Someone recently asked me if I had a chapter in my book about hipsters and sports. I don’t, but I think a chapter could definitely be written about it. And I think it would be interesting.
Hipsters like a lot of good things: good food, drink, clothes, music, movies, books, etc. By and large, they have fantastic taste.
But for some reason, hipsters aren’t that wild about sports.
It’s unclear exactly why sports (and I’m mainly talking about popular American sports) are so anathema to the average hipster. Perhaps they perceive sports as some sort of low-culture bourgeois pastime, or a malevolent technocratic tool of the WASP-filled hegemony. Or maybe it’s just that sports (with the exception of horse-racing and maybe golf) are so sporty and gauche. Perhaps it is the outmoded undercurrents of nationalism, traditional gender roles and barbaric competitiveness that turns off the hipster. Perhaps it is the cheerleaders.
Whatever it is, I think it’s hugely unfortunate. I am a hipster who loves sports, and I wish there were more of us out there. I love listening to Animal Collective and being snobby about microbrews, but I also love college basketball and I pretty much put my life on hold for a few weeks in March on account of that. I prefer arugula to iceberg, Manchego to Velveeta, and Terrence Malick to Tony Scott, but I also routinely spend entire Sundays watching NFL games on TV. Does that make me an oxymoronic snob? I don’t think so.
Contrary to popular hipster belief, an amazing baseball game can be just as life affirming as an Arcade Fire concert.
Hipsters these days do enjoy some sports. Bocce ball is hot right now, for example. And biking and mountain climbing have always been hipster-friendly. Some hipsters also can tolerate sailing, especially if it means they can wear Marc Jacobs’ latest sailor-inspired clothes along with Ray-Bans and windswept hair. Most of them appreciate recess lawn games like Red Rover and water balloon toss as well. But unless they are at a Superbowl party with a sardonically enormous amount of beer and homemade guacamole, hipsters could do without most other sports.
And it’s a true shame. I challenge every hipster who reads this to take another look at sports. Start following a team this football season. Root for a college basketball game this winter. Dare to attend a baseball game and actually pay attention!
It might not be as fun as loitering around a record store or reading Goethe, but sports can add something to your life.