How to make sports interesting

(Originally posted Wednesday, July 09, 2008 over at my personal blog.)

If you’re like me, you couldn’t care less about sports. So what to do when someone around you is into it and you for some reason or other have to sit there and watch it with them? How do you transform it from a boring game of no consequence to something whose outcome you are mildly interested in finding out?

Here are a few pointers…

Well, first of all, who to support? You have to know who you want to win, because if you don’t, there really is no point at all.

1. Does the team/player represent your area/country?
If yes – sorted! If no, do any represent a country which you have been to, like, or know someone from? (Facebook friends count. Especially if you’re stuck.) Or a country which you are slightly obsessed about? For me, I’m pretty much sorted if any of these play: Sweden, England, or Ireland. If they play each other… well, that depends. Sweden first and foremost. If it’s England vs Ireland, Éirinn go Brách. In the European Championships this year, Germany vs Turkey. Sure, I know some Turkish people (have 3 on Facebook, who I know from Yahoo!Groups)… but on the other hand, I’ve been to Germany, one of my favourite bands are German and I’d like to learn the language, hence: Germany.

2. Who deserves to win? One side who have had it a bit of difficulties historically? They just need one more win to set a new record? Someone’s a complete prick so by default, the opponent should win? Sympathise and take sides!

3. Who’s the better looking? No, seriously. If all else fails, be superficial. Granted, this gets tricky if both sides are “GOWGEOUS!!” but if you’re lucky, one you like, one you don’t. This wasn’t easy in the recent Wimbledon men’s final, both Federer and Nadal being dashing young fellows.

4. Who do your friends/partner/family root for? If you’re stuck at this point, just do what the others are doing. It might not help raise your interest more than a “cool, they won” or “oh, they lost”, but at least you can celebrate or mourn together. I care nothing for football, yet if I have to pledge allegiance to a team, I say “Go Gunners!” (Arsenal), because I don’t want to be disowned by my family-in-law. (In Sweden it’s Örgryte IS because a few years ago, the goalee used to live next door to us and he fitted really rather well into point 3. ;))

5. Whose colours do you prefer? Team clothes, that is. Or the flag, if nothing else applies. For me, this normally involves the House colours of Hogwarts… *cough*

6. Any combination of the previous five. Tennis is boring, but due to the first three points, I concluded Federer should win, but he didn’t. Boo hiss.

Finally, If you’re lucky (?), maybe the sport you’re watching might actually turn out to be more interesting than you first thought, and then you’re sorted! You can actually get a genuine interest as opposed to a very superficial one. As in, I stumbled across a snooker game on EuroSport once and because of point 3, I kept watching the game… and the more I watched, the more the game started to become fascinating, which is good, so today I’ll watch it even if Alan McManus isn’t playing, because sadly, I haven’t seen him in the past few tournaments on TV. Moo. 🙁

However, if there’s a chance you can actually escape having to watch an entire match of whatever it is you’re not really interested in, take it! Read a book, watch TV in a different room, or just leave the room and go do the washing up, go on the computer, have a nice hot bath or something. After all, sports are just games, and a boring ones at that.

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