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When I was single and mingling, I wanted to learn how to “talk sports”. Now, I grew up as a fairly active individual, participating in several extracurricular sports almost since I've been old enough to, so I feel I've always had at least a basic understanding of how most sports were executed: most consist of a ball or puck being passed among members of one team, trying to do whatever earns the points, while the other team tries to keep them from earning the points. Others entail individuals competing with each other by running, swimming, jumping, skating, fighting, riding, or driving to be the first to cross a finish line or the last one standing. I played sports to make friends and to keep myself busy and healthy more than to make an athletic star out of myself. I've always been more of a geek, playing video games, reading, writing, or watching a movie or drama sooner than I'd pay much attention to sports stats, standings, predictions, and performances such as the stuff of ESPN commentary, of course, that's what most other people would talk about too. Grasping much of those things for some reason seemed beyond me for a long time, but I had hoped that learning them would impress a guy and help build a relationship with him. I came up with three ways to learn what I wanted and to get to the sportsman's heart.
Watching and Learning
Having been in a relationship with a sports fanatic for over a year now, I've certainly not been wrong with the thought of “learning sports” positively affecting the relationship. He loves that I'll watch a game or competition with him and I genuinely enjoy it myself! He's happy to indulge my interest in learning how to speak sports, and I like impressing him with some tidbit, trivia, or even just my enthusiasm for the event at hand. I've learned those “finer points of sports” are never far beyond me either. Maybe this is just because of who I'm with and who he is, but I see keeping up with sports as principally similar to keeping up with my favorite actors, artists, or shows. Doing my own research has been the easiest place for me to start for any of them. As a college student and geek, I've done that a lot anyway. I'll read Wikipedia for background overviews, watch YouTube for top tens, clips, and podcasts, and subscribe to Twitter feeds and Facebook pages to keep up with their latest endeavors.
I've also learned a lot by being in the moment during an event. Right away, I can turn to my boyfriend and ask him about whatever move, play, or call we saw that's intrigued me, or he might point out to me something of interest. And like geeks have cosplaying at comic conventions, sports fans have their own culture and traditions that are easy to get into. For instance, fans of West Virginia Mountaineer football, like my boyfriend, have their own way of celebrating a first down, and they burn couches on the college campuses after a win. My boyfriend is an even bigger fan of wrestling, and between research, the live shows we attended, and the pay-per-view's we watched, I quickly learned several wrestlers' signature logos, moves, and entrance themes. We just went to a live show for the WWE SummerSlam tour, and I was pleased at how what I knew stuck out to me on the shirts fans were wearing. I wore one for Finn Balor myself, and my boyfriend wore Seth Rollins.
What's more was my surprise and excitement to see my favorite in the opening match of the night against Baron Corbin! I had to quickly set down my nachos, fresh from the concession stand, so I could raise my hands at the right point in his entrance music. I was a little disappointed when he got knocked out of a coup de grace, but even more stirred up in a moment following moment when he got knocked down hard that I shouted out. I thought that I had started a boo chant as the rest of the crowd seemed to have followed suit!
1) West Virginia Mountaineers Football 2) Finn Balor's coup de grace
After the show, and disappointed by the absence of Rollins at the main event, my boyfriend spent the near two-mile walk to where we parked having an ardent discourse on the quality of the wrestling networks and companies he follows. I listened with interest as he mentioned wrestling's “independent scene” and WWE's overly business-oriented mentality against rising competition and caring about the fans. I'm learning more all the time and no better opportunity than when my boyfriend is impassioned. Even more so, following his trains of thought weren't difficult for me, and I even knew a thing or two to contribute after all I have come to learn so far. I had finally learned how to engage in deep discussion about sports!
A lot of value is to be had in building on your understanding of sports, or any other unfamiliar territory for that matter. Tell your interest you're curious about their passions, and they couldn't be happier that you want to take part. They'll be the best sources of information on the subject, and the best motivators for learning too. Read up on your own and ask them questions, and the impression will only continue. If possible, take an opportunity to experience an interest, and memories will be made. Adding to your repertoire of skills or knowledge gives you something to talk about or something to do with people sharing those interests, like me and my boyfriend with sports.