Friday, May 31, 2013

How to Become a Sports Hipster

Yep guys, we are way cooler than NBA players.
By Joe Parello  @HerewegoJoe

The NBA Playoffs are entering what seems like their eighth month and baseball is sort of getting interesting, but those two leagues are so mainstream.

So, if you want to breakaway from what "the man" tells you to watch, here is a hipster's guide to pro sports.

Because watching LeBron throw down dunks is so passe.


Do you like football, but hate organization and padding? Rugby may just be your sport!

Pros: There are no two ways about it: Rugby is bad ass. These aren't the genetically engineered athletic freaks that dominate the NFL and NBA. No, these are brutes that you would want on your side in a bar fight. There's something endearing about that.

Also, rugby is pretty much a bunch of big, burly white guys running a never-ending option play. Really, I don't see why Tim Tebow hasn't gone this route yet.

Cons: For all it's simplicity, it can get a little muddled and weird. Why are those dudes making a cheerleader pyramid to throw the ball in? Wait, did he just kick, like, a retarded field goal or something? Wait, you can punt it to your own team? Ok, now they're all on their knees hugging each other, I think.

To Be a True Hipster: Continually talk about how football players are all wimps. "Yeah, but how tough would Ray Lewis be without all those girly pads on?"


Hockey isn't hipstery in some places (Detroit), but it is to the general population, so I'm going to count it here. Heck, even if you live in a great hockey city like Boston, Chicago or Pittsburgh, you would probably watch your hockey team leave town if it meant another Super Bowl or World Series. Still, the NHL playoffs are awesome, and the league's final four this season are the last four Stanley Cup winners.

So that's pretty cool.

Pros: It's on ice, which is all kinds of fun, and they allow fighting. In fact, provoking people into fights is a fine art, and there are players on each roster who are pretty much just there to beat the crap out of people.

Also, the beards are astounding.

Cons: While the playoffs are great, the regular season is largely meaningless. A No. 8 seed beating a No. 1 in the playoffs is hardly a shock anymore and half the league goes to the postseason. So really, as long as you don't totally suck, the regular season doesn't matter. Then there's the fact that following the puck is really hard….

To Be a True Hipster: But dammit, you better not bring up the old Fox laser puck! A true hockey fan knows that was the worst invention ever (I thought it was kind of cool). Also, be sure to mention the teams you used to use in NHL 94 for Sega Genesis or Wayne Gretzky 3D Hockey for Nintendo 64, the two greatest hockey video games ever made.

And don't forget to remind everyone that Garry Bettman sucks and is ruining a great league, or that Sidney Crosby is a pussy because he doesn't play while recovering from brain injuries.


Like hockey, soccer is popular in many places (Like, the rest of the civilized world), just not mainstream America. But, if there is anything we love in America, it's a cool import. So, people are starting to get into soccer, despite the fact that it is, mostly, mind-numbingly boring. But don't let that stop you from being to coolest guy in the bar next time a Champions League qualifying match plays on repeat during happy hour.

Pros: Foreign girls tend to love soccer (Probably because all the players are attractive and there are no chauvinistic commercials), and it can make you sound like a real "citizen of the world." Want to sound cultured? Just start taking about your favorite Dutch side's battle to avoid relegation.

Also, your team has to win something! I mean, seriously, there is a championship like every week in soccer. How many damn cups can we give out in a year? Plus, as a soccer fan you have the right, nay, responsibility to pick a team from every major league. So, maybe Liverpool let you down (Like every other year, amirite?), but you know AC Milan's got your back in Serie A. This year wasn't so bad after all!

Cons: There are no commercials, which can present a problem if you're drinking and need constant bathroom breaks. There is no worse feeling than missing a goal while you're in the John, because you have literally missed the only exciting thing that will happen all game.

Oh, and you think basketball flopping is bad? Please, Kobe Bryant is but a Padawan learner compared to these guys. Where do you think he learned how to flop growing up in Italy? Also, the clock counts up and never stops, meaning they need to add an arbitrary estimate of "stoppage time" at the end of each half. Don't the Swiss play soccer? Can't they make a watch capable of stopping when the ball goes out of bounds or someone is faking an injury?

To Be a True Hipster:
Don't cheer for Manchester United. If you must root for a power team that buys up talent Yankees-style, please pick one of the two Spanish super clubs, Real Madrid or Barcelona. For some reason, cheering for these two teams is acceptable, but backing Man U is just douchey. Perhaps it's because Spain's economy is in the toilet and their entire GDP goes toward paying Cristiano Ronaldo's salary.

Whatever the reason, don't support Man U.

Women's Basketball

Women's basketball is actually semi-popular at the college level, but to be a true hipster, you need to watch the WNBA. Supporting a team because they wear your school's colors is one thing (Heck, I get excited every year when Purdue's women's golf team makes nationals), but watching women's basketball at the professional level is a whole other ballgame.

Pros: Uh, tickets are probably cheap. I think. On a serious note, there are some tremendously talented players in the WNBA right now, and nobody in the league is more "must see" than Phoenix Mercury rookie sensation Brittney Griner.

