I barely follow sports at all. Whenever something big happens, like one of the local teams makes it all of the way, or some new superstar moves to town, I always make sure that I know just enough about what’s going on so that I can join in on any potential conversations with friends or coworkers. I’m pretty good at faking any conversation. One time I talked to this guy about the TV show Breaking Bad for like four hours, and I had never even seen a single episode. He didn’t know that. I feel like, when people talk about stuff that they’re interested in, most of the time they’re only concerned about presenting their own ideas without any obstruction. And I’m the perfect guy to have that type of chit-chat with. I’m not going to be like, “I hate Breaking Bad,” I’ll be like, “I know right!” Validation, enthusiasm, direct eye contact. I’m really good at pulling just enough tiny fragments of pseudo-information out of my ass and presenting them as mirrors of the first person’s point of view.
But anyway, sports. Even though I couldn’t tell you exactly what’s going on right now, I’m still invested just enough that if push came to shove, I’d be able to pick a side and join allegiance against any enemy fans. Since New York has two of every major sports team, this means picking a favorite across the board. And I have one of each. And it’s totally arbitrary. Well, maybe just a level up from arbitrary, because at this point, I’ve been a “fan” of each team for my whole life, so if anything, there’s a whole history based on what was once an arbitrary decision. So that has to count for something, right?
I definitely hate the Yankees. I’m not sure why, really, but the hate is real. So I have a Mets t-shirt. I’ll wear it around. It’s a cool shirt. I like the Mets’ logo and their colors. I love Mr. Met. But I’ll always find that whenever I’m walking around outside with my Mets shirt on, at least one or two complete strangers will feel the need to shout out something to me like, “Let’s go Mets!” as we cross paths. And I’m always way too late on the interaction to say anything back. I’m taken by surprise every time.
I really don’t get it. I live in Queens. Everybody’s wearing a Mets shirt. Is this person walking around screaming out, “Let’s go Mets!” to every single fan that he passes by? And it never comes out exactly, “Let’s go Mets!” it’s more like, “sco METS!” the first two words combined, said really low, and then Mets almost screamed, but not actually screamed, but by comparison, because the “sco” was said so low.
What are these people all about? What’s your angle? They look out at the world and they see things that confirm everything they already believe in. So it makes them happy to see themselves reflected back at them in the outside world. If you really need this type of a boost all the time, I guess a popular local sports team is a pretty good way to get your fix. Look at that bus! Mets logo! Yes! Guy with a Mets hat! All right! Another Mets shirt! Sco METS! I’m at Citi Field! Hell yeah!
I’m just walking around, head in the clouds, and by the time I’ve realized what’s even gone down, I’m just like standing there, turning around in circles, not even sure if the person who said it is still near me, or even which one of these people would have said it in the first place.
What am I supposed to do? I always wonder what I would say in response if I actually caught the comment as it happened in real time. Let’s say I see this guy approaching me, and I know he’s going to do it, he just has that look in his eye, and sure enough, like a foot in front of me, he says, “sco METS!” And I just stop. And I put up my hand for a high-five. And I say back to him, “All right! Mets! Wahoo!” Would he return my high-five? I’d be going out on a limb there. But then again, this guy already went out on a limb by saying something to me. And seeing as how I never ever respond, like I said, not because I’m rude, but just because the whole “sco METS” to random strangers things is always something I’m never expecting, I’m constantly leaving people hanging.
But I don’t really want that high-five to be reciprocated. Smack! Now we’re bros. Want to go grab a beer and watch the game? Uh, sure, I guess. That guy would find out in about ten minutes about how much I know about the Mets. Actually, that’s not true. I spent the first paragraph of this piece writing about how great I am at bullshitting about stuff that I don’t know anything about. And so I would be forced to sit there through the whole game, just nodding at all the right points, “I know right!” every single time. And it would be awful. Where was I going in the first place? Why did I drink so much beer?
One time I was looking for a job and feeling so down on my luck because nothing was going right and nobody was responding to my resume and I wasn’t getting any interviews. I’m walking around with my hands in my pockets and my head hung low and I see this lady with a duffel bag. The duffel bag was emblazoned with a corporate logo. So I stop right in front of her and scream out, “sco Goldman SACHS!” And she took a huge sidestep and tripped on the person next to us trying to get away from me as fast as she could. Come on lady! What the hell! Just give me a job at Goldman! I’m a fan! I swear!