The subject of this issue’s column—how to feign an interest in spectator sports—is one that I am uniquely unqualified to write about. I find watching sports an excruciating exercise in boredom.
Sadly, I’m a lesbian. And this means that if I have any hope in hell of sleeping with anyone ever again, I need to figure out a way to stop throwing temper tantrums anytime a love interest suggests we turn on “the game.” (It doesn’t matter what the “game” is. They’re all equally inane as far as I’m concerned.)
I’ve got to stop replying to this invitation with such pithy retorts as, “I’d rather spend the next three hours staring into space”; or, “I’d rather be locked into a sensory deprivation tank with my mother.”
Let’s explore the roots of my hostility. I grew up with brothers. This meant that I never, ever had control of the television.
Anytime I was lucky enough to get my little paws on the remote control, one of my brothers would ask sweetly if I’d mind changing the channel to “the game,” so he could check the score. While we waited the interminable minutes for the scoreboard to flash onto the screen, he would try to engage me in the sport by explaining its intricacies. I quickly would go numb, and wander out of the room, which was his plan from the beginning.
I wouldn’t mind sports so much if I were allowed to talk during them. After all, most sporting events I’m invited to have the word “party” in the invitation. Super Bowl Party. World Series Party. I was raised to believe that when you are invited to a party, it is your duty to be a sparkling conversationalist. However, at every sports party, someone tells me to shut up. This hurts my feelings, and just encourages me to talk LOUDER.
Yesterday, a friend called as I was watching an episode of The Sopranos. It is the most brilliant show ever written. I’ve watched every episode dozens of times. It should be noted that I do not force others, who may not share my obsession, to watch the show with me. Anyway, she asked what I was doing. I told her that I was watching The Sopranos. She let out a sigh of disgust.
“How can you watch that stupid show over and over again?” she asked.
“You’ve got some nerve,” I responded. “You watch golf. Talk about watching the same stupid thing over and over again.”
Then, she hung up on me.
OK, so how do we sports haters resolve this problem?
First off, I think it’s perfectly fine for us to refuse to attend a live sporting event. I have gone to several, and have been miserable each time. The worst was when my British friends forced me to go to a soccer game in the freezing rain. As if this wasn’t awful enough, English soccer stadiums don’t allow you to drink beer in the stands, because drunken fans have a history of killing each other. (They kill each other!)
Second, I don’t think we should be forced to pay attention to the game. It should be enough that I don’t interrupt the tensest parts of a match by making wee witticisms about the tightness of the athletes’ trousers.
Finally, we shouldn’t have to feign interest in sports. And if I spend all of the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics supplying running commentary of the most “doable athletes” in the parade of nations, just know that I’m trying to fit in the best that I can.
Hey, I wrote a book. You can buy Dateland on Amazon.