In reality, there is a very complex rule set that exists for determining the team that you cheer for. True football fans know what I'm talking about.
It's true. I wrote this for my blog as a service to new female fans, but it really applies to everyone coming to football for the first time. Enjoy it with tongue planted firmly in cheek, even though most of this is exactly true:
Today more than ever, women are infiltrating the previously all-male world of sports fandom. I am strongly in favor of this trend, as it increases the chances that my future wife will not hassle me to go shopping for dishes when football is on. Sports fandom however, like many avocations, requires specialized knowledge to enjoy it fully and gain the respect of your friends. Relax, ladies. I am here to help. That's why today, I am proud to present:
The Woman's Guide To Sports Fandom
Article I: Sports bigamy is prohibited.
Fandom requires loyalty and fidelity. You may only be a fan of one team in each sport, and you may not change teams on a whim. Following are the rules to follow when choosing your favorite teams:
Acceptable Reasons To Choose Your Favorite Team
* You grew up in the team's home city.
* You live in the team's home city now.
* The parent, sibling, or man who introduced you to sports is a fan of the team.
* You are a fan of a particular player on the team in question because they attended the same college as you. (Keep in mind before making a final decision that you will be stuck with this team after that player retires.)
Unacceptable Reasons To Choose Your Favorite Team
* You like the team's uniforms or colors.
* You like the animal that the team is named after (especially cats.)
* You are attracted to one or more of the players.
* The team is a consistent winner and you like being associated with winnners.
Acceptable Reasons To Switch Teams
* Your team moves to another city.
* The man who made you a fan of your team cheats on you.
* Your favorite team is the Detroit Lions.
Article II: Participation in betting pools is limited to those with legitimate sports knowledge.
This rule is in place to prevent the girl who picks winners based on what team colors she likes or what team mascot would defeat the other mascot in a fight from winning everyone's money. My female roommate once won several hundred dollars in an NCAA basketball pool by betting on the Kentucky Wildcats "because they were cats and their coach's name was Tubby". This rule should be self-explanatory.
Article III: Women may not wear sports apparel that is specifically tailored for women or which features non-team colors for the sake of fashion.
This rule is designed to stamp out the trend of pink-colored sports hats and jerseys for women, and the babydoll-cut sports jerseys which have infiltrated the sports world. If you are a fan, you can wear the same stuff we wear, and sport the same colors. Wearing pink is like wearing a sandwich board that says "I Know Nothing". Sports fandom is about dedication and loyalty, not about coordinating an outfit. Besides, you look sexier in the real thing. Trust us, the hottest thing you can wear to bed is our broken-in regulation hockey or football jersey.
Article IV: Learn the lingo.
Nothing will give you away faster as a newbie than using the wrong terms. Here are some quick tips:
* You "root" for a team, you do not "cheer" or "vote" for a team.
* You also do not "like" a team. In sports, "like" does not denote affection. It's a word people use in the context of gambling to denote which team they think will win, e.g. "I like the Giants this week against the Cowboys, so I took them plus the six points."
* You do not "make" a touchdown, a run, or a goal. You "score" one. Oddly, you DO "make" a basket. I didn't make these up, I'm just explaining them.
* Do not ask questions out loud in front of a group of sports fans. In the beginning, your questions are likely to be quite stupid and hilarious. Remember the question and then ask it of someone you can trust later on, like a boyfriend, parent or clergyman.
* When you are well-versed in the language of sports and feel comfortable with your level of knowledge, don't be afraid to flaunt it in front of your man's friends. He will be esteemed among his peers if you know your stuff, and doubly so if you can correct one of them.
Article V: Be cognizant of time and place.
Your man will be quite happy to watch the game with you as long as you understand that while the game is on, you should remain focused on it. I know that you will see this as a bonding time, and may be tempted to talk about other topics that you associate with bonding like how fat you are, what your mother thinks, and what that bitch in line at Starbucks had the nerve to say. But please take these tips to heart:
* You may bring up other topics on commercial breaks, but only if the discussion can be brought to a conclusion before the game comes back on.
* Other topics are to be avoided completely in the fourth quarter, third period, or ninth inning of a close game. If you should persist, your man may snap at you. Do not be angry. He is right to do it.
* Keep in mind that even if company is invited over or you are out at a bar, a sporting event is a sporting event first and a social engagement second. Think of it like an Oscar party - you can have a good time, but everybody shuts up when they're about to announce a winner.
Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.