A look at why athletic events and sports fans are valued over nerdy fan groups

Since the mid-2000s, being “geek-chic” has become the fashion. Shows such as “Doctor Who,” “Supernatural” and “Sherlock” have risen in popularity. However, they still cannot compare in size and media coverage to sporting events, which in my eyes is a major issue.

For example, look at the Superbowl. With 70,288 attendees and 114.4 million viewers per minute, it became the most watched event in American history. So when you do the math, that’s approximately 23 million people glued to the outcome of two sweaty groups of men, running down a field with a ball. This is sounding pretty similar to most sports.

Coaches come up with game plans based on the strengths and weaknesses of their players and those of the opposing teams. The athletes use their bodies to carry those game plans out, with physical skills being the primary concentration. This plays into the concept of the brawns in the patriarchy, holding back the viewer’s intellectual stimulation while promoting primal baseness.

Mild use of strategy is made, but otherwise, it’s not very intellectually stimulating for the viewers.

With shows such as “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock,” most of the game plans carried out are a battle of wits, oftentimes pulling in greater concepts related to politics, philosophy and human nature. Not everyone wants that. Television is primarily watched so folks can unwind and turn their brains off after a long day.

On the other hand, being part of a fandom can be just as fun as being a sports aficionado.

To those who are unsure, a fandom is a specific topic that is enjoyed by its fans. Officially in the Oxford Dictionary, it is “the fans of a particular person, team, or fictional series.”

You might have also heard of the term “fangirl,” which is used to label an obsessive female fan, and yes, we are slightly bonkers. Just know you shouldn’t underestimate the power of fangirling itself. Think “Beliebers” and multiply it by about a hundred … scary, I know.

Shows, films and books in nerd fandom vary from science fiction to fantasy and amalgamations of anything in between. They are intricate and complex; however, we still place sports above nerdy fandoms on the list.
Or maybe it’s the inherent patriarchal system that exists in the promotion of certain brands and items by placing physical power over intellectual endeavors. Or maybe it’s the fact that today, we still cringe at the thought of being a ‘nerd.’

We think back to our childhoods, and those folks who were called nerds were awkward, scrawny and unpopular. It doesn’t matter that they are now successful computer engineers or authors doing well in their own right. We would still prefer to be an athlete, someone looked up to for their physical prowess rather than a geek who, while still making a fair amount of money, is mildly admire but not revered.

I asked a group of young middle schoolers who they’d rather be for a day: Steve Jobs or Tom Brady? More children said they’d rather be the football star. Why? Because Tom Brady is cooler. Steve Jobs was OK, but he was kind of dorky. Tom Brady got to tackle people. This only goes to further enhance that patriarchal idea that unless you have visible, physical skill, your talent is worthless.

Nerds are still perceived as different, and despite all the promotion of equality, we are constantly in fear of being the outcast. We keep up with sports, talking March Madness and golf tournaments, keeping up that mask that hides the fear within.

As a school, we know that sometimes school spirit for sports isn’t necessarily always up there. However, recently our men’s basketball team pulled in the NCAA tournament, and school spirit soared for a couple of weeks.

That’s all fine and fantastic, but one has to realize that 40 percent of our mandatory student fees go towards sports. I don’t see nearly 40 percent of the budget being devoted to groups such as Model U.N. or the Debate team. Perhaps if the same treatment were given to non-sports teams, people would start broadening their horizons and placing value upon brains over brawn.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Brawns and brains: Sports do indeed have intellectual and cultural qualities - The Signal

Comments are closed.