The Big Picture: A Nerd By Any Other Name

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The reason they can't come together is BECAUSE they are exactly the same in almost all aspects, save one. The difference is the nerd stuff has little basis in reality whereas the sports stuff has real life equivalents. Think of a real life equivalent to a guy in a red and blue outfit with super strength, reflexes and the ability to shoot webs. Go on, try. Sports, on the other hand, is a bunch of very real people putting their physical abilities against each other.

Sports maintain the illusion of attainability on a subconscious level, whereas comics maintain an aura of spectacularity. THAT is the difference: A nerd will look for something he won't achieve and go as high as possible, whereas a sports fan will look for something he won't achieve and stop when it's still possible (albeit unlikely)

Just a theory though.

Interesting but in reality if you are in your mid 20s-30s and only watching sports - chances are your never gonna live up to the guys you see playing. I know not all TV sports fans just watch but a lot of the community is. Most sporty people I know are too busy playing in a team to actively watch much football

A Nerd By Any Other Name

This week, Bob examines parallel nerds.

Watch Video

Loved how you addressed what a nerd really is. :D .....btw DAMN THOSE DIRTY PATRIOTS!!!! Jets Lost :(

Incidentally for the non-sports fans out there, do yourselves a favor and learn to fake it. I'm genuinely interested in the NFL, college basketball, science fiction, video games, and history. Take a stab at which of those things are the easiest to start up a conversation about.

Having a well rounded set of things you're able to converse on is a good thing.


Hehe, it's funny because I have Aspergers syndrome...

Me too.

I know a guy with Aspergers. What's so funny about it in relation to the video might I ask?

Good point, though I still like being a sports 'nerd' over just a nerd because it's manly.

Such a great episode.

You're absolutely right. I've been making this very same questions myself for a long time, actually.

And if you think about, it's not only limited to sports. Don't forget which probably is the biggest "nerd fandom" in the female population: Fashion.

Actually, a friend of mine said like this:

"Everyone in the developed world is a nerd. The question is about WHAT."

Maybe in some topics the nerdness is bigger than in others, and of course inside the same topic it also varies from person to person.

But when you go down right to it, it's not so far from the truth.

i dont see nerd as a classification of certain behavior more of as a way of life, its become essentially a categorization of a certain subclass of our culture.

I just wanted to say, Bob, that this was easily the best of this column's editorials so far.
Your thesis was sound and interesting, your essay was on-topic, and your conclusion was appropriately inspiring.

Well done.

I agree! I've felt this way a long time. Until recently I'd never really liked sports unless I was playing, a friend was playing, or I was attending in person so I could experience the grandeur of the event. (Seriously, I HATE baseball on TV but I'd jump at the chance to attend a game with friends. Live in the ballpark is such a different experience.)

My family and I have talked about my disdain for being sports fans before, and it used to lead to "sports doesn't matter, it doesn't introduce new concepts or make you think, you can't learn from it, and I find most of the characters involved offensive."

Now that I have an 11 year old son I like sports for what it really can teach you - team work where it matters, discipline to hone skills that can be used to find a career, and as an example of how to behave if not everything goes your way. It's not cerebral, but kids that age need every good example they can get their hands on. Modern sports is one of the venues where they can see personal successes and failures played out in public, over and over again, in just a few hours.

Bob I think you may need to enplane the difference between sports nerd and JOCK STRAP



Rage much bro?

If you'd go back and read my comment I explain that sports organizations try their damnedest to make fans buy into the "we" and "us" mentality of being involved in the team. Hell, my local football club has billboards all over the metro area that say "We are not fans. We are FC Dallas!" Get over yourself and realize it's a culture you don't know much about so you should stop judging it and raging over it, bro.

when did i rage, i just said i hate it because its stupid? you realise thats not me in the video right?
and i know plenty about it, both schools i went to were heavy into the whole sports team culture thing so i've had plenty of exposure to it.

you know why they have those billboards and encourage it? they make money off you. other than that they couldn't care less about you.

But milkkart, you could be in that video if you really like it. Obviously he didn't, so he was one of the people who had his face melted by the wrath of God. ;)

Also, "bro"? That annoys me too. It's suggesting you have some sort of familial link to the person you are talking to, and makes you sound incredibly condescending, which suggests your opinion is superior to ours.

i know of one place that both sport and fantasy nerds can come together that is larping games

that ended brilliantly. nice work bob!

Let me just break out into a rendition of "Ebony and Ivory"

To me the difference between hardcore gamers and sports fans is simply one it accepted in society more than the other. In the way different sports are embraced by some cultures more readily than others and it becomes more normal to devote your life to Football (American or otherwise) in certain places than say, water polo or Guinea Pig racing. That there are national Starcraft tournaments that people actually care about in Korea is a case in point.

"it doesnt matter who wins the game"
Try asking any of the local gambling establishments if they agree with that statement :)

Ok why did it double post?

I'm a nerd i also have aspergers syndrome. but its not hard living with aspegers ,its living with people who don't have it.

I'm a nerd i also have aspergers syndrome. but its not hard living with aspegers ,its living with people who don't have it.

This may have been brought up already, but I always thought that tabletop role playing would be the last bastion of true nerdliness. But as we well know, we have seen hot porn stars play it. Do you think table top role playing ever be co-opted by the mainstream like comic books or computer games? Just something I've wondered about after watching "The Dungeons and Dragons Experience."

