Football Fan? Maybe. Football Widow? I Don’t Think So.

Football has never been my favorite sport. In fact, I don’t really like sports at all, but football has held a special place on my list of activities that are to be ignored at all costs. I don’t really understand the “fan” mentality. I didn’t grow up in a family of football watchers and I have managed to make it through my 32 years without really learning anything about one of America’s favorite pastimes.

Enter Michael, my current beau. As you may have guessed, he is a football fan and die-hard Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Georgia Bulldogs supporter. He’s not my first football loving boyfriend, so why would I suddenly want to learn more about football? Well, I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t really want to learn and I highly doubt I will ever become a true “fan,” but if this guy is going to be around for awhile (and I think he is) I figure I should try to make an effort. After all, he is going to talk about it endlessly during football season, so I might as well know what the heck he is talking about.

I suspect that there are many women out there who have a guilt-by-association love of football and many women who are struggling to get there. Here are some things I have learned while trying to educate myself about football:

  1. Take baby steps. Football is way too complicated to try to jump in head first. I have to have my football in small doses.
  2. Know oneself. This kind of goes along with #1. Sometimes I will sit down to watch a game with Mike. Other times I let him watch on his own. If I try to watch when I am tired or just not in the mood, I will get grumpy and resentful. It puts me in a bad mood and ruins the viewing experience for him.
  3. Don’t ask too many questions. This seems a bit counter intuitive, but I have found that when I ask Mike questions, I get lengthy explanations that are boring and leave me with more questions. He means well, he really does. He wants me to fully understand the sport the way he does, but I am not at his level yet. I am taking football 101 and he is teaching it at a 400 level. I need answers that are short and to the point. If you can get that, ask away. Otherwise, pay close attention to the commentators and limit your questions for other viewers.
  4. Keep jealousy in check. Go into this knowing that your significant other will probably respond much more emotionally to a good or bad play than he ever will to you. No, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, and if I think about it too much, it will annoy the hell out of me. It helps to realize that this is one circumstance where men can actually openly express their joy and/or disappointment without being hassled by other men (well, unless they are rooting for opposing teams, but this is “boys will be boys” kind of fun).
  5. Try to have fun. This can be difficult at times, but try to enjoy yourself, even if it means silently making fun of the annoyingly perky cheerleaders. I find that a few beers can work wonders for raising the fun factor. I may never be an over the top fan, but I’m not about to play the “victim” and call myself a widow either.

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