In life, you choose your passions and, more often than not, you stick with them. Some identify most readily the alluring world of sports, characterized by the spirit of competition, corporate sponsorship and as an excuse to get black-out drunk. Others turn to music— hoping to impress girls with their savant-like knowledge of deleted Smith singles. With rare exception, there two realms of intense fandom don’t often mix—the Rolling Stones Super Bowl halftime show notwithstanding. But if a sports fanatic and a music snob were to sit next to each other at a bar (one with an NFL Sunday Ticket and a surprisingly deep jukebox) they would find they have more in common than they previously though possible.
4. Favoring a Particular Era
Ask a sports fan about their favorite players, and they’ll probably start spouting off names of people who are more interested in opening restaurants with their names on them than shooting free throws. While sports lovers are doomed to live in the present, their true passions often lie in the distant past— in a time when Michael Jordan played more basketball than golf and was trying to sell overpriced shoes instead of overpriced steaks. They fondly remember the games they watched with their dear old dad, the man who heaped unrealistic expectations on them to excel in their high school football endeavors so that they’d get a sports scholarship to Notre Dame, get drafted into the NFL and be able to afford an exceptionally nice Florida nursing home for their one-day ailing parents.
The same holds true for music snobs, who oftentimes favor the era that coincides with their own musical awakenings. This was the time when you gave your little brother all your Bee Gees records and started amassing your collection of Frank Zappa singles. Clinging to the past means championing a particular format (“Nothing sounds better than vinyl, man”) and scoffing at the latter day iterations of their one-time musical heroes (“Metallica sold out after the Black Album.”) An obsession with past glory also results in a lifetime of unremitting disappointment, as your former musical heroes continually reunite in increasingly futile attempts to recapture the spark of their prime and sap ungodly amounts of retirement money from their aging
3. Celebrate Rivalries
The world of sports thrive on age-old rivalries that allow people to hate each other for no good reason. Teams have made it even easier by adopting unique colors that allow fans to pick out supporters of opposing teams, making for exceedingly convenient impromptu street brawls and bar fights. Rivalries are the things legends are made of, giving special significance to otherwise ordinary match-ups between opposing teams and allowing attendees to revel in a “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality.
Likewise, the music aficionado will often take a side in certain on-going musical feuds. Remember when Wayne Coyne dissed Beck? It’s a distant memory to most, but it’s still fresh in the music snob’s mind. While it may not inspire physical violence, you’ll find their thoughts on the matter hidden on message boards and in blog posts. And you haven’t seen true anger until you’ve witnessed a snob read Pitchfork’s negative review of the latest Sonic Youth record. Hell hath no fury…
2. Obsessed with Details
If you’ve ever been involved in and subsequently had your life revolve around a fantasy football league, you know that sports are all about the stats. The cold, unforgiving numbers of rushing yard, passing yards and sacks often matter more than who won a particular game— a development that allows fans to rationalize defeat with the phrase “At least my fantasy team is in good shape.” With baseball fans, the details become a party of the game, as batting averages and RBIs on the lips of all the diehards. There’s also the occasional obsessive type who knows LeBron James’ street address and training schedule— restraining orders waiting to happen.
The musically obsessed are similarly detail oriented, searching for opportunities in everyday conversation to effortlessly spout off the band roster and engineering staff on Pavement’s Slanted & Enchanted. You’ll find them peeking onto stages at concerts, attempting to memorize the exact model and location of each effect on a guitarist’s pedal board. When they’re not meticulously cataloging their record collections in spreadsheets, they’re on Wikipedia correcting the egregious errors of whoever wrote the latest entry on Skip Spence’s Oar.
1. Stockpile Memorabilia
The first sign you’re at a sports fan’s home will be the door mat, emblazoned with logo of whatever team they fell they must inform the world that they support. Get used to that logo, because you’ll be seeing it everywhere in their place of residence— on every beer glass, bedroom slipper and toilet seat. You see, once you begin supporting a particular team in earnest, you’re obligated to begin investing in their tchokeys. Your family and friend will help you, always assuming you’re in need of another bottle opener or coffee table book. But the collection doesn’t end there. Clear out a closet, because you’re going to need some place to put all your newspaper clippings (or just the stack of newspaper you plan to someday clip.) By the time you die, the auctioneer sorting through your belongings will either be creeped out or seriously impressed.
Music fans have a similar pack-rat mentality, often devoting entire rooms of their house to the piles of CDs and records that they rarely (if ever) listen to. But the music itself is only the beginning. Any self-respecting Eagles fanatic has at least one painted cow skull gracing their wall. Framed concert posters and signed photos found on eBay are also fair game. You’ll find piles of musical interments gathering dust in corners— products of failed attempts to finally start making some original music, before quickly realizing they have neither the formal training nor the musical talent necessary to actually play a guitar, let alone write a song that doesn’t sound like the work of a middle school garage band obsessed with Deep Purple.