Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Let's talk about that football conversation

How about that football conversation?

People misunderstand me when I ask this, so let me spell it out: I don't want to talk about football. I want to talk about football conversation.

What I'll typically get is something like: well, the Vikings are a favorite, because it's gonna be cold, but the Seahawks -

And then I will cut them off. "No, asshole. I want to talk about the conversation. Like when you talk about what you just talked about. Let's talk about that. Let's talk about how people are communicating football to each other."

Dumbfounded. They don't understand. It's OK.

So, for example, let's talk about how one approaches another person for football conversation. It typically starts with an exclamation, like "Hey!" or "Huskies!" or "Tony!" Let's talk about that. Here's a little list:

Hey! - There's a good chance you barely have a job. Everyone in the office secretly talks about how you are a nice guy/girl, but you really have no idea what you're doing.

Huskies! - You want to like football too much. It shows. Everyone in the office assumes you are hiding something. Every time you shout "Seahawks!" to start a conversation, everyone assumes you are really yelling "I'm a terrorist!"

Tony! - You are identifying who you are talking to across a lunch room of people. You have no shame. You like football so goddamn much that you want everyone to know that you are about to engage Tony in a conversation about it. You are a true fan.

Your next move is going to be actually acknowledging what you are going to be talking about. Again, let's work with a list:

So, how about that game? - You didn't see the game. You don't like football. You like being liked. 

Did you see my Cougz last night? - You saw the game. However, your personal property assessment on the team tells folks that you probably just got involved in liking football and probably just took a look at the score so you could talk about it. Again, you just want to be liked. But doesn't everyone? No. I don't like being liked. That's why I talk about football conversation and not football.

So, what do you think about Sunday? - This is a man who knows football. Or woman. Or terrorist. The point is, there's a human here who knows football. What's telling is that they actually want to talk about an upcoming game. In this case, they will need to know about football in order to keep a conversation up about the ups and downs of the game. This person likes football. They probably have been following it for awhile. 

From there, the conversation will lead into small snippets of what could make a team win or lose. Typically, this conversation is peppered with BUTs and WHAT IFs. No one wants to totally discount a team. That's really putting yourself out there. Because if you're wrong, that person is going to remember it and come at you in the hall and say something like "So, the Vikings will lose, huh? Didn't look like it on Sunday!" And then you have a fist fight and two terminations. 

From here you have a whole lot of trying to maneuver out of the conversation when both parties realize they could be out of their element and if something like statistics or wind chill factors being a factor in the last 45 seasons....that stuff can really nail you as someone who is not passionate about the game. You can only get so far talking about football when eventually, you have nothing left to talk about, as shown here:

"Dunno, man, there's a good chance anything can happen."


"I mean, you know, anything could happen. You know, that saying Any given day?"

"Yeah, what about it?"

"I'm just saying that....any given day you a thing."

"OK, I'm going upstairs now."

And that was your boss. And now you're fired because you couldn't talk about the football. You held on too long. You made about four minutes. The average football conversation is five. No one surpasses seven unless they are drinking beer or are a professional coach.

Another tragedy is the person who knows only one phrase that has anything to do with football and just keeps repeating it. This can be heartbreaking.

"I'm IN!"

"Yeah, you watching the game?"

"I'm IN!"

"Cool. Man. Where you watching it?"

"I'm IN!"

"Hey, cool down, man. You wanna let go of my arm?"

"I'm IN!"

And then you have another fired employee clutching a man's arm and spouting out a ridiculous football rally cry that eventually leads to tears. They pull the guy off and it's just a silent "I'm IN!" through tears and it all comes down to overreaching. Talk about the weather or how long it is until the weekend. Picking up football as a go-to conversation takes a little bit of homework.

Lastly, I want to warn you of the football zombie. There are people that will talk to you about football against your will. These people will grab you in the hall by the arm and shout "Go HAWKS!" and they won't let go. They will get down deep into the game with you. If you don't like football, too bad. This person will follow you up five floors and will not stop talking about football. This is usually a sign of a person who has so secluded themselves from society that the only cord to life they have is football conversation. They no longer care about their job, the wife left, the kids are in jail and they are left looking up obscure statistics on their computers and adjusting their fantasy football teams to the nth degree. The only way to get rid of them is to walk them right into a bigger football fan than you and then hoping that they take the bait. If that doesn't work: murder.

Feel free to hit me up on the football conversation. I love talking about it. Like those guys that will just shake their head at you when you start innocently talking about football like you have no idea what you are talking about and the anger this provokes. Like, hey, man, I like football too. And, no, they just shake their heads like you're stupid. 



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