I have a few pet peeves that I detest. They include standing in line, excuses, people who are late, liars, and laziness. In addition, I have an additional pet peeve that I seem to encounter every single day: People talking about a subject that they know nothing about. Now I hear people spout off in pure ignorance about basically every single subject under the sun but what I can’t stand the most, and what I do hear the most, are people who jabber about sports when they should just shut up.
Of course this hits me the hardest because I grew up with sports, played sports, and work in sports. I know all of you out there who have a certain profession or interest must cringe whenever you engage in a conversation with, or just simply overhear, someone talking about your passion with the confidence that they know it like the back of their hand. It is maddening.
Because sports is such a major part of society, especially where I live and the campus that I work on, I understand that it is going to be a subject that is discussed frequently. I welcome this and think that it is great. I appreciate when people ask questions about sports, offer general/factual statements and opinions, share their enthusiasm for a team or a game, or preface whatever they say with something like “I am not an expert on this but I think…” or “I admit I don’t understand this but to me… .” Where I have a problem is when a person or group of people start talking out of their asses about something they know nothing about (such as a rule, a coaching decision, statistics, personnel moves, or any of the finer points of sports) with the conviction that they are preaching God’s truth.
I experience these type of people mostly at the gym. Mainly I am subjected to this clueless banter from the time I set foot in the locker room through my time up on the weight room floor. As I have said before, I work out on campus at the rec center. Since about June, I have started working out during the lunch hour. This time slot attracts a lot of male university employees, professors, and retirees. They like to work out in little packs. For most of these people, this time is not really about working out, it is more about socializing and giving themselves the impression that they are working out. Fair enough, I try to just zone them out and do my thing. Students also strut around the gym talking sports with the attitude that they are Scott van Pelt. Just some things that I overheard today, keep in mind that it was the day after the BCS title game: Nick Saban is leaving Alabama for a higher paying job elsewhere, there will be a BCS playoff next year, Jim McElwain is becoming the defensive coordinator at Florida and Brent Pease is becoming the head coach at Colorado State, and Brent Musburger attended The University of Montana. I hear people spread misinformation like this on a daily basis. What really gets me though, and where I really have to hold my tongue, is when I both talk with people and overhear people talk about the Griz. You would be surprised at how many people just don’t have any idea about what is going on with the various UM teams. But since Grizzly Athletics is the number one draw in town, people are always going to be talking about them…no matter if they have a clue or not.
I think guys are especially prone to talk about sports and give off the false impression that they know what they are talking about just because it is kind of the masculine, macho thing to do. I mean you can pretty much prove your manhood if you can participate in a solid sports discussion. But come on now, cars are also a masculine subject that guys like to talk about. You could put my knowledge of cars into a thimble but that does not mean that I am going to act like I know the difference between a 1967 ferrari and a 1969 ferrari. Just save yourself the embarrassment of sounding like a complete idiot and avoid engaging in/starting a conversation that you really don’t know anything about. If a conversation starts innocently enough and is within your capabilities but it then becomes a little too advanced, simply claim ignorance. You will be much more respected if you do.
I want to make a distinction here. In this post I am pretty much calling out the people who walk around talking about a subject they don’t have much knowledge about. They are good people and have good intentions, they just get ahead of themselves and want to maybe fit in a little too much and act as if they know about the intricacies of athletics. These people are saints compared to the armchair quarterback losers I talked about in one of my most passionate posts ever. Just wanted to make that clear.
So again, stick to talking about what you know. If you don’t know something, don’t engage in the conversation. If you feel like you are missing out, do your homework and gain some knowledge on the subject. Remember, eventually someone will see through the BS. Don’t Blink.