by Michael Garatoni, Assistant Editor
Sportsball—(n) a generic term for any form of sport involving a ball, and especially those with “ball” in their name. (source: urbandictionary.com)
Perhaps you have met this person—the brand of hipster/intellectual/artist/writer who ironically uses the term “sportsball” in reference to any and all of the major professional sports that figure prominently in many of the pop cultures of the world. It’s a pejorative term. Though in speaking of “sportsball” our hipster/intellectual/artist/writer confesses his inability to understand or speak authoritatively on those activities occurring on the field or in the arena, he’s also alluding to the fact that he has no shame about it; conversely, he implies also that perhaps it is you, the die-hard fan, who should renounce or reconsider your allegiances.
He’s letting you know that he hardly either knows or cares enough about sports to distinguish between basketball, football, baseball, soccer etc., and that’s okay because why should anyone care about sports? Why should anyone care about the successes and failures of sports teams that just happen to be based in the city or state in which one just happens to reside? Why should anyone develop a special attachment to an athlete he has never even met? Why should anyone share your weakness for those absurd regional sporting rivalries that support commercialism, cause disunity, and oftentimes become the cause of senseless violence?
In ironically distancing himself from the sporting aspect of popular culture (and perhaps pop culture in general) our hipster/intellectual/artist/writer probably raises a few good points. Sometimes fandom goes to far. Additionally, he may be reacting (understandably) to an opposite and equally extreme ideology that classifies any non-sports-fan as an odd duck.
However these attitudes tend to enforce false stereotypes that ultimately constrain creativity in sports fans and non-sports fans alike. To be an artist, a great writer, does not require that one turn away from all aspects of popular culture. In truth the artist/writer only handicaps himself by refusing to become conversant in the language of sports and popular culture.
Among those of us working on the publication of 1966, some of us care a great deal about sports. Others of us do not. But we all believe strongly that viewing and participating in sports as well as other elements of pop culture represents legitimate avenues for the exploration of those human truths that constitute the subjects of great creative nonfiction. In short, fandom is not at all incompatible with our mission.
At 1966 we welcome research-driven sports writing as well as non-sports writing, authors with a affinity for sports as well as authors without that passion. And we look forward to publishing our first sports-related nonfiction piece in our upcoming issue.
On that note we would like to send a shout out to the team that is nearest and dearest to our home city, San Antonio.
Win or lose, GO SPURS GO!
For more information (from a great writer and sports fan) follow these links:
3 thoughts on “On the Occasion of the Conclusion of the NBA Playoffs, A Note on Sportsball:”
Where is the “she” in this?
While the use of the male pronoun might indicate that the author assumes all hipsters with an aversion to sports are male, perhaps you assume all sports fans are male? Three of our editors are female, and all of us are Spurs fans. Therefore we don’t see this reflection on the compatibility of sport and art to be particularly gendered, although we regret you feel excluded from the discussion. We hope you will still continue to read the journal and consider submitting work.
As a hipster/intellectual/artist/writer I say I resemble that remark!
Interesting article, and spot on analysis in regards to the term’s implicit suggestion that sports fans should change their allegiances.