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How to date a sports fan: The Dos and Do Nots

Published: February 15, 2017
This post was contributed by a fan of Dapper Sports

It’s tough to maintain a relationship with a sports fan sometimes. The sports fan in your life might demand silence until halftime, may expect snacks for a whole group of viewers, might bore you to tears with game recaps and statistics. You’ll be tempted to meet people online, to sneak out of the house, to unplug the cable and demand a real conversation even though it’s the play-offs.

It’s hard. We know.

Here are some strategies for surviving – and even enjoying – your relationship with a sports fanatic.

Don't interrupt the game

Most sports happen fast, so fast that if you blink you’ll miss something. Even slow games like golf are made up of drives and putts that take less than a second.

The sports fan in your life is concentrating on the screen to see those lightning-fast moments – the passes, pitches, and strokes that mean the difference between winning and losing. Interrupting is rude. Think of it like someone engaging you in conversation in the middle of the slow movement of your favorite symphony. It’s like that.

Do accept a little noise

Watching sports is an exercise in empathy. A committed sports fan’s spirits rise and fall along with the team’s fortunes. Don’t be surprised if the exultation gets a little rowdy when your partner’s team scores a goal, or if profanities fly when the other team takes the advantage. Reacting emotionally is part of the catharsis of sports – in a way, it’s the whole point. It’s all part of the game.

Don't question rituals

Your sports-fan partner may don a lucky shirt before each game, or demand a particular “lucky” spot on the couch. Maybe your partner will live-tweet the game or conduct a spontaneous play-by-play over the phone.

This behavior only seems crazy. These are time-honored ways of submerging oneself in the game. You can find another chair with sufficient light for reading or knitting. There’s no need to make an issue out of this.

Do entertain friends gracefully

Surprise! Your partner has invited five or six friends over to watch the game on the flat-screen. You don’t mind whipping up snacks, maybe ordering food for half-time, right? Oh, and would you run to the store to make sure we don’t run out of beer?

On an ordinary day, inviting friends without notice would be a no-no in any relationship. On game day, you’ve just got to expect it. Be a good sport about it and your partner may reward you later for being so understanding.

Don't question the logic of being a fan

Sports fans root and cheer and shout at the television as if their efforts could somehow alter the outcome of the game. As a disinterested, objective, sane bystander, you may question the logic of these traditions. “Why shout at the ref?” you might innocently ask. “Do you think he can hear you?”

Being a sports fan is about immersing oneself in the game, about competing vicariously. Your partner’s enjoyment in watching the game is multiplied through vocal, active participation.

If you really want to talk to your partner about this, for heaven’s sake, don’t do it during the game.

Do make other plans

If you’re sure there are plenty of snacks and beverages on-hand, you’re free to leave your home to your sports-fanatic partner and any friends who have come by. Go to the library. Go to the mall. Have lunch with a friend. You absence will not be noticed.

Don't question the expense

Your sports-fan partner may find life can’t really be satisfying without an expensive jersey or fielder’s glove or souvenir. Fans collect autographs and other mementos. And they like to attend a game live now and then, an indulgence that can easily cost hundreds of dollars when food, drinks, and souvenirs are factored into the equation.

Yes, it’s expensive. But think about the gear you have purchased for your hobby: a sewing machine, maybe, and all the accessories. Baking dishes. Maybe you collect dolls or antique furniture. Expenditures on sports may seem less justifiable to you, but they are just as important to your partner.

Do ask to be educated

Real sports fans love to share their knowledge. If you ask your partner to explain the game, you’ll likely be surprised at the extent of knowledge and jargon and history he brings to bear. It looks like a bunch of guys on steroids chasing or hitting a ball around, but the sports world is full of traditions and subtleties. You don’t have to pretend to be a fan, but your partner will be glad if you honestly show a little interest.

Who knows – you might even become a fan yourself!

This post was contributed by a fan of Dapper Sports