Girls and Football
The problem for me is this: it’s just so artificial. No, really. It is. I mean, in real life there is no ref. There is no flag on the play. In real life, if someone is chasing you and they pull you down, you’re down.
You don’t get to say, “that’s a horse collar tackle. Illegal tackle. Let’s get up and reset.” Nope. In real life if you don’t want someone to pull you down by the collar, then run faster.
I come by this opinion quite honestly. After all, I have no brothers. My father didn’t watch sports. How did I know I hated them? Well, let’s see. There were the humiliating years in P.E. class and the miserable holidays spent listening to my uncles hoot and holler at the television.
The two of them would hole up on the couch and dominate the television set for hours on end. I adored my uncles. (Indeed, to this day, neither of them has ever done a single thing wrong!)
But I simply could not stomach watching the game with them. And I grew up knowing one thing: I did not want to live my life with a man who loved sports because I was unwilling to put up with the lifestyle.
Now I’m a practical girl. I’m aware that a lot of men like sports. No, strike that. They love them. They eat, breathe, and live sports. How have I managed my dating life as a sports-hater? I simply don’t date sports fanatics.
I’ve tended to date the nerdy guys, whose gym experiences were similar to mine: always chosen last with ample reason. This has worked out just fine and I’ve successfully avoided having to endure game watching and an entire afternoons devoted to sports.
Well, at least… I used to handle it that way.
One day when I wasn’t watching closely enough, a man wandered into my life and wowed me. Just fully wowed me. Stealthy as he was, he allowed me to become fully smitten with him before he casually mentioned, “I love football.”
A tight knot began forming in my stomach, but I managed to nod. In my head I tried to rationalize, How bad could it really be?
I come from basketball-loving state. So when a man said he loved football, that meant he followed one or two teams pretty enthusiastically. Here’s the thing. His concept of loving football was not like mine at all.
The man was a sports whore. He would watch anyone play. Literally. It didn’t matter who was playing, he was watching. The entire world stopped because somewhere in the country someone was playing football.
Oh, it gets better. He didn’t just watch football. He watched all sports. He would watch anyone play basketball as well. He claimed not to really like the other sports, but I’d catch him watching every sport imaginable.
And when the game wasn’t on, the NFL network was. Or ESPN or Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports. If it was about sports–any sports–he was slack jawed in front of it.
Did I mention that I hate sports?
But I loved him. So I would sit and try to watch games with him.
A funny thing happened. I got invested in a team. Even to my untrained eye, this team was something special. Watching them play was like watching a choreographed performance. The scoreboard reflected their excellence. They dominated their opponents.
You guessed it. This was the year the Patriots could not lose. I became frustrated when hating the Patriots became a sport itself.
Even my beloved–an otherwise intelligent and logical guy–was a Hatriot. I was aghast. He watched every team play, but he only had love for the Dallas Cowboys, who couldn’t seem to win.
To me, the on field antics of the Cowboys were amateurish and blundering. Watching them was like having visual whiplash. It was an unending series of resetting.
They were not the Patriots. They couldn’t lick the boots of the Patriots. Yet my man hated the Patriots. He cursed each time they won. His response was completely irrational to me.
“How can root against them? I don’t understand why you aren’t astounded by their prowess. ”
Through gritted teeth he answered, “I am a Cowboys fan. My father is a Cowboys fan. My entire family roots for the Cowboys. This is what we do.”
I tilted my head and looked at him curiously, “Wait, so let me make sure I understand. You’re saying that the merit of the team itself does not drive your affection for them? You’re essentially just a lemming?”
We didn’t speak for a few hours. When we did, we stayed off the topic of football.
During the Superbowl my man rooted for the Giants, solely because they were playing the Patriots. I spent the game completely annoyed.
“Isn’t there a small part of you that wants the Patriots to win because this would give them the perfect season? I mean, what a stunning accomplishment! This would be sports history!”
His answer? “You always hate the best team in the league when it’s not your team.”
My mouth hung open. His completely illogical, totally irrational, completely emotional approach to sports was just too much for me.
Sadly, the Patriots lost the Superbowl. My beloved celebrated loudly with much vocalization and some quite shameful dancing. Disgusted, I went home and didn’t take his calls for several days.
Current status? I still hate sports and I still avoid dating sports fanatics.