You Can’t Make Me Care About Football

by Abby on January 20, 2012

I’m about to admit something shocking and controversial, and I hope you will still be my friend and agree to disagree if you feel differently: I hate football. No, wait. “Hate” is too strong a word. I am utterly indiffferent to football, and to most televised sports in general. I’m sorry. I wish I could muster up even a fraction of the enthusiasm many people feel for the sport, but I can’t. That would be like asking me to care passionately about ferns or paint chips or artisanal goat cheeses. I just don’t care.

Crazy Ravens fanIf you are such a raging football fan that you paint your face with the team colors, spend your kid’s college fund on Superbowl tickets, and stand outside in below-freezing temperatures to watch guys in tight pants and helmets tackle each other, I respect that. (I guess.) But do not impose your fanaticism on me, or be disappointed or downright hostile at my lack of enthusiasm for your hobby. I don’t ask you to pore over a thesaurus for hours every Sunday or memorize fonts, do I? (Because that’s what hardcore writers do, you know.)

When you have 2 boys like I do, sports can become an issue. My husband comes from a family of serious New England sports fans. My father and brother are pretty into sports, too. This means that since both kids were babies, they’ve been outfitted in tiny Red Sox hats, Celtics T-shirts, and Patriots warm-up suits, accessorized with tiny Air Jordans.

Lil SluggerI wouldn’t necessarily care, except that I’m often the one out and about with the kids. And inevitably, some sports fanatic tries to engage me in conversation. If they’re for the same team, they’ll say things like, “How ‘bout our boy pitching a no-hitter last night, huh?” To which I then have to smile and nod and pretend I understand what sport they’re even talking about.

And if they’re AGAINST the team my kids are supporting sartorially, no good can come of that, either. In those cases I’ll smile apologetically and shrug, “My husband’s the Patriots fan.” Then they usually give me a message to pass along to my husband which I will not repeat here.

Now that my kids are in school — and especially since we live in Baltimore where the hometown team, the Ravens, is in the playoffs — the issue has reached a fevered pitch. And get this: they’re playing against the Patriots. If you can imagine.

The local schools have been having “Purple Fridays,” when the students are supposed to wear team colors to support the Ravens. First of all, I have 2 boys: not a lot of purple clothes in our house. But since my husband would divorce me if I ever bought our sons Ravens jerseys, I am up against a dilemma. Do I:

a) Send the boys to school in regular clothes, making it look like we don’t support the hometown team and potentially setting them up to be ostracized or bullied?

b) Have them wear generic purple and black shirts to look like we made an effort? (My choice.)

Or c) send them to school in their Patriots jerseys and invite the ire of rabid Ravens fans? (My husband’s choice.)

The issue has actually started to get a little ugly at one of my kid’s schools. One particularly passionate Steelers fan has called out the administration for excluding kids based on team preference and suggested that this is the first step down the slippery slope of succumbing to peer pressure. Force them to wear purple today, break out the crack pipe tomorrow! While I’m not as vested in the issue as this guy, I do think he has a point.

My opinion is, if you want to paint your house purple and get all worked up about football, be my guest. But don’t make me or my kids pawns in your game. Or I just might develop an exceedingly boring hobby and force YOU to care about it. Like embroidering mold on toast. Yep, that’s a thing.

PICS O’ THE DAY: See what sports fans do to their kids? Although some of those babies do look pretty cute…

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello January 20, 2012 at 8:24 am

Both my wife and I are sports fans and do enjoy watching the games or attending occasionally. That said, I have never been a face painter or any such nonsense like that, although I will wear school colors to attend a game.

I think that schools should not encourage the type of team wear Fridays that you describe because it can only lead to the type of problems you mention. I say if a kid wants to wear a team shirt, fine, just don’t make it a “Purple Day” for everyone.

In your case, with the Patriots and Ravens playing one another, I would let the boys decide if they want to wear something or not. They may surprise you with how much they know about what’s going on.


Abby January 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm

That’s exactly what we did & our 5yo chose to wear a purple shirt to school today, and his Ravens jersey on Sunday. Then he said: “But I’m not going to watch the game because football is boring.” LOL! That’s my boy.


Lou Mello January 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Wait until he decides to give football a go on the school grounds in a few years, it’s much more fun to play. Plus, he’ll have the added fun of watching Mom go into “worry shock”! Be prepared, they always surprise us.


Kathleen Basi January 20, 2012 at 9:50 am

Ugh–nightmare! The school thing, that is. I can’t even remember to send Alex in his gold “spirit shirt” once a month. And that’s on the day they let out early. How can you NOT remember that???? Ahem. I digress.

I loathe sports, and I finally figured out why: the noise. I’ve been planning a post on that topic, so I’ll probably quit there. 🙂


Abby January 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Yes! I hate the whistles and the yelling and all that stuff, too. It just doesn’t make for pleasant background noise.


Kristina Rolfes January 20, 2012 at 9:56 am

Hi Abby,
I am Deb and John’s friend Tina…had to laugh at this post. I also couldn’t care less about football and have been dealing with purple Friday at my daughters’ school. On the last purple Friday, I actually took my daughter to Target before school (making us late) because we didn’t have anything purple. I gave her a choice of a Raven’s jersey or a regular purple shirt…she chose a purple shirt with a holiday emblem on it. Today we had tears again because she didn’t want to wear the purple shirt outside of the holiday season. I’m all about banning purple Fridays!


Abby January 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Hi, Tina! So the local news has picked up the story now. The Steelers dad spoke out. The school’s backtracking on their original “purple or die” mandate. Oh, the drama!


Adrienne January 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I hate football more than anything and other people’s enthusiasm makes me hate it even more. Unfortunately, I married sports’ #1 fan. Luckily we have a daughter who is less interested in sports than I am, but now I’m pregnant with a boy so I’m worried the score will be even.


Deanne January 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm

My two boys go to a school full of avid Packer fans. My one son is a Vikings fan and the other a Bears fan (one taking after me, the other my husband.) Needless to say it has not been easy for them. I even wrote an article about the day my kindergartener came home crying after he wore his Vikings jersey to school one day. He’s never worn it again since. With the Packers making it into the playoffs, my kids’ school had a special “jersey” day – but stressed that you could wear any team’s jersey. My sons didn’t participate and it ended up being fine. But I can honestly say that I’m glad the Packers were out of the playoffs after their first game.


Lisa Lord January 21, 2012 at 5:07 am

I hear you! Though I will admit to being a die-hard Patriots fan, albeit one with little interest in actually watching them play. My kids have worn all of the requisite Red Sox onesies and Patriots jerseys. I think the Irish may be even more sports mad over here, though the sports are less appealing. Gaelic football or hurling anyone? No thanks. (I did fake a minor interest while dating my husband years ago!)


Malia January 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I hear ya, sister. I’m the wife of a high school varsity sports coach who actually likes sports so much, he coaches middle school in his “off season.” (And, anyone who is married to a coach knows, there’s no such thing as an “off season.”) His dad is an inaugural Seahawks season ticket holder, meaning my husband has attended nearly every Hawks home games since birth. And I can’t get mad, because it’s tradition, and his dad won’t be around forever, etc etc. The local paper actually did a story on them when the Hawks went to the Superbowl in 2006. ESPN is the background noise of my everyday life. I’ve gotten used to it. Having two daughters is God’s way of balancing out his sport-fueled life, I think.


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