  Don’t assume that someone is dumb just because they happen to be a sports fan.  In return, I won’t assume that you are dumb because you like Dancing With the Stars or scrimshaw.  A person’s leisure interests provide flavor to their life.  Leisure is supposed to be fun, not work.  So if your idea of a good time is kicking back and watching a game, don’t feel any guilt – just do it.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Evan
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 08:27:06

    I know some sports fans who are at the other end of the spectrum – very cerebral. They crunch stats and analyze the nuances of the game, rather than getting into the ‘rah-rah’ aspect. Hmmm, did I just describe you?


  2. Squeaky
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 09:41:53

    Clearly the most powerful point would have been to bring up the extreme intelligence found in anyone that is a Husker fan. You could have had a two sentence blog and proven your point so that anyone would have bought that argument.

    I’m crushed that you missed that opportunity Kos.


  3. kosmo
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 10:09:44

    @ Evan – Oh, I’m a rah-rah fan, too … but I temper my excitement/disappointment if secondary stats suggest that an element of luck is affecting the player.

    @ Squeaky – I’m surprised the Huskers even bothered to hire a head coach. They could have a random person in the crowd coach the team and probably win more games.


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