Join the party? Not to get all Al Gore-on-the-Internet/Sean Combs-on-the-remix here, but I've been sports hatin' since I've been breathing -- , the New York Knicks, the New England Patriots, Duke basketball, the NCAA, Lance Armstrong, the federal government that went after Armstrong, Dan Gilbert, LeBron James, Boston Red Sox fans, sports moralizers of all stripes, wealthy owners dipping into municipal coffers and the politicians and fans who enable them, even myself and other sports writers; my on-record hating is vast, it contains multitudes&mDASH;and if I didn't write the book on how a regular cooler-flipping Haterade bath does a body good, I definitely penned the comprehensive article.
So yeah: Drinks are on me.
Sports hatred is engaging. As a fan, it gives you&MDASH;to borrow a favorite phrase of flat tax, soak-the-poor conservative television pundits everywhere&MDASH;more skin in the game, more chances to experience a vicarious thrill. Sing when your team is winning; sing when the team you can't stand is losing, too. At its core, sports is contrived drama, same as the movies and reality TV. All are more entertaining with a villain. (Star Wars with Darth Vader? I am your father. Without Darth Vader? Yippee!) Moreover, some psychologists contend that sports hatred&MDASH;the silly, theatrical, overwrought kind Hampton described, not the deranged variety found in lousy Wesley Snipes-Robert DeNiro flicks—is actually healthy, because it allows us to vent the very real frustrations and disappointments of our very real lives in an essentially harmless way.
Also, hatin' is just plain fun.
As such, I'm bummed that the Lakers and Knicks are out of the playoffs. That Duke didn't win the NCAA championship. That the USSR no longer exists as an Olympic foil. That Armstrong is mostly a triathlete now. The Brett Favre is finally, mercifully retired. That Nadal looks vulnerable. That the Red Sox and New York Yankees—truly sorry for the latter, Jake—are looking up at Baltimore in the American League East standings. I hate, yes; but only because I love doing so. And therein lies the irony of true sports hatin': The only thing worse than seeing the objects of one's irrational derision win is to see them lose.