Statistics are part of what make sports so fan-friendly. If you miss a game you can immediately see what happened by looking at the box score online. It will tell you a lot of things—who scored, who failed, who got injured—but it will never be the same as watching that game.
That’s why Annoying Fan Behavior #72: Repeatedly Reciting Stats During A Game is especially frustrating.
Some fans feel the need to prove their fanhood by scrupulously studying the statistics of their favorite team and being sure to let everyone around them know. Let’s say you’re sitting at a Dodger game (ok, bad example, you’d never be sitting at a Dodger game). Let’s say you’re sitting at a Lakers game and Lamar Odom comes in off the bench for Andrew Bynum. Lamar proceeds to score eight points in two minutes, prompting the bespectacled fan next to you to scream, “Why isn’t Lamar starting? He averages 14.4 points per game and Bynum only averages 11.3! Come on!”
Now anybody who knows basketball can tell you that there are various reasons why Bynum starts over Odom, none of which have anything to do with their points per game average. If you’re going to recite stats to prove an argument, at least make sure they are relevant.
Even if they are relevant, however, there is a place and time to have stat-related discussions. When relevant, a stat can be insightful and help fans view the game in a different way. But I don’t want to hear how many homeruns every batter who steps to the plate hit last season. Save it for when it means something.
When Ryan Braun drives in a game-winning run and everyone’s screaming and celebrating, I don’t want to hear “You know it’s not a surprise. He’s hitting .354 with runners in scoring position…”
Shut up and let me enjoy the game!
I realize that not everybody played sports growing up, and it’s difficult to talk about the nuances of the game if you’ve never played. So stats may seem like an easy way to fit in and sound informed. But I’m here to tell you that there’s no better indication that someone knows very little about the game than when they spout off stat after stat in the middle of the action.
If you really want to learn about whatever sport you love, put down your laptop, watch, and listen. You’ll be surprised how much you pick up.