I was having a hard time deciding what to write about this week, so I asked two of my friends during dinner what they wanted to read about. I told them that I usually try to write about topics that casual sports fans — and even non-sports fans — would enjoy reading about (e.g., broken dreams, beer pong, my being short).
After tossing out a few ideas, my friend Katie suggested that I should put together a dummy’s guide for each sport. She wanted something that non-sports fans could use to disguise their complete lack of knowledge and maybe even come off as somewhat impressive.
Best idea ever.
I’ve already tried to do this with a few of my guy friends (read: Nick Bayless ’10, photo editor for the News) who didn’t know the difference between a first down and a lay-up, and it has been surprisingly successful. So here it is: the one-paragraph guide to sounding smart about the Big Three.
First, figure out whether you’re watching pro or college basketball. An easy way to tell is to see if players are wearing shirts under their jerseys. If they are, then it’s college. Now, just wait for a three-pointer, and then say, “This is why the NCAA is so much better than the NBA. You don’t see that kind of ball movement in the pros. All they run are iso plays and high pick and rolls.” If it’s the NBA, don’t wait for anything and just loudly state that, “Kevin Durant is by far the most underrated player in all of professional sports. Does anyone realize that he still can’t legally drink? The guy is averaging 33/6/4 in February while shooting 57 percent from the field, over 50 percent from beyond the arc, and almost 90 percent at the line.”
More people watch the Westminster Dog Show than college baseball, so just assume that you’re watching the pros. The easy topics here are the steroids scandal and anything about the Yankees, but if you want to seem like you really know your stuff, talk about the Mets. Tell everyone that if the Mets had just won the games in which they were leading after the sixth inning, they would have won their division by 11 games. Call Francisco Rodriguez the most important free-agent signing that no one is talking about, and you’ll have everyone eating out of your palm.
This one’s my favorite. It doesn’t matter whether it’s college or pro, one line will get them every time. After any completed pass, just say, “Wow, the quarterback did a great job finding the weak spot in the zone.” If anyone tries to tell you that they’re actually playing man defense, look at him like he’s an idiot, shake your head slowly, and then say, “I can’t believe you can’t tell the difference between a Cover 1 and a Cover 2.” Tom Williams would probably hire you on the spot.
It goes without saying, but remember to use these phrases sparingly. The last thing you want to do is pull a John Madden and say the same thing over and over again for 2 ½ hours. Just drop your pearl of wisdom and then stare intently at the television for the rest of the game.
Karan Arakotaram is a junior in Ezra Stiles College.