“Who do you want to win the Super Bowl?” my 7-year-old piano student asked me.
“Is that tomorrow? Who’s playing?”
I can remember sitting through about five minutes of the Super Bowl when I was 6 before retreating to my room to find something interesting to do. That was the most of the Super Bowl I ever watched.
Years after that I was invited to a Super Bowl party. My friend and I sat in the kitchen while the grown-ups drank beers and recorded their bets on a giant whiteboard, then hurried to the garage to play ping pong as soon as the game started.
In general, sports and I have a dysfunctional relationship. Since all the men in my family love to watch games on TV, I attempted to enjoy them when I was younger. But they were only ever obnoxious obstacles between me and “Dragon Tales.”
Going to games was more fun. The nachos were good, and I got to yell. But when my friend and I rooted for the away team at a Kings’ game, we got some intensely dirty looks. Knowing how crazy some fans can get, I now think our lives might have been in danger.
I never had much luck playing sports, either. People seemed to think it was wrong of me to shield my face from the terrifying projectiles about to take my head off.
I started doing karate when I was 7, and it became the only form of athleticism I actually enjoyed. If something came at my face, I was supposed to block it, which seemed significantly more reasonable than the ridiculous soccer rules. It also helped that there weren’t any teams, so no one got mad at me.
This Saturday I told my piano student that I would root for the Seahawks because I thought it was a good name. I can’t really make a more intelligent comment than that about football or any other sport.
My grandpa is constantly trying to interest me in baseball. He recounts the best moments of games for me and talks about various athletes. Once, when he brought up Buster Posey, I made my standard comment, that Buster Posey has a very nice name. For the rest of that baseball season, and after every game the following year, I heard all about Posey’s latest exploits. My grandpa pretended not to know that I was only feigning enthusiasm.
Maybe I should try harder to cultivate an interest in sports, if only to provide my male family members with a better audience when they try to convey their excitement.
There are advantages to not following football, though. On Sunday, I discovered that movie theatres are virtually empty during the game. I think I might have begun a new tradition of enjoying near-private screenings of movies while the rest of the world yells at their TV screens.