I’m a part of a very unpopular, secret club where the members only speak amongst themselves in code and whispers. Stepping out as a whipping boy, I speak on behalf of the people that are too chicken to admit it: I’m not a football fan.
Admitting you aren’t a football enthusiast in the post-Saints-Superbowl climate is about as popular of a proclamation as stating that you worked at BP after the oil spill. I’ve attempted to understand football, but I don’t quite get it. I was in marching band all four years of high school, which meant I had to go to every single game. I think the only pigskin knowledge I retained was what a touchdown is since we had to play the fight song when the team scored.
Maybe it’s the violent nature, akin to a modern day coliseum. Maybe it’s the ravenous consumption: there’s the pre-game shows, the game itself, then the post-game commentary. Then of course there are the products, the endorsement deals, happy meal toys, licensed clothing, NFL bathmats, branded baby bottles, etc… IT’S ALL FOOTBALL ALL THE TIME. Or maybe it’s because I truly suck at sports. I was that kid who got picked last in PE class. I will say this: I was really, really good at dodgeball in elementary school, mostly because I was afraid of getting hit.
Of course watching the Saints play is so much more than just watching a game. People get so excited for black and gold, and I can’t say I blame them. Rooting for the home team garners a sense of pride. It’s also an easy way for a newcomer to fit in: just root for the Saints and you’re good. It’s not that I don’t love my hometown, or that I don’t support the Saints, it’s just that I don’t like football. I have a friend whose dad reads the sports section in the newspaper just so he can stay up on lunchroom conversation at work the next day. Never mind that he didn’t actually watch the game. I met a colleague at a coffee shop last fall and answered the simple question, “Are you watching the game tonight?” with an honest “I don’t like football,” and judging from the looks I got I thought I might have to sneak out the back door to avoid getting sacked. That’s a football term, right?
Look, I’m not a killjoy. I want people to enjoy themselves, and I’ll dabble in the revelry on occasion by donning the team colors for our (mandatory) black-and-gold dress-up days at work. Just don’t make me watch the game.
Christy Lorio, a native New Orleanian, writes on fashion at slowsouthernstyle.com and is also a freelance writer whose work has been featured online and in print magazines both locally and nationally.