Media Timeout: Message boards serve as outlet for sports fanatics

Sports fans are a vocal minority. Studies show that the sports section is the least-read section in the Ball State Daily News, and most publications in the country for that matter.

The thing about sports fans, though, is that they all have an opinion. Every true sports fan either loves the Yankees or hates them. Every sports fan has an opinion on their home team's personnel. And thanks to technology, every sports fan now has a means by which to voice his or her opinion.

Online message boards are the greatest thing since the NFL's re-implementation of the two-point conversion. The forums provide a common meeting place for refined sports enthusiast and the prototypical chip-eating, couch-sitting fanatic alike.

All one needs to join in on the online sports chatter is computer access and a finger with which to type. In this day in age, nearly every person in the Milky Way meets these requirements.

The problem with message boards is that everyone does indeed get a voice. Everyone shouldn't be allowed to have a voice, though. If every human were meant to have a voice, we would have all been given a megaphone at birth.

Now, I am not bashing message board users, nor am I saying all message board users have bogus opinions. This would be a double standard for I too was once a "Message Board Junky."

Think you may have the same problem? Here is a simple five-question test to be sure.

Do you talk trash to other posters? This is a sure sign you are hooked. Anyone can talk trash on message boards because one can easily conceal his or her identity. Weaklings of the world unite!

Do you speak to your significant other about the "thread" that made you mad today? If you answered "yes" to this question, let me tell you a secret: They don't care. You are wasting your breath. You could easily be talking trash on that same thread.

Do you know what a "thread" is? I am not talking needle and thread. I am not talking about new clothes. A thread is a topic began by a statement or question that other people are to respond to with a "post." On a side note, I always have wondered if a sewing message board topic would be a "Thread thread."

Do people call you by your message board pseudonym? This also applies to users of instant messenger. When a fellow junky passes you on the street and says, "Hey, WCCRunner!" You know you have a problem.

Do you communicate with friends or roommates by using the forum? If you want to meet a friend at the football game, give them a call, knock on their door, or write them a letter. I beg you. Do not use the message board in the stead of face-to-face communication.

If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, you may be a message board junky. Do not fret, though, there is still hope.

I mentioned that I used to be a message board junky. There is one sure-fire way to end your addiction to posting threads and replies online: Get a column in the local newspaper.

Write to Jay at