I spent the weekend deep in the wilds of Massachusetts. Did you know that there are Republicans in Massachusetts? It’s true. They all live up in the boonies, next door to some friends of mine.
So anyway, I was going to write a deep soulful post about long distance friendships, but instead I find myself watching the Steelers v Patriots game. I really want the Steelers–in their but ugly peanut M&M uniforms–to lose. Every team in our division lost this weekend… we need the Steelers to lose too. Baltimore wants to maintain the status quo.
Ok, so wait a minute. Like go read what I just wrote there. I want this to be documented for all the world to see: me talking about football.
I’m not particularly into football, and I’ll never be particularly into football. But I’ve come into this funny relationship with it.
It started with work. I have certain coworkers who literally talk about nothing but football. It used to be that these people annoyed the living shit out of me. But at some point in the coming of age process, I recognized that I needed to connect with some of my coworkers if I wanted to take my job and career seriously. Especially with the people I don’t really know. The bottom line at some point became clear to me: it beats talking about the weather. In fact it’s an adequate substitution for a real conversation between people that you basically have to talk to.
So that’s where it started. I mean this weekend I found myself hanging out with long distance friends and at times football came up. Jesus on that ride back home we were all bored as shit, tired, and sick of the satellite radio. I was chiming in with updates about the games. I really was that bored. But it was something to joke around about with folks who are more than just acquaintances to me.
I’ve found kind of a happy medium: pay attention to our division and the other division leaders. If you know that information, all you need to get through a conversation is questions. For example: So how is Kansas City doing this season anyway? Weren’t they having some problems. (KC got whomped today, so it was a conversation point.)
And what happens is a funny thing: as long as you’re not stuffing stats down their throat, the football folks are happy to carry the conversation. And oftentimes in life, this is a good thing. You need to socialize with a coworker that you don’t have jack shit in common with: bam football. Even with friends: football.
Let me be clear–those of you friends who know me–this is no titanic shift. Like when I was hanging out with my friends this weekend, I had already approached them about music. A stack of CDs. Good stuff too. They hadn’t heard of most of it, liked what I played, but didn’t really care a whole lot. That’s okay. Not all my friends need to be music snobs. Also, I was reading a Jonathan Letham novel in the car. I didn’t bother trying to talk about that. I just defaulted to something we could josh about.
And one other thing that’s important: limits. I’ll watch the home team game, but after that I am done. Turn Sportscenter off. Because I don’t want to hear it. And I’ll never care for college ball. I’ll never care for any college sport. It’s just not me.
One of the things that I like about life is that the older I’ve gotten, the less and less of a hater I’ve become. At some point I won’t be allowed to wear that Maryland is for Haters t-shirt if I get one. I used to run my mouth endlessly about how much I hated football and how I felt forced to care about it. Like here is what football was to me as a kid: being ignored. Even before the rise of ESPN, my parents would be locked out to me for whole days. The football game was on. The football game was on. It was like a favored sibling that was smarter, better looking, and infinitely more charming than me.
But you know what: I endured. I got to that point in life where I’ve gotten over my parents’ crazy shit and hangups. So why worry about it? It’s a decent sport. Keep up with the home team and set your boundaries. It’s been working out pretty well so far.
However for right now, I must turn the game off. This is not my home team. And Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead are about to come on. Time to veg out to my shows before heading to bed.