Have you ever been in that situation at a party where someone asks you what sports you’re into and you have nothing to say? Sports is a go-to small talk topic for many, and it can be embarrassing if you find yourself with nothing to say.
However some people (like myself) are just not interested in sports. Overhearing lengthym detailed conversations about football are enough to trigger an intense zone out or daydream, and arguments over the details of basketball or the offside rule are like listening to discussions of complex maths. How can people possible be so emotionally invested in balls being thrown around?
It may be baffling to some of us, but the fact remains – a huge amount of people just love sports. And it can be a good idea to make the decision to follow at least one sport casually in order to have something to contribute to these conversations. While for some people it isn’t important, if you regularly find yourself excluded from discussions at work or with people you care about, then it may be in your best interests to learn just a little bit so you can participate and improve your personal connections.
But how do you choose which sport? In some situations it may be obvious how to pick – for example if you’re pursuing this new interest to connect more in the workplace, and you know your boss loves rugby then you aren’t going to pick badminton to follow. However, you do have plenty of choices if there’s no pressing reason to pick a particular sport – and some are even ones you can get involved in yourself. For example, tennis is a great sport to follow casually; there are tournaments throughout the year, meaning you aren’t left high and dry for discussion when the season is over, there are often ‘main character’ players who stay in circulation for a few years, so it’s easy to follow – and it’s very easy to pick up your own tennis racket, join a local club, and start playing yourself, meaning your new interest has also led to you increasing your fitness!
The best advice to anyone who wants to develop an interest in sports that allows them to contribute to sports discourse is this – don’t go too niche. If you discover you have a genuine passion for Curling by all means pursue it, but don’t expect it to be super helpful next time the office is casually swapping sports interests. Pick something mainstream to help in these situations – and enjoy your newfound access to water cooler conversations!