You’re not as different as you think.

Answer me this:  What’s the difference between the people in these two pictures?

(A) is technically correct, but the actual answer is (D).

Sports vs. science fiction does not and should not even come into the equation.  If you want to go on about how Dwight Clark REALLY DID catch that pass from Montana in the NFC Championship Game in 1981, but James T. Kirk never actually had any trouble with Tribbles, then you’re so far off the point that you’re talking to yourself.  What’s important is the people.

I have a feeling that a lot of people would easily agree with this, but I have had clashes with people who refused to see the similarities.  Here is why they are wrong.

First – they both are wearing themed costumes to public gatherings.  Simple enough.
Second – they have consumed their lives with the object of said public gatherings.  Don’t for one second tell me that the kind of sports fan that would dress up to ANY extreme is not obsessed with sports.  They can ramble off stats and player names like any Trekkie can explain the inner workings of a comlink (and based on fiction vs. based on reality is irrelevant here–both have zero application outside of their own respective mediums and are therefore equally useless)
Third – Keeping in mind that there are sports fans who don’t wear costumes to games, and Star Trek fans who don’t wear costumes to conventions (let alone attend them), there is something within all of these people that makes them ultimately the same in that they find value in dressing up for their respective events.
Fourth – They are both easily susceptible to a mental state of superiority over people who don’t know their respective obsessions the way they do.  The arrogant nerd is a common stereotype, especially in the world of internet comment sections, but let us not forget the sports fan who is appalled that someone near him doesn’t know how many yards you have to gain in how many downs.

If you don’t think that the latter example is really true, then let me offer my own testimony that I have seen it countless times with my own eyes.  Find a way into a room of sports fans that 1) don’t know you, and 2) have no sense of humor, and then make a comment that would suggest you don’t know something basic.  It can’t be obvious, like asking  how many outs there are during the first period of a hockey game; it has to be subtle–let me suggest my favorite, to be used during any game except hockey, “How many goals does Team A have?”  Watch the expressions of those in the room that are caught off guard by that–it won’t be all chuckles in disbelief; some will be deeply offended at your ignorance.

Let’s also defuse another protest–that some science fiction/fantasy fans, ESPECIALLY those in love with Star Trek, have consumed their lives with it so much that they regularly wear those costumes without something like a convention as an excuse.  To that I say, “Is that a football jersey you’re wearing today?”

There is nothing inherent in athletics that makes it superior to other forms of entertainment.  They produce great feats by the human body, where as things like science fiction and fantasy produce great feats of the human mind and imagination.  I have now firmly established that there is also nothing inherently different between the fans of either.  Keep that in mind the next time you chuckle at someone that appears to like their science fiction “a little too much.”

You’re not as different as you think.

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