October 9, 2012

RITTER | Sports 101: A Girl’s Guide to the Game

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There are plenty of female sports fans in the world. However, this column is not for them. This column is for all the women out there who might not know the difference between a grand slam and a slam dunk, but have people in their lives that are spots fans. Ladies, listen up — I’ve got a few suggestions for surviving in a sports-centric world.1. Know the GameHalf the battle of enjoying a game, in person or on television, is understanding what is happening in front of you. Therefore, having a boyfriend or guy friends who have a great love for sports, while you do not share their enthusiasm or passion, can be rough.I had a group of guy friends my junior year that were addicted to basketball. A visit to Brosquad’s apartment was not complete without watching at least one game, with all of the guys simultaneously yelling (sometimes incoherently, no offense) at the little men running across the screen. While I usually had fun spending time with the guys, I’m not a huge NBA fan, so I would occasionally get lost in their conversations. I wanted to be more active in what the guys spent 85 percent of their time talking about, so I did what any smart girl would do — I googled basketball.You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy watching a game; however, a little bit of knowledge isn’t a bad thing. I recommend learning at least the basics of the Core 4 — football, basketball, baseball and hockey. If you can understand the general flow of play, then you should be able to follow along with your friends. Most of my guy friends say that they are impressed by a girl who understands the gist of a game that they are watching together, so take note, ladies — knowledge really is power. Use it to your advantage.2. Pledge Your AllegianceWhile knowing the basics of a sport is helpful, following specific teams is even better. Being able to name certain key players or recall a few stats about a team is usually enough to make a good impression in a conversation. However, be warned that you may encounter another fan who questions why you support your team or tries to engage you in a conversation that goes beyond the depth of the Wikipedia page you read.You don’t need to become an expert, but it’s good to know enough about a team — especially a successful team — so that people don’t assume you are bandwagoning. Successful teams are popular for a reason, but it’s better to say that the team is good because it won MLS Cup recently rather than because David Beckham has a nice rump.3. The Art of ChirpingThe final way to blend into our sports-obsessed culture is to learn how to properly chirp. No, I don’t mean make bird noises. Instead, I’m referring to the witty (or not so witty) banter and smack-talk that has become an integral part of most sporting events.If you want to learn the best comebacks and chirps first hand, then I would suggest making dismissive comments about your friends’ teams and seeing how they respond. While this method may seem questionable, it will provide results. Proceed with caution. I learned a great deal about chirping last year during the Flyers-Penguins Playoff series. Friendships are thrown to the wayside when a chance to play (or have one’s team play) for Lord Stanley’s Cup is on the line.So, ladies, there you have it. These tips are not going to turn you into a bleacher creature, but my hope is that you’ll enjoy watching sports just a little more than you did before and be more accepted by the sports fanatics in your lives.

Original Author: Lauren Ritter