The Former Baylor star threw down a pair of dunks in her debut (Which her team lost by like 20 points, but who cares), nearly doubling the all-time dunk total for the rest of the WNBA combined. There had been three prior dunks in the league's 16-year history.

Cons: People say that women's basketball is the game in its purest form because the players rely more on skill and team work than athleticism, but that's not really true. These players are no more skilled or cohesive than good NBA teams, they're just less athletic, and those jump ball rebounds often turn into chaos below the rim.

To Be a True Hipster: Talk about the dominance of the 1996 USA women's basketball team at the Atlanta Summer Games where Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Co. won every game by at least 15 points.


I once heard an anchor on ESPNews say "lacrosse seems like a sport I could get into if I paid attention to it." Never mind the fact that he was doing lacrosse highlights and just admitted he knew nothing about it, this guy spoke for most of America. Lacrosse looks really cool, but what the hell is going on?

Pros: People always think lacrosse is too complex and convoluted, but really, have you thought about the rules of football? Exactly. Plus, lacrosse has all the pros of hockey (Except outright fighting) and more scoring.

Oh, and privileged white people can still play it at a high level.

Cons: The only schools where the sport is popular is a venerable list of Douche U's. "Oh man, I really want to get behind those plucky underdogs from Cornell, those poor bastards never get anything in life!"

"Dude, can you believe those players from Duke overcame all that money and private coaching to get really good at something?"

To Be a True Hipster: Celly.


I know what you're thinking: Joe, racing is all white trashy and stuff, and I'm a cool hipster that listens to Indie music. Well, grab your crappy lite beer, put on those cut off jeans and trim your mustache, because I'm about to give you another southern trash-hipster crossover.

Pros: Though racing has no stoppages, it is still the opposite of soccer. You can get up and take a break whenever you want. Seriously, there's 500 miles of these guys turning left, drink yourself into oblivion and don't come out of the bathroom until you hear people screaming about the 22-car pileup you have to see.

Cons: But, like soccer, it is also really boring. Plus, nobody seems to see the humor in slapping beer and whisky adds all over highly tuned driving machines. Actually, I guess as a hipster that irony would be a pro.

To Be a True Hipster: Root for the villain! Every trashy southerner can cheer on Dale Jr., but someone watching the "sport" ironically has to cheer for somebody like Kyle Busch or Tony Stewart, if only to piss off said southerners.


These two sports are great recreational activities for seniors, but that doesn't mean they don't make for a captivating viewing experience.

Pros: Even if you don't have money, watching The Masters or Wimbledon just makes you feel classy. These are both gentlemen's sports, so when a rivalry does emerge, it's always delightfully lame. It's like like when those guys on Gossip Girl sort of fight over that blonde chick (Especially since we all know that Blair Waldorf is the better character. What a charming "every woman").

While both are enjoyable and relaxing to watch with a nice lemonade, neither will actually get your adrenaline going. Sure, a great winner down the line or a monster drive off the tee are impressive, but neither is exactly exhilarating.

To Be a True Hipster: Golf and tennis give you so many chances to make new outfits. You're going to have so much fun!

Professional Wrestling

There was a time when pro wrestling was mainstream, but those days are long gone. No, in this post 9/11 world, it just isn't cool to watch two oiled up dudes in speedos tackle each other.

Pros: It's scripted, so it should be entertaining. I mean, sometimes they screw it up (Like, really screw it up), but the fact that the outcomes are pre-determined and that somebody has an idea where a particular story angle or character is going means you should get your money's worth when you tune in.

Cons: In the late 90s during the "Attitude Era," the WWF and WCW were selling out arenas everywhere they went, and high school/college kids where getting smashed and cheering on DX and the nWo. Now, it's a slightly younger audience. And by "slightly younger," I mean nine-year olds.

Now, there's nothing wrong with nine-year olds, I was one myself, but it changes the storytelling a bit. Now, instead of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin beating the crap out of his boss and driving a beer truck to the ring, we have John Cena talking about… Oh hell, I always zone out when he's got the mic. Whatever the hell he talks about.

To Be a True Hipster: Root for an internet, or "smark" favorite. The term "smark" is a mixture of "smart" (A person that knows wrestling is fake and is familiar with the background of the performers and promotion involved) and "mark" (A person that thinks wrestling is real). Basically, a "smark" is someone that knows wrestling is fake, goes on the internet to complain about story lines all the time, but still suspends their disbelief when they're watching the show.

Smarks love CM Punk, but he's been the champ a few times, so try rooting for Daniel Bryan.


Boxing has fallen from the mainstream, and MMA isn't quite there yet, so they finish out our list of hipster sports.

Pros: It's two guys beating the hell out of each other, and who doesn't love a good blood sport?

Cons: Unlike wrestling, the fights are often uninteresting as either A. one fighter dominates, or B. neither is able to mount significant offense. Knockouts are great, but we've been so desensitized by pro wrestling, movies and TV violence that when we see an actual knockout now it's like, "is that it?"

To Be a True Hipster: Talk about all the different holds you know. Seriously, you could totally put that dude in a chicken-wing if your jeans weren't so tight.