Sep. 26, 2012—It’s that time of year again when men trade in their shirts and ties for jerseys and belly paint. Our civilization takes a break from our gym routines and protein shakes and transforms into wordless grunting, cheese guzzling, beer gulping fools. And it’s perfectly acceptable because it’s football season. Football Sundays are a sacred time when we take a break from our evolved human behaviors and resort back to that of a caveman—unless you’re a lady.
Football season is a time for men to roll their eyes and scoff at us for asking questions like "why’d he do that," and "what’s that mean?" For the most part, us ladies are not taken seriously as football fans and are left out of the festivities. While I am usually inclined to form a coup and overthrow the male football government in the name of womanhood, I have to say that in this particular instance their sighing and eye rolling might be warranted.
We view football as a time to bond with our guy, try out new recipes, and check out men in tight pants. And while our male counterparts often tolerate our questions and recipes, they often reject our attempts at true fandom. I think that if we could just embrace football, the game, and not try to turn it into civility and lace, we might be more respected and earn ourselves a permanent spot on the couch.
I have assembled a list that might help us get closer to a position of respect—at least when it comes to Sundays.
1. Pick a team. Pick a team and stick with them—there is nothing worse than a bandwagon fan. True fans stick with their teams, even if their quarterback is Matt Cassel and they haven’t won a play off game since the dawn of time. Everyone has reasons for following a team—find your reasons and stick to them come super bowl or a winless season.
2. Wear your team’s colors. Just because they make it in pink and bedazzled doesn’t mean you have to wear it. Pink is great for lingerie, but come on girls; we are more than fluffy underwear and stick on jewels. Wearing our team’s colors creates an instant bond between you and the other super fans—we can step outside of our color wheel in the name of fandom.
3. Learn the players. We learned the ins and outs of Meredith and McDreamy's relationship so much that their success and failures became our own—football is no different. Sure the characters are sweaty, there is less romance and more injuries, and there are 1st downs instead of 1st kisses, but it’s basically the same principles.
4. Learn the positions. It will be much easier for you to talk football if you actually understand what’s going on. Start with the quarterback—he will be the guy throwing the ball, unless he’s Tim Tebow, in which case he will be saying more Hail Mary’s than throwing them.
5. No tears—chug a beer. Just like there is no crying in baseball, there is no crying in football, unless you are Phillip Rivers. In football, hurt feelings and disappointments are settled with facemasks, arm bars, slurred trash talking, and Tamba Hali.
6. Never utter the phrase "it’s just a game". Using words like that will only anger the belly painted fans sharing our cushions– the blood, sweat, and beers they have invested every season make it more then just a game—it’s tradition, it’s devotion—it’s everything. No, the refs can’t hear the obscenities being barked at them, but it feels good to rumble and roar when they blow a call—try it, you’ll love it.
7. No PDA. Stop thinking of watching the game as a way to bond with your boyfriend. Sundays aren’t about kissing and snuggling—they’re about battling for first downs and stretching for one more yard. If you absolutely must touch him, use a high five, butt tap, or chest bump; those are all acceptable PDA’s on game day and won’t earn you a penalty flag.
9. Superstitions: its only weird if it doesn’t work. It’s ok not to change your socks for a season or to hold your breath on the snap, if it means your team might win—shaving an arrowhead onto your dog also falls into this category.
10. Flags happen. If the guys dressed like zebras throw a yellow thing on the field, it means something that wasn’t supposed to happen has happened—don’t ask questions right away. Let the refs (men dressed like zebras) explain—they have to; it’s their job. If you really want to be part of the couch brigade, pay attention to the game and the calls, learn, be part of the grunting and guzzling, and you will earn your cushion.
We ladies are passionate, resilient, loyal people—football needs fans like us. So, let’s put down our Smirnoffs and pick up a beer. Cheers to Sunday, sweatpants, and things covered in cheese.