Successfully Pretend to be a Sports Enthusiast

    First up: baseball, basketball and football. They are completely different, but the main thing you’re going to need to do is choose a team. Ideally, this team is either based in your hometown or one of the following. For baseball, go for the Red Sox, for basketball, the Lakers, and for football, the Patriots — or just talk about Tebow. That way, when people ask you why you have such a particular affinity for a certain team, your response doesn’t have to be a muttered explanation about how much you like the name “Mariners.”

    But before you go off and start purchasing everything black and orange, don’t suddenly follow the Giants, even if you’re from the Bay Area. You’ll look like you’re jumping on the bandwagon (the Giants won the 2010 World Series, which is like the Super Bowl for baseball). And don’t say that you support the Padres, even though you live in the area. Nobody does, unless you’ve lived in San Diego County for decades. 

    It’s a pretty safe bet to support soccer. Soccer fans are divided into two types: the hardcore fans who genuinely care about how well Liverpool is doing, and the ones who just like wearing those hip scarves. Make sure you can distinguish between the two before striking up a conversation in a sports bar. 

    And of course, there are just the hipsters who watch soccer because it’s European. They can’t pass for football, baseball or basketball fans, so they devote their time to following four teams: Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. They will support one of these teams with a passion only rivaled by the National Socialist Party and they will weep openly when their team loses. When you encounter this special breed of soccer fan, start chatting about Argentinian or Italian soccer — they will be completely befuddled.

    More importantly, supporting soccer means caring about the World Cup. Every four years, soccer teams from around the world gather to compete for the cup. Remember, the team’s country-based, so there’s no supporting Liverpool — just England. And if you’re gathering with soccer-fanatic friends, here are some betting patterns to follow: Italy is good, Brazil is good, Spain is in vogue and any team from Africa is a cute underdog. But most importantly, watching the World Cup means that it is socially acceptable to stay up all night drinking Newcastle Brown Ale. And if that’s not enough reason to watch a sport, I don’t know what is. 

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