Why I should probably stop trying to talk about sports


I was never much of a sports fan, so I have a hard time picking up the lingo.  Partner is a diehard sports fan (football, hockey, baseball), and I have picked up some odds and ends from him.  It was also helpful to have a college football player working for me last summer; he had obviously explained the sport to his elderly female relatives, so he knew all the right terms to use to help me understand it. (When I asked him what position he played, he told me he was a linebacker.  When I looked blank, he added helpfully, “I just push people around.”)  Also, as I grow older and more wizened-looking, people – especially men my own age – assume that I know all about sports.  And who am I to disappoint them?



A few weeks ago, a couple of weeks before the Super Bowl, one of the university shuttle drivers hailed me at lunchtime and pulled over and asked: “Who do you like this weekend?


I laughed in what I hoped was the correctly rueful tone.  “Well,” I said, “they’d better win.” (By “them,” of course, I meant the New England Patriots, the local favorites.)



He chuckled and waved.  “It’s gonna be a tough one,” he said.  “I don’t know.”



He drove off.  I was very pleased with my performance on that one; he’d been a semi-pro player and a football coach, so if I could fool him, I figured I could fool anyone.



But then this happened:



The Patriots had just won the AFC championship by three points.  (Partner was ecstatic, naturally.)  After the game, I went down to the health club.  I was checked in by a skinny kid who was staring at the after-game show on the TV over the desk.  “Is everyone happy?” I said.



He looked at me blankly.  “Why?”



I gestured up at the TV set.  “The game.”



He looked up again, still blank.  “The – oh, the game.” 



I tried one more time.  “Everybody was happy at the end? Everybody cheered?”



He gave me that simpering grin that you give a gibbering child or a person with an impenetrable accent, and looked away from me. 



I will never try this again.  I’m obviously still not doing it right.



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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