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TV GEEKS watch every episode of a favorite TV show. They know all the characters. They know all the back-stories for the characters. They remember the plot of every episode of that show front to back. They “cosplay” – wear costumes resembling or representing their favorite characters and shows.  They hang around in living rooms and bars with like-minded fans, endlessly debating the minutiae of every episode of that show.

SPORTS GEEKS watch every game of the season. They know all the players. They know where the players went to school, what teams they’ve played on, and what their stats are. They remember dozens of plays from games played from childhood on up to last Sunday. They wear the jerseys and other licensed apparel of their teams, get team logos tattooed on themselves and paint their faces with team colors. They hang around in living rooms and bars with like-minded fans, endlessly debating the minutiae of every game.

TV geeks got beat up a lot in school.  Movies (“Revenge of the Nerds”) and TV shows (“Big Bang Theory”) mock them.

Sports geeks are frequently the ones delivering the beatings. Movies (“Hoosiers”, “Field of Dreams”, countless others) and TV shows (“Friday Night Lights”) revere sports teams whose successes are made possible by the fans.

Society loves sports fans. We dismiss TV geeks. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to make idle chit-chat with someone you don’t know well, particularly if you’re guys, you’re either going to talk about the weather or whether you saw the game last night. No random acquaintances ever say, “So, did you catch the new ‘Doctor Who’ last night?” The cab driver might ask you if you thought trading the Red Sox most valuable player for a couple good in-fielders (or whatever. Clearly, I don’t follow baseball) was a good call. But no cabbie is ever going to say, “So, the Doctor regenerated at the end of last season. What do you think of the new incarnation?”

And it’s not just TV geeks. It’s computer geeks. Tech geeks. Comic book geeks. Any group that feels passionately about some aspect of popular culture is ridiculed. Even political geeks, the ones who go to the party conventions, are roundly abused (amusingly, I must say) on The Daily Show.

Sports fans can go anywhere, talk to anyone, wear their fandom proudly, literally waving their flags in support of their team. Geeks of most other stripes hide their nerdy lights under their personal awkward bushels, revealing their Superman t-shirt only to the closest of like-minded comrades.

Even I, an adult human being with free will and my own money, am too intimidated to be seen out in public entering a comic book shop to buy the new “MacGyver” comic book series. I’m not a comics reader typically (I’m a geek, just not that kind, I guess), but certain titles will draw me in. What’s a geek intimidated by other geeks to do?

Life is hard.

The thing is, sports and TV and comics and all that all serve the same purpose to those who appreciate them: provide a release valve for the weirdness of real life. “Yeah, my job sucks, but at least I didn’t get clobbered like Winston did on that last play.” or “My girlfriend dumped me, but Spock’s entire planet was wiped out.” We all want the same thing. We just find it in different places.

So, can’t we all just get along?

Please don’t give me a wedgie.


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