Why you should care
Because a shirsey doesn’t count as a gift.
So, there’s a sports fan on your gift list … what to give the ballplaying zealot? Fear not, my friend. Whether you’re shopping for a turkey-stuffed dad dedicated to the couch and a full slate of football or a child still exploring their fandom, the gift ideas below cover a broad spectrum of giving options. This year, don’t be the one who hands out socks on Christmas. Let me show you the way.
The “Dad Wants to Throw a Football Watch Party” Home Brewing Kit
For some sports fans, food and drink are just as important as the actual game. Your favorite legal-age football fan will likely appreciate the PicoBrew Model C Brewer ($549). Though the craft-beer craze has hit an all-time high, there’s still something satisfying about testing your own malted merit. Brewing beer can be a long, complicated process, but the Pico C pumps up to five liters in two hours, allowing for a full day of taste tests and experimentation — the perfect complement to any holiday or Super Bowl party. If nothing else, it’s a good reason to get off the couch.
A Gift From the Basketball Gods for Your Literature-Loving Sports Nerd
Even sports buffs love a good read, and Basketball (and Other Things) ($10.97) is the ideal blend of sports history and humor. Two-time New York Times bestselling author — and tweet god — Shea Serrano has quickly become one of the sports world’s premier humorists. Serrano deftly unravels the history of basketball via ridiculous debates, quirky answers and unexpected wisdom. His sharp tongue and distinct voice reel you in, but the illustrations from Arturo Torres may be the real slam dunk.
The “Take It Out Back, Kid” Gift That Will Actually Improve Their Game
This is serious business, folks. This product — a training tool that allows athletes of any age to independently work on their game — was pivotal in my growth as a young slugger. The Heater PowerAlley Lite Baseball Pitching Machine ($149) is exactly what it sounds like: a pitching machine. As a youngster, the most important moment in my baseball development was when my pops built a batting cage in our alley. And when he brought home a starter pitching machine, I could work on hitting with or without another human to rely on. (Clearly, I never became the power slugger I was meant to be, but I blame that on a historically traditional approach to swinging for doubles. Had I learned the uppercut swing employed by today’s MLB home-run hitters, I think we can all agree that I wouldn’t be writing this now. Maybe.)
Pass a Piece of the Pie
Just look at today’s obsessive fantasy football and sports gambling markets — sports fans love to engage with their favorite teams, getting the amplified high that comes from a big score, the devastating lows of a brutal blunder. One way to connect fans with the games they love: Buy stock in professional franchises. Shopping for a fanatical Atlanta Braves supporter? Consider a gift of Liberty Media Formula One Series C (FWONK on the NASDAQ) stock — FWONK is a tracking stock, so you’re not technically an owner of the Braves. But you kind of are. The smarter move, though, may be purchasing stock in Manchester United (MANU on the NYSE), the richest soccer team in the world and the third-wealthiest sports franchise overall, per Forbes. At $19.55 a share, you better believe I’m along for the ride.