Barstool Sports: A poor excuse for comedy


Jahlea Douglas

GENESIS staff writer Junior Jenaro Delprete is a first year reporter at Elkhart Memorial High School. He specializes in music and reviews.

Jenaro DelPrete

Let’s be honest here, high school varsity culture comes with its fair share of bad sides. One of these bad sides really showed its true colors in a new internet phenomenon. It didn’t really come in the normal form that we’ve seen in trends before. This new internet-born comedy culture came in the form of “Barstool Sports.”

Characterized as a “sports and pop culture blog,” this site was launched by Dave Portnoy in 2003. It captivated college fraternity brothers and sorority sisters alike, and still today has an interesting following of sports fans and those in their circles.

Now, how does this apply in any way, shape, or form to high school students in the midwest? You see, it has a whole lot to do with our demographic actually and has been popularized in this area specifically.

A major player in the success in Barstool is the comedy aspect. Now yes, you do get the comedy from the highlight reels and funny interviews, but a lot of the comedy comes from direct commentary. This type of comedic effort comes from moderators and blog writers in the Barstool company. Funny enough, this caught on with the high school sports crowd, and moved into a completely different consumer movement.

Commentary on high school sporting events, done by teenagers at rival schools? What an interesting concept, no way it would catch on right?

I was terribly mistaken: it caught on like wildfire.

There is this weird thing I encountered when looking through all of the local barstool accounts. I noticed a very specific trend. To put it in the most basic terms, I noticed that every account was just trying to one-up the other. Virality was sometimes more important than the content itself. It seemed to me at least that every account was just trying to stir up more drama with their rivals.

And the problem occurs when it stops being funny and starts being ridiculous.

I know it is just going to sound like I’m complaining, but the trend is clear to me. Junior Esvin Herrera agrees.

“A lot of it is just about trolling the other schools,” Herrera said. “The account’s only purpose is to poke fun at others.”

So then I thought: Maybe these accounts boost rivalry and keep the sports families alive and well? To test this theory, I asked senior and athlete Michael Troyer about the rivalry aspect of them.

“I don’t think [the rivalry] has changed much [since BarStool began],” Troyer said. “It seems like all they do on them is talk smack about individual players on a team.”

It is a simple and ridiculous trend. After asking around, it does not really seem like there is any real beneficial aspects to this Barstool phenomenon.

In my opinion, I take this at face value. High school culture unfortunately has a dark side that thrives off of bullying and superiority complexes.

The barstool trend just takes that to new level–it takes it to borderline harassment. It seems like there are a few specific people that the two Elkhart accounts target, but I will obviously not name them out of respect for their character. It’s just quite sad and disrespectful.

We’ve grown a culture of fast consumption and peer downgrading, which has just embodied itself into the most easily consumable bullying media piece of Twitter. For being a sports oriented trend, this has very little to do with the actual sports or real sportsmanship.

Maybe the next Twitter trend will bring a better and more inclusive environment rather than this poor excuse for comedy.