Dear Tell All: I don't follow sports and never have been interested in them. Once I learned that the Packers would be playing in the Super Bowl, I thought to myself, "Oh crap, now I'm going to have to hear about this for months."
I'm not anti-sports, but I don't get the na-tionwide obsession. I am all for people being enthusiastic about a sport that they actually participate in, but I don't understand all the excitement about sitting on your butt watching.
In making small talk, people frequently will bring up sports. At the bank before the Super Bowl, an employee said something about the game. I said something like, "I don't plan on watching it; I don't follow sports." He had a look on his face like I had just punched him, or called his mother ugly. I think part of it may be because I am a man and am culturally expected to worship at the altar of sporting events.
Dropped the Ball
Dear Dropped the Ball: I could have written this letter myself. I completely agree, and I've had similar experiences.
There's a handful of things that people simply assume: that you love watching sports, own a cell phone (and secretly wish it was an iPhone), believe in God and enjoy holding other people's babies. But if you happen to be a sports-indifferent, rotary-dialing, child-hating atheist, the world can be an unwelcoming place.
Except at the grocery store. The best time to go grocery shopping is during the Super Bowl. I wash my car during the World Series, hang out at the gym during the Olympics and go to Target during that annual basketball thingy, because the places are deserted, except for freaks like you and me.
When I was a waiter in college, I once met John Madden, who I now know was an NFL football player, coach and commentator. He came in for dinner with a pipsqueak of a man. When I handed them their menus, the pipsqueak said with a pompous flourish, "Don't you know who this is? It's John Madden." They both seemed crestfallen that I didn't recognize the name, and didn't seem to care. To me, he was just another overweight guy who shouldn't have ordered the corned beef.