As I’ve mentioned before, or you know because you know my father or my fiance, we take sports seriously around my house. We watch ESPN more than any other channel. It usually is the default channel; you know that channel that is always on when you turn on the TV no matter what time of the day it is. I am very thankful that I grew up knowing about sports and watching them in person and on television. I know the basics of just about all sports and really know the ins and outs of the NFL and MLB. I’m a diehard 49ers and Braves fan and love game days. I also love watching my dad coach football for a local high school.
I grew up in a town where most of the girls were like me. Their dads watched sports, and most of us participated in sports in some fashion, on the field or cheering on the sidelines. I really didn’t understand that there were girls who grew up in households WITHOUT 24-7 ESPN?!?! I know right?! I didn’t know that it was possible for girls to not have dads that were sports fans. It was all I knew, and every man I knew watched sports.
So when I got to college and met those other girls, it was really hard to relate. I couldn’t stand hearing the “stupidity” coming out of their mouths. No there isn’t halftime in baseball. A touchdown is 6 points. They don’t throw flags in basketball. Ugh. But I realized that it wasn’t stupidity as much as it was the fact that they were never taught the game. And the LAST thing I want to do is explain sports to a girl that is over the age of 10. I don’t even really explain sports to my 4 year olds. They learn by watching and will continue to learn over the course of their young lives. They may not grow up to love sports like we do, but they will know the basics of this I’m certain. I’m also pretty certain they will love sports too because they scream louder than I do for the Niners sometimes.
Here’s what you need to ask yourself ladies. As you’re reading this post, are you finding that you aren’t a “sports girl?” Do you feel dumb when it comes to watching the game in the presence of yelling, screaming, buffoon-like men? Did you grow up in a house that had some other channel besides ESPN as the default channel? If so, don’t feel bad or blame yourselves. We all grow up in different ways. And I’m here to help because nothing goes with Thanksgiving more than football. And maybe a nap.
On Thanksgiving after the table is cleared and the food is eaten, or sometimes while you are eating, the men will slowly creep to the living room to lose themselves in the greatest of great traditions, the NFL on Turkey Day. I’m here to give you ladies a few suggestions on how not to be “that girl.” We all know the girl I’m talking about. The girl that tries to have conversations on 3rd downs in 4th quarters. The girl who acts like she has a clue but yells “Home Run!” While it’s okay to not be a fan or the “sports girl,” it is NOT okay to be the girl who chooses to take group photos during kick-off. For the sake of your relationships and a peaceful Thanksgiving, here are some ways to not be “that girl”:
1) If there is somewhere else to be, be there.
Maybe the ladies are gathering in a different room and watching Christmas movies or sharing family photos. Perhaps the children need a fun babysitter or the dishes need a good cleaning. There’s a chance Granny could use a walk around the neighborhood. If you have no interest in the game or have no clue what sport is even playing, it’s best, if at all possible, to remove yourself from the Game Day room. I may sound harsh but here’s the deal: these games are most likely rival games. In other words, THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO THOSE WATCHING THEM. Especially if the men in your life are fans of the Niners, Seahawks, Bears, Lions, Cowboys, or Eagles. If you just murmured “who?” or had to google any of those teams, stay out of the living room/den/where the TV is. You will probably hear some language and displays of team-affection that you won’t be fond of anyways. I say this as the fiancee of a man whose celebration dance mimics a seizure.
2) If you have to be there, don’t ask questions.
My whole family, minus the little ones who will be banished to the play room (maybe… like I said they are all about some football right now. R stays glued to the TV on Sundays), will be watching the games starting at around lunch time. Football will be on all day and we will all be watching it. Trust me when I say that nothing aggravates someone who is really into a football game like questions. If you get bored or have nothing to do, bring a book or your tablet and say nothing. You’re allowed to speak if you contribute to the game conversation, but not if it is to ask a question like “Which team is the red one?” or “Why did he tackle him?” or “What are those yellow lines?” I just physically sighed after typing that. Seriously. If you don’t know diddly-squat about what is going on, then don’t play 50 questions to try to figure it out. Watch football on Saturdays to get your feet wet for a little bit or wikipedia some information. Your man may politely answer all of your questions, but the ones who don’t get to make out with you will certainly be silently wishing you get laryngitis.
3) Don’t pick a team.
For real. Don’t. At all. Especially because nine times out of ten “those girls” pick the team with the “cutest uniforms” or the “prettiest helmets” or the “hottest quarterback.” Not only do you sound like a dumb woman when you say it and a complete ditz, the looks have absolutely nothing to do with the game. You will get fifty thousand eye rolls for sure. If you cheer, cheer for your man’s team. It’s only polite. And if you bring pom-poms or wear anything resembling a cheerleading uniform, the women of the family will completely ostracize you and you might as well go find a NASCAR fan. That may be a good idea anyways. Those men have plenty of time to talk as the cars drive in loops around a track for hours.
4) You will thank me.
For 364 days of the year, you can be “that girl” and get away with it. But on Thanksgiving when you are with someone else’s family or your own family and they are really crazy about sports especially the NFL, it is in your best interest to follow my suggestions. The last thing you want to do is annoy the bejesus out of your in-laws. Most likely you will have someone else who is at the gathering who doesn’t like sports either. Find that person and bond with them. Then you can have your own Thanksgiving tradition that will revolve around something else. Also they can be your go-to family member at other gatherings.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time spent with family and friends eating and drinking and enjoying one another. I know they will love you and enjoy your presence no matter what, but sometimes it is important to realize that people take their football seriously and watch the game with the same passion that you have when you participate in your hobbies. And if all else fails, Black Friday starts early now, go shopping!
Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and GO NINERS!