Everyone here at Rock M Nation tends to understand that the move to the Southeastern Conference was an upgrade in athletic competition for the University of Missouri in the majority of the sports Mizzou competes in. With this move comes the fans of the competition, and although the opinions of the fans tend to have no real bearing on the sport itself, the conversations between fans can have a real bearing on a person’s day.
Yes, it is possible to have a civil conversation with an Arkansas fan about the upcoming Mizzou/Arkansas rivalry, and it is possible to speak with a Georgia fan about the upcoming football season without having to hear about how Missouri does not know what is about to hit them. It is more likely that the conversation goes in the direction of "now you’re playing big boy football",so how does a fan deal with the attitude of another fan that their team is somehow inferior to their team without having any real experience playing against them? Well, there are a few techniques that can help ease the pain of having this discussion. When speaking to an elitist sports fan, it is important to do three things. First, keep perspective. Second, Don’t fall into any traps. Third, remember the facts.
When approached by an elitist sports fan, the first thing to remember is to keep perspective. By remembering that you are discussing sports, and not a life-changing event, a religion, or a political belief that could affect your family’s well-being, you are able to keep a cool head and reason with them. Also, even if this elitist fan’s team is in fact superior to your team, it is important to remember that the success of the team does not gauge the quality of the fan. Missouri fans have the benefit of experience when it comes to this concept, as kansas fans made sure to try and make Tigers fans everywhere feel as if they were some kind of lower life form, no better than the dirt they stand on. If you are able to keep perspective, you are able to make this elitist fan realize the juvenility of their approach. Because you have made the "playing field" level, you can now begin to reason with this fan. An important thing to remember when keeping perspective is that REASON ALWAYS PREVAILS. When speaking with an Alabama fan about the success of your program, do not attempt to make Missouri sound more successful than Alabama. It is irrational, and you will lose every time. By admitting to the successes of the elitist fan’s team, you gain credibility and can then state your position on your own team.
Next, make sure you avoid falling into the elitist fan’s traps. The elitist fan feeds off of the reaction of their prey, and by letting yourself get upset and defensive, you are only reinforcing their position of being on the higher ground. It is very easy to listen to them trash on your team and get upset, for you are the ultimate diehard fan, and you take personal offense to their insults. Their insults are nothing more than a trap door, and by stepping foot on that trap door, they have you right where they want you. Keep a cool head, and avoid insulting them or their team. By at least appearing to not let their insults to your team bother you, you are instantly bringing your fandom and even your team up to a higher level. When their insults start flying, laugh them off or ignore them completely. It makes everyone’s day a little better. Do not give them the pleasure of returning their insults with more insults. For the good of sports and their fans everywhere, keep sports discussion as civilized as possible. God knows the last thing the human race needs is something else to berate one another over.
Lastly, remember the facts. This last piece of advice is completely reliant on the first two. If you are able to keep perspective as well as avoid falling into traps, you can then establish your argument by stating the facts instead of arguing opinions and values. This is applicable to more than just sports fandom, but is extremely useful when debating an elitist fan. Sometimes, it is important to step back from being a fan of your team and just accept the facts. If your team is not good, your arguing otherwise is not going to make your team good. By acknowledging your team’s true level of success, you can then keep perspective AND avoid falling into traps. However, if your team is good, it is much easier to get through a conversation with an elitist sports fan who says otherwise when you avoid relating your team’s success to said fan’s team’s success. By not comparing the two teams and their achievements, you can keep an objective stance and not feed the elitist’s craving to tear down another fanbase. By not relating your team to another team (yes, even if it’s a rival), you can not only avoid getting into a pissing contest but can just enjoy being a fan of your team. Less fighting, less angst, more sports, something the world could use.
While this is definitely inspired by my being a Mizzou fan and dealing with other fans (and certain sportswriters out West and down South), this is a general blueprint on how to deal with elitist sports fans in any context. These are valuable techniques to avoid letting Mizzou’s fanbase fall into ruin just because of some "disrespect" from opposing fans and hungry journalists. Useful advice I hope we all can use.