Confessions of a Non-Sports Fan

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(HOST) It’s Superbowl weekend, and if you’re one of the beleaguered minority of non-sports fans, commentator Ken Sheldon has some timely advice for you.

(SHELDON) The Patriots are going to the Superbowl, and it’s happening to me again. The last time this happened was when the Red Sox were on their way to the World Series. I was at a party and a guy said to me, “Did you catch the game last night?”

I didn’t bother to ask him what game. It wouldn’t matter. “Uh, no.”

“Oh,” he said. “You must have been watching the Patriots.”

“Afraid not.”

He tried again. “Wrestling fan?”

“Not really.”

He looked at me as if I were an alien who had cleverly taken on the disguise of a typical American male. I tried to stay in the conversation by telling him that I had recently taken a tour of Fenway Park, but the poor guy had already lowered the bar as far as it was going to go.

Here’s the problem – and this is a confession that’s difficult for an adult male to make, as close to coming out of the closet as some of us will ever get: I don’t follow sports. I never have. In most other respects, I am a healthy, red-blooded American male. I just don’t care about sports.

I’ve tried. When I was a kid, my dad would take my brother and me to Fenway Park once a year when the Yankees came to town. For that one day, I was a baseball fan. (I think I was really a fan of the hot dogs, the peanuts and the chance to see famous people like Mickey Mantle and Carl Yastrzemski, even if they were sports stars.) Later on, at home, watching the game on our little black and white television in our living room just wasn’t the same. So I grew up not knowing what to say when other guys started talking about sports.

But after the last fiasco, I’ve come up with a plan to help me survive such situations, which I’ll share as a public service to the rest of you non-sports fans. You know who you are. The next time you’re at a party and someone says, “Did you catch the game last night?” you should say, “Yeah, how about that?” or “What did you think?”

Generally, this will send the other guy into a long spiel about how the Pat’s defense was a little off, or the Eagles running game was weak because of injuries and blah, blah, blah. If you’re lucky, your ride will show up before you’re expected to respond to any of these.

If not, and you’re asked a specific question like, “What did you think of that move by Belichick?” you should say, “Yeah, wasn’t that incredible?” because whatever Belichick did, it was either insanely great or insanely stupid, and the other guy will be sure to fill you in on the details. You could also say, “Can you believe it?” because there’s always something a true fan won’t believe about a game.

Finally, if you’re really stuck for a response, you should say, “Well, you know what the problem is, don’t you?” Because, rest assured, the other guy will be happy to tell you that the problem is the defensive lineup, or that stupid trade they made to the Marlins, or bad reffing in the third quarter. That should buy you several more minutes of looking like an average guy.

If all else fails, you could confess to being a non-sports fan. That’ll end the conversation in a heartbeat. Of course, you probably won’t be invited to the next party, either.

I’m Ken Sheldon from Hancock, NH, where the game doesn’t even come in that well.

Ken Sheldon is an author, singer and songwriter.

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