Being the youngest member of my family meant that I rarely got a chance to choose what we watched on television; consequently, I spent a lot of my childhood watching soap operas and sports.
My big brother indirectly introduced me to basketball at an early age; because of my desire to hang out with him and sports having already been a staple in his life, I went in full “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mode and embraced the culture.
At first, watching the athleticism and showmanship of NBA stars like Dr. J. and Magic Johnson did nothing for me, but that “nothing” was short-lived; before I knew it, I recognized that they, and the game they played, were something special.
As I matured, it was during high school when I realized there was something else about sports that I liked (by now I had also taken a low-key interest in football)—something that would capture my attention for years to come—even more than the games themselves: The boys. And later, the men.
Yes ladies, where there are sports, there are men. Lots of them. Along with their masculinity that oozes in the air so much you can practically smell it.
For some women though, sports are about as interesting as watching turtles race—and to those ladies, I say: You really don’t know what you’re missing.
Besides the ability of sports to bring the masses together, they can be very beneficial to women who are navigating the dating scene. And while there are men who are perfectly fine with women not knowing the difference between a turnover and a touchdown, there are some who find women’s interest in sports very sexy.
If you want to meet or hang out in a sports environment but are intimidated by your ignorance about the culture, where do you begin?
The good news is that you don’t have to feel left out when your social media timelines are inundated with sports talk; here are five ways to get off the bench and get into the game:
Embrace at least one of the “big three”: football, basketball or baseball. After choosing one, learn the cultural crazes like the hilarity of the “Crying Jordan” meme, key moments (“You’re the REAL MVP”) and superstars or “hot” teams. You absolutely must know why Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors are a big deal or why almost every move the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton makes is newsworthy. If you still need help, hang out on social media to fill in the gaps.
Now that you’re more familiar, actually watch a game. Go to a popular sports bar with one of the girls; if she likes sports, too, that’s even better. For a definite good time, hit up the bars during the playoffs—the intensity is greater and the atmosphere is even more alive. But if you really want to experience fan frenzy, attend a football tailgate; between the aromas from barbecue grills, the [unofficial] entertainment and the rambunctious crowds all adorned in their team’s paraphernalia, you’ll quickly realize what sports is all about. NOTE: It’s important to be fashionable; “soccer mom chic” is not allowed. Throw on a pair of nice jeans with a cute, fitted tee or jersey that represents your hometown and work it!
To further increase your interest, the intersection of sports and pop culture is a fun way to
get up to speed. Between the ongoing Russell Wilson/Ciara/Future drama or the adventures of Khloe Kardashian and whatever pro athlete she’s married to—err, dating—or will date—these scenarios will provide yet another connection.
You now get why sports are the ultimate in entertainment and you want to watch or hang out at a game with a guy. Of course, it’s all about bonding, so feel free to ask questions about things you don’t understand. Don’t ask too many questions, though; after all, while he may be into you, he probably still wants to watch the game. In cases like this, it is ideal to watch one with him where there is a “blowout” or the teams playing aren’t necessarily his favorite; then, he’ll likely be receptive to giving you a lesson in “Sports 101.”
Even casual sports fans know that the Super Bowl is the sports event; in fact, with over a hundred million viewers annually, next to the Academy Awards, it is the most watched television event in the world, period. It’s also the one occasion where men are sure to be in attendance in both abundance and variety—and oh yeah—the food is always good, too! And while many are remiss to admit, Super Bowl parties have evolved into the ultimate hook-up events; so be sure to mingle and make small talk with a single guy who catches your eye. And even if you still don’t really understand what’s going on, just throw your hands in the air and yell “Whooohooo!” when everyone else does, and you’ll fit right in!
These tips should get you going but remember to pace yourself; you don’t have to get deep by knowing stats from some game that happened back in 1985; however, if you’re already coupled up or just so happen to meet a new guy, you’ll find that a little surface knowledge indeed goes a long way.
LaShawn Williams is a freelance arts and entertainment writer and mid-level sports enthusiast from Chicago, Illinois. Follow her on Twitter: @MsWilliamsWorld.