Friday, December 12, 2008

How To Shop For A Sports Lover

During this time of year I get a lot of questions from friends and colleagues that have a sports fanatic on their shopping list. Of course, I don’t think it is terribly difficult to buy anything for someone that is a sports fan, being one myself. Apparently, those who aren’t “in on it” find it to be daunting at best. The catch-all, easy gift that everyone wants to buy is usually a t-shirt, jersey, or sweatshirt. This can be difficult since the most dedicated have most of their gear and unless you are very close to them you may double up. Get a bit more imaginative with this. For example, I have enough Dodgers shirts and jerseys to wear a different one for at least two months. I don’t, however, have the latest division champs shirt from this last year. Be careful here, some fans only buy the types of team shirts that say division or league champs.

Why not stay away from a shirt completely? Buy tickets to a game. Very simple. No sports fan will ever be disappointed with tickets. Of course, be careful to find out whether they already have season tickets and choose your seats wisely. Ask someone that has been to the venue (if you have not) and get advice on the best seats for your money. Do not simply take the seller's advice on what seats are good.

Be careful about books. Some of us love to read about sports. Other sports fans didn’t realize that there was an “academic” part to sports. Some sports books are just silly – have you read anything by John Madden? I started to. Some golfers really enjoy reading about their sport in the technical sense and collect method books. Again, check your sports fanatic’s collection and you can likely make a good pick. If you do have a golfer or other sports fan that does collect books on their sport, you can’t go wrong with a gift card to Amazon or Borders.

How about a tee time? Buy your golfer a tee time. It is simple and something they are sure to use. Be very careful about buying your golfer gifts. I know some that are very particular. When I say particular, I mean obsessive. Again, a gift card to Roger Dunn or the local shop will probably do the trick.

Do you have a snowboarder or outdoorsy type? Get an REI gift card. Alright, by now you’ve figured out that I’m gift card happy. Don’t find this impersonal or lazy. You also need to determine the difference between the athletic participant and the spectator. There are a few things you should realize about sports fans and athletes – we are quite particular about our sports and use particular gear. While I will wear any Dodgers shirt you buy me, you really run the risk of buying me one I already have. If you buy me golf gloves, you have to know me well enough to know that I not only need a large, but am left handed. Oh, and I only wear synthetic material gloves, please don’t buy me leather. Buy me some surf wax and I’ll be grateful and use it even if you get me the kind that I don’t like how it spreads as well as another brand. I like to read particular sports stories and others completely put me to sleep. Oh, and I pretty much already own every sports movie on DVD that I want. See how complex even small things can get?

You can make put your gift cards in great little imaginative boxes and such. Borders is great for this. Wherever you get your gift card from you can stop in and get a little book or something kitschy to put it in. You can always get us an iTunes gift card as well so we have our soundtracks when we are practicing and sometimes playing our sport! There is always the direct way of taking your sporto shopping or point blank asking what they want.

Oh, and don't forget your small, local sporting shops. The surf, skate, golf, and others that are not a chain. These folks are usually the most helpful at finding gifts. They may even know the person you are buying for and can make a suggestion that is spot on!

What do you think is a good gift for a sports fanatic or athlete?


Lindsay said...

I think it's really hard to shop for people. My brother is a big sports fan (not an athlete himself), so it's hard for me to know what to get him. I'll probably go with a sweatshirt of one of his favorite teams.

I liked your idea of tickets. I also liked your idea of stopping into Borders and having them wrap a gift card and maybe add a small book or other gift.

I would love it if someone stopped into our local running store and asked the people there for gift ideas for me. I'd take anything from that store! So that was a great idea, too.

Apryl DeLancey said...

Yeah - I can't express the power of the local store that your giftee frequents enough!

cynthiablue said...

Hmm good ideas. I haven't done much shopping this year yet and I'm still looking for ideas. And I do know some sports fans!

For me, I like dog sports!

Apryl DeLancey said...

Nice! We've covered dog agility and some other dog-related activities here before. My Gussie and I go hiking!