So it’s football season. How do I know? Because white women are beginning to post their PSLs on instagram and social media, in general, is more insufferable than usual as people assign tangible value to what teams they root for and how these teams fare.
In other words, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Because of this infusion of good feelings and hope, people get the bright idea to not just watch football, but to watch it with others. On paper, this sounds super great.
“We can invite our FRIENDS. There will be FOOD. It will be loud but in a GOOD WAY that makes us think that we are a part of a larger collective.”
But this mindset belies the true nature of what it is to gather many humans together in a small place.
Watching football in a group setting is like being on Survivor. I mean honestly, everything in a group setting is like Survivor isn’t it? Except maybe Survivor itself because in that context, Survivor is really more like Lord of the Flies, but instead of kids, it’s adults and instead of adults intervening at the end, it’s a studio audience and Jeff Probst and wow, not going to lie, this analogy really got away from me in a pretty huge way.
The point is, there are roles and you have to understand your role. Are you the Alpha fan who takes up all the space both physically and emotionally? Great. We love that you still wear football jerseys as an adult human man and you should totally never ever question that decision.
Are you the provider and you bring all the awesome snacks and drinks? Great. Then you are the best, although spinach dip? We’re watching football, not doing pilates. Less spinach, more cheese.
Are you super hot and no one cares what you do because your presence just makes things seem more hopeful in an ultimately shallow way? Great. Do this as much as you can because soon you will have to use your words.
Are you insightful and analytical and bring an intellectual component to the table? Great. But remember, if you find yourself talking about your fantasy team, you’re obligated to leave. Forever.
Are you hilarious and make perfectly timed jokes that don’t undercut the action? Great, but honestly, its better to leave them wanting more than to make 3 too many jokes about Taco Bell. Trust me on this.
If you aren’t one of these roles, chances are that you are one of those people on Survivor who get voted off having had 48 total seconds of camera time. But you know what? Who cares? Those people are people too.
As such, I wanted to lay out some strategies for you to blend in and make the most of your ill-advised decision to go watch something you inherently do not understand.
+ Know who has the conch.
Extending the disastrous Lord of the Flies analogy from earlier, you have to understand the room. By and large, most football viewing groups have a consensus team that is being rooted for. In the rare event that this is not clear, default to who is hosting the party. There’s no great reason to ride or die for the team opposing the consensus team or the host’s team because all it does is make you look like a Douche-Casserole.
Moreover, being the lone dissenter does two things:
A) Causes your presence to annoy everyone else
B) You will become a monument to their frustration or antagonism. Neither is a great look so just don’t do it.
+ Be the Anti-Ricky Perry.
The best strategy is to treat yourself like an intellectually lacking political candidate, so give yourself vetted and rehearsed talking points…
“Man, that offensive line is pretty thick in the britches across the board, am I right?”
…and parrot complicated concepts in a simple, relatable way that cannot be challenged.
“That zone blitz is really keeping their offense off-balance today.”
If challenged on one of your statements, either repeat it in a different way…
“I just mean that you can tell how off-balance their offense is because of the zone blitz.”
…or divert attention…
“Who brought the spinach dip? What is this, Whole Foods? And it looks like it sat under a prison shower drain for two weeks. BRB guys, I’m going to get to the bottom of this.”
+ Ask a question or state a statement.
There’s no time for nuance. Ask a question and people are happy to help.
“That stupid looking guy on the sideline is Peyton Manning’s younger, more incompetent brother, right?”
Or make a worthwhile statement that contributes to the running commentary.
“Wow, that linebacker is blitzing like a real Streisand today” or “Peyton Manning’s head looks like something Krang would design to put himself into.”
The atmosphere around a football game is like a river and the best way to blend in is to never do anything that dams up the flow.
+ If asking a question, know when to ask what question.
If it’s a quick, informationally-seeking question, sure, fire that off during the game.
“Have we thrown it deep yet?”
But for the bigger, existential questions like…
“What’s Nick Saban’s deal?”
“Does Tom Brady represent the new Enlightened Masculinity because he promotes the Ugg brand and celebrates his wife’s greater earning potential? Or is his declining performance indicative of an internal and existential struggle to maintain happiness in the face of these realities?”
…save those for halftime, commercial breaks or never ever. Speaking of never, ever…
+ No one on the football field wears “outfits”.
Referring to anything the players are wearing as outfits will betray your ignorance. Similarly…
+ Don’t ever say fair or unfair.
Saying something is fair or unfair is just a fundamental misunderstanding of how football works. This is football not a PTA meeting.
Is it fair that winning the Big 10 conference for Ohio State is like winning a Hunger Games involving Katniss and a contingent of Special Olympics athletes? No, friend, it is not. But that’s football. Watch it, celebrate it and may the odds be ever in your favor.
Got any other tips? Lets hear em in the comments…