Back when I was a part of the “serious boyfriend” club, friends of my guy would say “Man you’re so lucky your girlfriend likes sports. I would love to be able to watch a game with a girl and not have to explain everything.”
Hearing this would usually equal an “ohhhh stop” type of response.
That was until I was forced to actually step back out in the dating world and discovered how difficult it can be for a female sports fanatic…
Every guy should know basic sports knowledge
I know this sounds just as sexist as if the situation was reversed but growing up in a sports dominated family has me accustomed to believing that the majority of guys know at least the basics when it comes to sports.
Sadly, I’ve learned that simply isn’t true.
Not too long ago, a very nice man I was dating didn’t know what The Masters was. He went on to say he didn’t even know what sport the term “Masters” belonged to as I stood staring blankly at him like he just arrived from another planet. Anyone who watches ESPN more than a month knows what the biggest golf tournament in the world is and I’m not sure if it was wrong of me to immediately think “well this isn’t going to work” thought as soon as this conversation happened.
Sports are a vital part of our culture and while it’s acceptable that a guy may not know half of what his fanatic girlfriend knows, it’s a bit embarrassing if your girl is explaining the simplest sports term to you.
The dreaded “it’s just a game” look
-2003 Game 7 Redsox ALCS loss to the Yankees in the bottom of the 11th
-Redsox vs Orioles last game of the season in 2011
-The past 5 years as a Jaguars fan (except 2010)
These are all significant sporting events that have caused me to laugh, scream, feel nauseated, disgusted and even cry.
With many fans devoting significant amounts of time, money and energy into believing we are the 10th, 12th or 6th man, it becomes crushing when those hopes are ripped from your very heart. But it’s even more crushing when your significant other doesn’t understand why you’re so upset.
In 2003, I was watching Pedro Martinez and Grady Little squander away my World Series birth and while trying to keep my composure in the bottom of the 11th with a gentleman friend and others at my apartment. My composure was kept until Aaron F*cking Boone decides he wants to be a hero by knocking one out of the park to beat my beloved Redsox.
I wanted to burst into tears, kick everyone out of my apartment and resort into my own self-pity of a world.
But instead of offering support, it was at this moment I got the “it’s just a game” look.
After that statement, I immediately responded by locking myself in my bedroom, proceeded to cry myself to sleep, called out of work the next day claiming “emotional distress” and never saw that so-called “gentleman friend” again.
After a tough loss, sports fans need a support system. And by support system, I mean plenty of drinks, a good comedy and a little lovin’.
If you can’t provide anything but an “it’s just a game” look, then you have no soul.
I enjoy my own game day traditions
With any relationship, you have to make compromises. But making those compromises are much more of a significant commitment when it comes to tailgating traditions during football season.
In a previous relationship, we were both football fans, but when the season started, the “where are we going to tailgate” issue came up.
At first, I was excited and just assumed he would come to my fabulous tailgate because as any naive sports fan, the spot you tailgate at, is ALWAYS the best.
But what happens if he thinks the same about his spot and wants you to share in his traditions?
As someone who’s shared season tickets and tailgating traditions with the same group of girlfriends for years, it’s a difficult decision to make.
Do I leave my spot and try his out?
Or ask him to come to mine?
Or do we just do our own thing?
Eventually we tried splitting up the time between two tailgates but with each group of friends giving the “ohhhh I see how it is” look when leaving their tailgate for the other, it was quickly noticed that both of us were a little hesitant to switch up our routines with a football family we only see a few times a year.
But we didn’t have to deal with it too much longer because we split for other reasons about a month into the season.
For future relationships, I still wonder how much compromise goes into the tailgating tradition for other couples and what the right call is.
How fanatic is too fanatic?
We’ve talked about missing childbirths and funerals for an important game, the displeasure with couples getting married during football season and even if females can sometimes be considered too fanatical.
Sports is a deep rooted passion with extremely devoted fans no matter the gender.
With women making up more and more of each fan base, the single ladies out there want someone to share their passions.
Throughout the years of dating, I’ve learned being a female sports fan does not guarantee you an endless array of male sports fans set out like an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The tricky part is finding someone who knows the basics but at the same time, won’t think you’re fanaticism is too much for him.