Since everyone believes that they’re own opinion on sports is usually the right one, a sense of elitism is created that makes people believe that they are better than other people that they talk to about sports. I think that every sports fan, in their own way, is a sports elitist. And there are many types of sports elitists. You have the quintessential sports elitist that is comprised of sports radio talk show hosts, sports writers, and local TV sports anchormen. Other groups of sports elitist include old school elite, the general elite, the Internet elite, the gambling elite, and the almanac elite.
People in sports media are probably the most obvious type of sports elitist. In their minds they are actually as important or more important than the athletes themselves. Most of these guys actually buy into what they are saying no matter how ridiculous. Most of them have no idea of what the athletes go through and hold the athletes up to standards that they themselves don’t live by. Most of us don’t have any contact with these people besides hearing them peddle their opinions on the air or in print. Saying all of that, there are many people that cover sports that can be respected as knowing their own limitations as well as those of the athletes, but they are far and few between.
The old school elitists believe that because they have been around for so long that they have a better understanding of the game and that they know best. They look down at the way sports are played today and the athletes that play them. They always talk about the “glory days” and think that sports haven’t been the same since players began being paid millions of dollars. For them, nothing of importance has happened in sports since the late 60s.
The general elite has the same attitude about everything including sports. They have a passing interest in sports, but think that they are so smart that they don’t really have to follow sports to have intelligent opinions about sports. Usually these people don’t watch sports until the playoffs and don’t feel the need to because the regular season games aren’t that important. The only time you talk sports with these people is when something about sports reaches the front page of the newspaper.
The Internet elite think that because they have a screen name, and maybe even a reputation, on message boards that their opinions on sports are validated. They pay extra money to have “Insider” status on the web and get the extra information that mere mortals can’t obtain (unless they have a credit card). Because of this “Insider” information they believe that they actually know what is going on with a sports program or organization. These people usually don’t respect what is actually going on and often have trouble drawing the line between their Internet persona and reality.
Most gambling elitist believe in nothing more than the bottom line. They claim that they are the most objective and never bet with their heart. Usually you see these people at bars either buying drinks for everyone because some random Ivy-League team covered the spread or they are searching for loose change in vending machines because they tried to turn their last $10 into $200 by trying to pick a 5-team parley.
Almanac elitists are exactly what they sound like, people who memorize stats and use them as often as they can to seem like they know what they are talking about. Usually you only want these people around when you have an obscure question about a sports record, after that they are dispensable.
Many sports fans fall into one or more of these categories and are, even if they don’t admit it, sports elitists. And in my opinion there is nothing wrong with this. One of the greatest elements of sports is that it doesn’t really matter. It’s not like politics where people sometimes feel as though they have to keep their opinions to themselves so that they don’t offend anybody. The end result is that people continue to talk sports with all kinds sports elitists and I would much rather have that then be surrounded by people that only talk about stuff that matters.