Andujar: How to fake understanding football to avoid feeling left out


This is an installment of Suzette Andujar’s weekly column “As I Was Saying”

Touchdown! Your favorite team just made some points and now lead the game. You whoop, you holler and maybe you do a fun little dance. Your friends or family are cheering along with you and high-fiving. You finally sit down, smile and realize that you have absolutely no idea what just happened. As much as you tried to understand, it just cannot be figured out; it is the sudoku puzzle of perplexing proportions: football.

It’s okay! You’re not alone. Even though I was raised with boys, it took me a long time to finally understand what was going on. (I usually stood in my room and binge-watched “Golden Girls” during football season.) I have a few tips on how to get through football season and especially the upcoming Super Bowl like a pro. This is not going to be your typical ‘how-to-understand-football,’ but more like a ‘how-to-fake-knowing-what’s-going-on-so-you-won’t-feel-left-out’ kind of a thing. Let’s get started.

We all know the basic “cheering along” with everyone else; however, there is more to it than meets the eye. If you really want to impress your framily (friends and family combined), cheer on the name of the player who made the touchdown. It’s easy because the name is on the back of their jersey. Let’s call our football player ‘Zippo’ (see what I did there?). So, everyone is whooping, hollering and dancing and you shout, “Way to go Zippo!” Your framily will agree and you’ll get extra hard high-fives. You’ll doubtless feel a part of the gang.

Let’s move on to a more difficult scenario. Zippo catches the ball, crosses over that weird, disappearing yellow line thingy and everyone cheers, but then everyone yells in anger because the referee threw a yellow flag. You don’t know what happened; just that the yellow flag is your basic Cruella DeVille. People around you are shaking their heads, face-palming and shouting complaints. What do you do? Remember, names are our friends and referees are our enemies. You say, “That referee had it out for Zippo since the beginning!” You’re guaranteed to get vehement nods of agreement. You’re welcome.

Now, there’s commentary going on during the game and your framily hangs on every word. Sometimes the framily agrees, sometimes they disagree and most times you just aren’t interested in trying to listen at all. Just keep an ear out for one opinion that the commentator makes and look at your framily’s reaction. If the framily disagrees, ask out loud, “What does he even know?” and if they agree, simply say, “Great call!”

If something very technical happens (and in football, often times it does) and there’s no way to fake the funk, but there is one great thing you can do: get up and say, “Time for more guacamole,” quietly leave the room and hide in the kitchen with all of the snacks. You can always come back when everyone starts to cheer again. Besides, you already know who to chant for, “Zippo! Zippo! Zippo!” Because after all this, we still know Zippo!

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Featured image courtesy of Flickr user Wit Pimkanchanapong.

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