I’ve never watched football. Well, that’s not true, actually. I did watch football a couple of times in my youth incidentally while my Father would watch the Denver Broncos on the weekends. I seem to remember something about getting a player to one side of the field to do a little happy dance. And something about off-sides and tight ends.
Yeah. Tight ends.
Anyway, my girlfriend is the exact opposite of me in terms of football experience. She warned me that when fall came around there might be massive amounts of yelling and the occasional projectile being launched towards the TV. So far, this dramatic display of sports-related fervor has not disappointed, and to be honest I find it much more entertaining to watch her watch football than to actually try and figure out what’s going on.
Though I believe I’ve made a valiant attempt to learn what a “first down” and a “holding” are, what I’m not ready for is the football party we’ve been invited to in a few weeks. There are actually few things that scare me more than a big group of lesbians in front of a really large television rooting for guys in tight pants who are getting paid millions of dollars to smash into one another.
I don’t blame my Father for not teaching me about football. I’m a wholly adjusted, fully-functioning woman, even without it. I also don’t think it’s for lack of a competitive drive. If I got the chance to sit in front of the Food Network for four hours and throw spatulas at the TV for falsely eliminating my favorite chef from Chopped I’m sure I would. I don’t even think it’s about not liking or understanding the nature of sport. Even without knowing anything about football I watched Remember the Titans a few days ago, loved it, and cried like a baby (true story).
I think what it is, is that I just don’t have a team to root for.
You see, I moved around a bit growing up and as soon as we’d get rather attached to a place we’d move again. Once my family settled in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, I think we were each a little elitist about being from somewhere else.
On pop: “Oh, may I please have a SODA?”
On shoes: “I don’t have any gym shoes, but I have a nice pair of SNEAKERS.”
On The Bears: “Mike Ditka is soooo lame. This blue and orange apparel I’m wearing for spirit day is actually for the BRONCOS.”
This behavior, inevitably, got me a whole lot of friends in the third grade class at Briargate Elementary (insert sarcasm here). And, by the way, I have little to no loyalty toward the Broncos whatsoever…
But back to football parties: I think there’s a part of me that is still that pretentious little snot in third grade who is different from everyone else, and stupidly kind of likes it. I, admittedly, don’t understand football because I choose not to understand it. I’m still rooting for Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, sort of. I deliberately poke fun America’s greatest loves for big men in jock straps fighting over a pigskin ball.
But, like anyone else, I still want to fit in.
How do I rationalize this dichotomous need to be different, and simultaneously to fit in? Who knows!? But in terms of the upcoming football party, the way I see it I have three options:
1) Go to the party and fake it ‘til I make it. Throw things at the TV and yell “holding!” every so often for dramatic effect.
2) Go to the party and tell awkward jokes, blatantly admitting that I don’t wish to know anything about football and am just attending for the nachos and beer.
3) Decline, and enjoy an afternoon of solitude and a 36th viewing of the 6-hour mini-series Pride and Prejudice on DVD.
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About Lauren W
Lauren Warnecke is a Chicago-based dance writer, educator, and freelance dance professional. She holds degrees in Dance (BA, ’03) and Kinesiology (MS, ’09) and is currently a full-time Clinical Instructor for the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at UIC. Created in 2009 as a platform for dance-based discourse, Lauren owns and operates Art Intercepts, a dance blog and online resource actively promoting the use of evidence-based practices in dance training and performance with the goal to improve and elevate artistry, dance education, and dancer health. She is a contributing author/blogger at Dance Advantage, 4dancers, and the Huffington Post, and an arts contributor at The L Stop. Lauren freelances as a production/stage manager, choreographer, media relations specialist, and grant writer, for small arts organizations and is a Certified Personal Trainer. She is a master composter who likes to dig in the dirt and bake scones.