A Success Story: How This Female Came to Watch Football

Kay OlsonContributor IJanuary 24, 2008

To many females, the passion and excitement men feel about sports are two feelings that elude them.  “It’s just a game,” we say. We don't understand why on Monday night at 8 pm, the game will be on television, whether we like it or not.

If a guy is lucky, he can sucker his lady into watching a game for Tom Brady’s looks or Tony Romo’s smile. But these flimsy reasons for viewership will eventually fizzle. They're cute, but not that cute.

As with most things in life, females need to have a reason for commitment. Even if it's just to watch football. While the most ideal situation would be that they just love the game, it’s not completely realistic.

Which leads me to how this year, at 22, I will be watching the Super Bowl for the first time—and I'm not talking about the commercials or Tom Brady or the even halftime show. (Though I actually enjoy Tom Petty, I probably won’t be too interested.)

It was so sneaky. I was hanging out with my man and my guy friends at the beginning of the season and it just so happened to be a Sunday.

When game time rolled around, everyone was out of the pool and into the house, onto the couch with the chips, beer, and delivery. Initially, I had attempted to sneak out. I’d never really cared much for watching football and I’d definitely never understood how people were so into it—but the lure of a beer calling my name kept my there. So I figured I’d hang around for a little while.

And then it happened.

“I’ve got $300 on [whatever team] to win.  They’ve got to beat the spread and I took the over.”  Wha-wha-wha-what? Three hundred dollars on a single game? I didn’t know what all that "spread and over" talk was, but I got the $300 part.

I was bewildered as to how anyone could risk that much money on a single game—just one chance to either win some money or lose it all—but to each his own. So I did the only thing I could do. I put my heart and soul into the team he bet on.

I cared. I really cared—this team could not lose! Because if they lost, my friend would lose all that money. For the first time in my life, I got mad if the QB threw a bad pass. I was overjoyed if we scored or our defense repeatedly pushed the other team to long third downs.

I really just needed the team to win because my friend needed the team to win.

My tender heart reached out to him. It was like I was doing something good for my friend and all I was doing was hoping the team could win so he wouldn’t lose his money.

I had to keep watching.

And so it went for the next few weeks. Until I had to change my gym schedule and ended up at the gym on Sunday afternoons—where conveniently, two games were on the TVs that hung above my elliptical.

I could have watched my favorite channel, The Food Network, but something made me stray from it. I knew who my friends had bet on, so I had to cheer for their teams. If I didn’t, they may lose money, and I couldn't be responsible for that.

Granted, they lost money more often than not, but I still felt compelled to cheer on their teams.

Eventually, I stopped asking who they were betting on, but continued to watch.  Wherever I could, with whomever I could find. It was weird, but I loved watching the game.

That's why this year I will be seated in front of my HDTV with the other football fans, watching the biggest game of the year and not just the biggest commercials. I didn't know it would come to this, and I still really don't know how it happened. I continually ask myself why I wasted 21 years of not caring about football and still haven’t come up with an answer.

My view on the game is that the mighty Pats haven't looked as hot towards the end of their season as they did at the beginning. And the “who are they” Giants were an early embarrassment (except that game against the Eagles where they sacked McNabb 7 times or whatever) have been an impressive team in their late season games. I don’t know how I’m going to last the next week and a half of hype for the big face-off.

I’ll probably make it through with SportsCenter.