Bob we're fighting now. I <3 my Yankees.

Haters gonna hate.

As a nerd and a rabid sports fan (I'm a Philly fan), I am living proof that there can be harmony. I have to admit that I'm still the only one I know of who loves nerd culture and sports culture equally, though...I have no idea why there aren't more of me.

I watched this by accident and I quite liked it. Well done Bob.

Very nice installment - keep it up

Honestly, I had to repeat your comparison of football and Godzilla several times. It was so beautiful.

I'd suspect that this has already been said but I really can't be bothered to check.

The fundamental difference is mostly to do with each fandom's culture. Nerd culture is mostly introverted and very protective of itself due to the public scorn it receives, whereas the sports fans are the exact opposite.

I could illustrate this by mentioning that when you put the words "sports" and "nerds" together I found myself surprisingly offended for a moment as if they're not worthy to set foot on our territory.

We're very similar, sure, but we're diametrically opposed and have been for years, the two fandoms can never be compatible because whenever a nerd thinks of a sports fan he or she will instantly think of all those miserable P.E. lessons and every jock who teased us at school because of our nerdiness. The same can be said of the sports fan, they might be similar but when they're introduced to anything on our side of the fence and anyone who appreciates it they will automatically think of the nerdy kid that always let their team down and never showed any enthusiasm for their particular passion.

I'm willing to admit that they have some form of nerdy behaviour and the parallels are present but us nerds can't even settle differences in our own camp, let alone with one that we'd generally never want to be associated with.

There are parallels I could draw between the Xbox 360 and the PS3 since they both have a very similar games catalogue, but if I ever typed that one was better than the other you'll instantly see where people's allegiances lie. It's pretty much the same thing

I don't think I've managed to articulate my reasons as to why it's highly unlikely for sports fans and nerds to cohabit with each other in perfect harmony. I'd even agree that it can happen in some cases, but hopefully I've outlined some contributing factors. We're just too psychologically, socially, culturally and intellectually incompatible to form a satisfactory cohesion.

I think I see what you're getting at. Both groups are nerds, but as you pointed out, different sub-groups of nerds really don't get along very well.

I just realized, I think I ninja'd Bob there. About two weeks ago, our forums had a visitor who liked posting blogs about groups of people and needed a new suggestion. I suggested sports fans and put forth a similar argument. He said he'd have it up tonight (But has lots of side-factors that usually delay it). I think it was called prejudiceblog or something like that.

that yankees fan quip is win. =)

it doesnt matter who wins the game"
Try asking any of the local gambling establishments if they agree with that statement :)

like he said unless you have business or money invested in the team (like say money given to the bookie for whther the chargers or the jets win this sunday) the outcome of the game doesn't matter. The economy will not twist and turn based on who wins countries will not go to war and peopole may have a couple of scuffles but after the initial loss/win the everyone will shrug their shoulders. honestly do you or anyone else still care that the cowboys beat the vikings in 1996?

So much truth in this video. Man this has been a superb series so far, but this one really chimes with me a lot.

As everyone else here who is both a self confessed nerd and a BIG sports fan, I think all of us understand that its all the same kinda stuff. Nerds are good at seeing when they are being nerdy.

Its the rest of the world who stands up and proclaims that sport is different because they are healthy, out-door kinda things. Its because we get brought up being encouraged to PLAY sports that makes the difference. Nerds stay home, jocks go play sports. From then on its set in stone. Even people who haven't touched a ball in years think they are not nerds because once upon a time sport made you cool (well not at my school, but that's England for you).

Football is awesome (proper football with violence and blitzing and hail mary passes not this soccer bullshit my fellow countrymen for some reason seem to hold dearer than jesus)and its awesome in broadly the same way as everything else I think is awesome. At any second, any play can turn into a game winner, and it only can happen in a crazy spectacular way. On the flip side, I can get my teeth into average yards per carry and so forth, and appreciate it the same way I can appreciate the math involved in a good RPG system. Particularly the fact that mostly you have to play the odds, but sometimes you just gotta role the dice and pray for a natural 20.

Anyways, great video Bob. Am looking forward to seeing the Steelers whoop the Pats for the AFC title :P

sport jerseys = cosplay? You got a good point.

Brilliant episode

I always wanted to make a documentary short showing a die-hard Sox fan and a D&D nut in a split-screen, each talking at the same time about their respective area of expertise, the premise being that there would be times the viewer would have trouble distinguishing between them.

Now, I don't have to. For all intents and purposes, Bob made it for me.

Thank You, Bob

(also: the "Cosplay" angle is brilliant. Never heard anyone make that analogy before.)

Good point...I never thought of it that way, but I sure as hell am adopting the idea. I got friends like this, nerds. :D

WHat would happen to tabletop games, if sports fans and traditional nerds came together?

'Roll for agility or do 30 pushups for a +8 bonus'

Oh joyous images in my head.

Why can't nerds and sport nerds come together you ask? Simple. Nerds are intelligent.

They did not choose to live in a subculture, only noone else liked what they liked, things that challenge the brain more than any jock could deal with. Later, nerds became more self-confident and the social and cultural exile became a subculture.

Sports jocks always pick on the more intelligent pupils at school. Intelligent jocks are rare and so are sporty nerds, and with ill feelings and almost no intersection between these two groups they can never unite no matter how many things these groups may have in common.

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