Men watching sports is one of the most primordial forms of bonding there is. It transcends any kind of language or communication the human race has ever established. When women try to throw themselves into this tangled web of camaraderie, relationships can be destroyed. I know this first hand.
With that being said, I know plenty of women who know their sports and can go toe-to-toe with any man. But sometimes, men and women watching sports together can be like trying to push the two opposite sides of a magnet together. It just won’t work.
With football season getting under way, here are 10 suggestions on how to successfully bridge that gap for women who are rookies to sports watching:
- Stop asking who “that guy” is. Chances are a graphic will pop up on the TV screen in about 20 seconds telling you who he is or the commentator will tell you.
- Don’t ask to have the rules explained during the game. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to watch a football game and having to explain what a neutral-zone infraction is. It’s like watching a movie and asking what’s going on. In the time it takes to explain what just happened, something important was probably missed.
- Do a little research. Making a comment like, “Why is Whitehurst in the game? Did Rivers get hurt?” makes us think you care.
- Pick your spots. Try not to overcompensate for your lack of knowledge. If you’re oblivious, limit yourself to the obvious like saying, “Nice catch” or “He’s fast.” If you feel the urge to say how cute you think the players look in their uniforms, suppress it. Less is more in this situation
- Root for the home team. Rooting against us is not cute and it’s not funny, so please don’t do it. If you’re watching sports then watch it with us, not against us. Most guys are sore losers. There’s no quicker way to ruin a day (or romantic evening) than heckling a guy while he’s watching sports.
- Bring something to the table. Literally. Guys love snacks and are easily bribable. There’s no better way to get into our good graces than baking a batch of cookies for the game.
- No public displays of affection. This is pretty self-explanatory. It makes guys uncomfortable, especially if they’re watching with their friends. It becomes a huge awkward mess and you’ve just opened your boyfriend up to at least a week’s worth of chastising. This will almost certainly be projected onto you later.
- Watching passively doesn’t count as watching. If you’re going to watch sports with guys, put down the Cosmopolitan magazine, get off the Internet on your phone and watch the game. Just because your body is present while a sporting event is going on doesn’t mean you watched it. Sitting next to a guy on the couch with sports on TV ≠ “I watched the game with you so now you have to go to the Farmer’s Market with me.” (That’s an actual quote from an ex-girlfriend.)
- Be supportive. It’s hard to accept that you have to share your man’s heart with a sports team at first. I get it, but bear with us. This kind of resentment only leads to more criticism like, “Why do you pick players and pretend to be their coach,” or “I hate the way you act around your friends,” or the coup de grace, “You need to get a life.” These are all ways to make us angry.
- Avoid asking when the game is almost over. It’s the biggest no-no of all. This is more of an unwritten rule than a suggestion. It’s impossible to predict when a game will end. By asking this, you’re also surrendering the fact that you didn’t know overtime existed. Now, you’ve lost us. Under no circumstances is it okay to ask when a game will be over. Trust me.
Men only let women into their sports circles sparingly. It may seem ridiculous, but be honored that it happened at all. I’ve tried merging these worlds together and done so unsuccessfully because of these common discrepancies.
We want you to be a part of it, but it’s a microcosm of relationships in general. There’s a lot of give and take, and sacrifices must be made. Follow these universal guidelines from the first kickoff and you should be able to make it work.