Late Monday, while sitting through a rerun of “Pawn Stars” I’d probably already seen six times, my Twitter timeline, as the kids say, “blew up” with mentions of Steph Curry. By the time I flipped over to TNT a few minutes later all the chatter on the Twitter seemed to shifted toward some sort of loud, shrill San Antonio fan seated way too close to the television microphones.
It’s actually hard to remember what it was like to watch sports without following along on Twitter for the reaction from the digital peanut gallery. In this particular case, screaming Spurs Lady – like so many other instantly created and forgotten trending topics – was getting slaughtered, or at least well on her way to a hilarious parody account helping enhance the action from San Antonio.
Every now and then, you have to think … what did we do when we watched sports before Twitter? Invite friends over to watch games so we had somebody to make sarcastic comments about the whiteness of Jim Nantz? Yell at the TV? Listen to games on the radio while doing yardwork? Read to the homeless?
Perhaps an even better question to look at: what happens when your Twitter timeline gets besieged by a sporting event or cultural event (say the Oscars) in which you have zero interest? I tend to follow a lot of random, everyday people — most of them sports fans — and they provide much better insight and laughs than the usual jokers you see on every single “Twitter Must Follow List,” like Rob Delaney. Better yet, none of them ever retweet Fake Bill Walton, which makes them first ballot Hall of Famers in my book.
The problem tends to arise when something like the NBA - a sport where I only have passing interest – takes center stage. I’m well aware Curry is having an incredible 2013 playoffs and that just about everybody can’t stand it when Reggie Miller calls a game, but overall, NBA Twitter is like some sort of foreign language. (Who knew Nate Robinson could draw so much positive and negative heat at the same time?)
It gets all the more confusing when you can’t decipher a sincere or sarcastic tweet.
This applies to me, too, since I tend to tweet way too much about soccer. Bless the people who stick with me through every tedious joke about Gareth Bale possibly being the reincarnation of Jesus, or who haven’t immediately unfollowed me for putting the word “Sunderland” in their timelines.
And when you timeline starts to get flooded by topics you personally don’t care that much about (maybe it’s something like ‘Game of Thrones‘), it’s hard not to get resentful as if you’re still in the high school cafeteria and wishing you were sitting at the “cool kids” table. Part of you tends to think, I’ll show those preppy jerks … and then you tweet something oh-so-clever like, “this particular event you’re all watching is stupid and you’re stupid for watching it.” Zing! That’ll show them for communicating their witty insights and barbs about something that doesn’t interest me on social media. Let’s go eat some goddamn chicken nuggets.
There’s always the other route, trying to jump in and join the conversation. But then you face the potential for ridicule by coming across clueless as Steve Carrel’s character in “The 40 Year Old Virgin” when he claimed a female’s breasts feel like sand.
In practical terms, there’s always setting up filters on third-party Twitter clients to block the stuff you’re not interested in.
Still, unless you’re the hippest sports fan on the planet, well-versed in everything from hoops to baseball to snooker to curling to Aussie Rules, you’re often going to feel left out of the conversation. It’s probably okay — healthy even — to consider yourself a sports fan without feeling the need to chime in on every topic, at every time.
There’s always the alternative – and this might sound crazy – to log off Twitter during times the conversation doesn’t interest you particularly much.
A crazy notion, no doubt.