So, in case you didn’t know, I’m a die-hard San Francisco Giants fan. From roughly mid-February until September, October, or (in the best of circumstances) early November, I spend an extremely significant amount of my time watching Giants games, reading recaps of those games, reading (and listening to) analysis of those games, reading reports about trade rumors, reading updates about the goings-on of the clubhouse, checking the standings, following players and beat writers on Twitter, and generally shifting between elation and disgust based on how well a group of grown men hit and throw a little white ball. (More disgust than elation this season, sadly.)
And yes, I am a 28-year-old woman whose day-to-day mood is greatly influenced by whether or not the Giants are winning. I’m okay with that.
Since I grew up in the Bay Area, I’m also loyal to the other major sports franchises in the region. Warriors and 49ers mainly, but I like when the Sharks do well because then my Facebook feed fills up with happy updates from my hockey-loving friends. I tolerate the A’s (I pull for them when they make it to the postseason — until they play the Giants in a Battle of the Bay rematch — because hah, suck it, east coast sportscasters). The only major team from the region I can’t stand is the Raiders, because they’re the Raiders.
Here’s the thing. My husband is from Texas. He grew up near Dallas. And you know how Texans are REALLY into their sports teams? Because they are. His parents decorate a (small) (by Texas standards) Dallas Cowboys-themed Christmas tree each year. They’re coming out to see us in a couple months and one of their biggest “what should we plan” concerns is making sure we can watch the Cowboys game that Sunday. When he learned I was a Niners fan, he called his brother to see if he should keep dating me (I’m 100% not kidding).
He also grew up a Rangers fan. The Giants beat the Rangers (pretty soundly) in the 2010 World Series.
And yet he still asked me to marry him.
I want to get two points across here.
One, I see this unsettling trend of girls totally jumping on board with their boyfriend’s or husband’s favorite teams. That’s fine if you only had a passing (or no) interest in the sport before. Welcome! Join us glory of day-drinking and eating soft pretzels and hot dogs for $9 a pop! Deck yourself out in that team’s colors! Please take 5 minutes to learn the basics of the game so you’re not constantly asking questions like “Why was that a foul? What are special teams? Why are there so many Viagra commercials? Isn’t it ridiculous that the cheerleaders basically don’t get paid?” (they get a few thousand bucks per season, if they’re lucky, for the HOURS UPON HOURS of practices and promotional events and photo/TV shoots, not to mention, oh yeah, the games themselves).
But if you’ve already got a team? Stay true, girl. Don’t think you need to sacrifice your red socks for pinstripes, your Viking horns for a cheesehead, your Dodger blue for…wait, never mind. Root for anyone but the Dodgers. And until you do, enjoy not watching your team on TV unless they’re playing the Angels. Stupid.
My second point is that you CAN totally have a happy, healthy relationship with both your boyfriend/husband AND your favorite team…whether he feels the same way or not. Here’s how.
1 | Be upfront from the start.
Don’t do that thing girls do at the beginning of a relationship where they pretend to like alllll the things the guy likes. If a Patriots loss leaves you in tears, he should know that. Let him know what he’s getting into, and if you need to, remind him how lucky he is that he’s with someone who totally loves and gets sports.
2 | Trash-talking is totally cool, but watch your boundaries.
I know juuuuust how much I can rib Husband about Romo’s latest failings on the field, or how hard I can rub in 2010. He knows better than to root for the Seahawks, ever. Getting into heated discussions is one of the best parts about being a sports fan. But if you’re throwing around insults, keep it limited to the team, not the person.
3 | Definitely splurge on whatever you need to watch your team’s games when out-of-market.
Isolation is a powerful force, friends. My MLB.TV subscription is a 100% necessary household expense, because otherwise I’d only be able to regularly watch Padres games and might actually end up one day cheering with the other 5,000 fans at Petco Park. Ugh. ESPECIALLY if you’re in your husband’s team’s market, do whatever you can to watch/listen/follow your team — get the upgraded NFL package, subscribe to satellite radio and get (almost) every game on the radio, download whatever app on your phone you need. Follow your team and their beat writers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Maybe you can stream your hometown’s local sports talk station for an hour or so each day. This is VITAL. We converted my mom to a Giants fan in part by cutting her off from Vin Scully.
4 | Talk about how you’ll raise the kids.
Confession: We’ve talked more about what teams our kids will root for than whether or not and in what church they’ll be baptized. Luckily, baseball is my sport and football is his, so we’ve agreed that we’ll our kids will be both Giants and Cowboys fans. Definitely recruit your family and friends for appropriate onesies and baby paraphernalia in the chosen colors, and be on guard for gifts from your in-laws (if we end up with any Texas Rangers stuff, so sorry, but that’s getting re-gifted).
Or you can go with my dad’s strategy and full-on blitz with the brainwashing.