The Slice

Here's why people hate sports fans

I don't really follow the NFL, but I don't mind talking about sports.

And there is a cashier at one of the grocery stores I frequent who is a big football fan.

So, in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, we got to talking about the game. He asked me for a prediction.

I said that my guess was the Broncos would win because of experience at quarterback. He nodded and refrained from calling me an idiot. But he said he thought defense would decide it and that favored the Seahawks.

Anyway, I had not seen him since the game. Until yesterday afternoon.

I was checking out in the lane next to his but got his attention.

"I was 100 percent wrong, and you were 100 percent right," I said as we shook hands.

He smiled, which pleased me. Another store employee made a mock-pained expression, saying I was creating a monster.

All good, right?

Well, as I am about to pick up my bag, a shopper in the football fan's lane interjects himself into the conversation.

I could not tell what he said. Something about Peyton Manning.

So I cheerfully say -- implicitly acknowledging that I had been dead wrong -- "Yes, I thought he would trump all the other variables."

So the guy says, "He never has before."

"Well, one time," I say, alluding to an Indianapolis Super Bowl victory years ago.

"Against a weak team," he says.

"A weak team in the Super Bowl?" I say.

At this point he begins dissing the Chicago Bears team that lost to Indianapolis.

The cashier, perhaps sensing that the feel-good moment has now passed, says goodbye to me as I pick up my bag and head toward the store's exit. I did likewise.

To be fair, the Manning-basher never raised his voice. He was not ranting. And maybe he knows his football. Or perhaps he is a member of the Christian Right who thinks the Broncos were unfair to Tim "Public Prayer" Tebow. I do not know.

Moreover, it is true that Manning has lost a lot of big games. That he might have been responsible for getting his teams to those big games could be debated.

Here's the thing, though. The Manning-basher is welcome to his opinion. But that moment belonged to the cashier. Not him.

At least that's how it was supposed to have gone down.




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