So this week is Thanksgiving in the USA, a day when we give thanks for everything we have, hang out with family, celebrate with food, and just generally relax. This has historically been a day when we were forced into relaxation because everything was closed, but I’m receiving reports that stores are going to try to get a head start on Black Friday by staying open, so I guess that trend is changing.
Anyway, I was thinking about all the football I plan on watching this weekend (which may not be a lot by general standards) and I wanted to extend to you my tips for watching football if you’re not really a fan.
Luckily, these tips extend to most of life, or so I think.
Because baby steps are key, and it’s easier to enjoy something if you’re not confused.
The goal is to get the ball into your opponent’s endzone, and there are 100 yards between endzones.
The team that has the ball has 4 tries to move the ball 10 yards down the field, towards their opponent’s endzone. If they don’t move the ball 10 yards, then the other team automatically gets the ball.
That’s all. That’s what’s happening in football. They’re trying to move the ball down the field, a minimum 10 yards at a time.
If they succeed, then the counter resets and they have another 4 tries to move another 10 yards.
So when you hear people say, for example, “Third and 6” they’re saying it’s the team’s third attempt to move the ball, and they have 6 yards to go before they hit their 10 yard minimum (they’ve only gone 4 yards so far).
Once you know that, American Football becomes very orderly and logical. You can understand why it’s exciting if a team just bypasses 10 yards and moves the ball 30 yards in one run. You understand when things seem to disintegrate into a heap of players every two seconds.
Everything else seems easier to pick up once you have a basic idea of what’s happening.
No matter what sport we’re watching, my brothers always tell me the same thing: “You have to pick a favorite.” And they don’t just mean pick a team to root for, pick a player to focus on, and see what [s]he’s up to.
For example, my older brother actually knows a player on the 49ers. My older brother coached his younger brother, and they’ve met at some events. So when he plays, even if he’s the opponent, it’s very easy for my brother to take an interest in what this guy’s doing. And then sometimes it doesn’t seem like a pile of people in the middle of the screen if you can see the guy you’re rooting for.
I do this with pretty much all sports, and I’m not even ashamed to tell you that I often go by the player I think is hot. You can read the news and pick the guy that gets paid the most, is an advocate for gay rights or some other cause you support, loves his mom, or whatever. Just have a favorite. Ask your friends who they like, or who they recommend you pay attention to. Some players have a lot of swagger, which is fun. Or message me and I’ll pick you a favorite 🙂
At the end of the day, you’re trying to connect, and this is something that a lot of people have in common. I’m a firm believer in the Life Skill of Being Able To Connect With Anyone, and sports plays an important role.
People won’t expect you to necessarily be able to debate everything, but it’s a good idea to at least check the final scores on the games your friends and coworkers are going to be talking about. And if you don’t know, ask! During the commercials you might be surprised at how much people want you to feel included.
If nothing else, just enjoy yourself, and mute the commercials so you can all talk in between plays.