Can a Hipster Love Sports?

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 team 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.


24 responses to “Can a Hipster Love Sports?

  1. Interesting thoughts.

    I think you’re right.

    Though if you support a football team that has a different/purist/unique philosophical approach you can still be hip.

    Try Dutch football or Arsenal in the English Premiership.

  2. “Contrary to popular hipster belief, an amazing baseball game can be just as life affirming as an Arcade Fire concert.”

    Brett, I’m spending the next two weeks praying long and hard about whether or not we can ever be friends again.

    And if, at the end of those weeks, the spirit moves me in your general direction, you’ll know that it’s only by the grace of God and not of my own free will.

    Here’s hoping,

  3. I think that many hipsters enjoy ironic team sports. For instance, kickball leagues are huge in St. Louis in the urban parks. Ultimate frisbee may also be an exception. But perhaps the midwesterm emanations are more sporty than their coastal counterparts.

  4. Yes, kickball. I can’t believe you didn’t mention that! Also, four square.

  5. Most hipsters hate sports because it reminds them too much of getting yelled at in gym class for missing the ball.

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  7. What about chess boxing? It was started by a performance artist. Surely hipsters could get behind that.

  8. Perhaps hipsters are just petrified of the violence condoned in sporting events. See Malcolm Gladwell’s new piece:

  9. Hipsters are grown up children.

    If many children like sports then many hipsters do as well.

    Just saying.

  10. Some of us play volleyball too..

  11. Recognizing that I’m a fairly typical hipster, my overall annoyance with sports is actually a frustration at the cultural fascination, even worship, of athletes and athletic teams.

    There is nothing wrong with respect for athletic talent, there is definitely a great deal to be enjoyed in athletic pursuits (from a pick-up game of football to more professional pursuits of it), but I am time and again turned off by the amount of money and time our culture dedicates to these “professional” athletes. Billions of dollars and a great deal of emotion and stress and energy and time, all to something that doesn’t seem to have the artistic and spiritual value of art and creation that those other things you mention you have.

    I just can’t find anything in any of the major sports in America (or worldwide for that matter) that inspire any desire to care about the teams or results of the athletic events. There’s so many other things that I do care about, and I’m constantly trying to find time to enjoy them.

  12. So how about that Brett Faver guy?

    What a weird dude, huh?

  13. “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.”

    Nicely put, but I think most hipsters would more than tolerate sailing. I bet most wished they knew how to sail. But I’m biased.

  14. christophermahlon

    Brett, I’m gonna echo the first response and say that football (He meant soccer) is a fairly popular hipster kind of sport. It makes hipsters feel cosmopolitan and worldly; I think anyway.

    Plus, as a huge soccer fan, watching a great team play ball is just about the greatest pleasure I get all week. I’ll second the endorsement of the Dutch Leagues and Arsenal in England, and add the Brazilian and Spanish national teams and Barcelona, who for my money are the absolute best team in the world and easily the most fun to watch.

    Too bad my favorite team is mediocre at best.

  15. I hate sports b/c I hate being reminded of my physical inferiority. Thank you for the scars, Flora High School.

  16. A lot of hipsters are okay with proper football (soccer).

  17. i just read this article while reseaching ‘hipsters who love sports’. reason being because im under the impression that i need to start dating men who are interesing yet…love sports…. so i can go do the things i love.

    thanks. <3

  18. Thank You! I just had this conversation at church last night. I go to a hipster-dominated church and my friend was trying to find people to play on her soccer team, but to no avail. Then we proceeded to talk about why people tend to be either hipster or sporty. Beneath all the commercialization and overpaid athletes, sports really are a beautiful form of art.

    We decided the solution is to recruit sporty people to the hipster church so they can mix and mingle and eventually make babies who are the perfect little hipster-athlete combos.

  19. I have a hipster friend from Baltimore. that knows nothing about sports, but I think I’ve got him into hockey. I’m from Boston, one of the most hipster cities in America, and I also like Animal Collective, Broken Social Scene, Funeral-era Arcade Fire, wear flannel, beanies, ride a fixie, and drink PBR. However, I’m a diehard Boston Bruins fan, something I’ve been since I was a little kid. I love wearing vintage Bruins shirts. We’re neighbors in our dorm, and I think after we’ve been playing NHL 11 a lot in my room, he really enjoys it. We were watching the Bruins-Canadiens playoff series, and he was really excited and got into Tim Thomas. Unfortunately, his favorite team to play on NHL 11 is the Philadelphia Flyers, a historical 70’s era rival of the Bruins, which has recently been re-ignited.

  20. Rugby, and a pint of PBR. I’m sure any hipster would love that combination.

  21. Reblogged this on Man Vs CHF and commented:
    Modern Pentathlon is the world’s most hipster sport. This is where a solid marketing campaign should begin.

  22. Pingback: 30 Sports Logos with Hidden Images and Meanings | Total Pro Sports

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