Thursday, August 28, 2008

GUEST POST: Football is not like the measles…it won’t go away

By: Becky Shippen-Olsen

Editor's Note: Becky Olsen was the first winner of America's Next Top Obscure Guest Author, and this post is her winning entry.

Let's face it, many women don't understand football and frankly don't care. They go to the games; put on some makeup and a cute tee…mostly for social reasons. They often show up late and/or leave early.

Don't worry—I was once there too (but not entirely). They complain that the boyfriend/spouse spends more time watching SportsCenter or classic BYU games on the Mountain and completely dread the fall season because it’s bombarded with football. Yet, these same women expect their significant others to see every chick-flick, watch Friends with them (and enjoy it) and help them pick out their latest MAC makeup purchase.

Before you get all huffed up and defensive, telling me it really is ridiculous that they love this game so much, and that you’ll never understand why on Earth they would watch a game over-and-over again, let me say this: Football isn’t going anywhere. And it won’t end with your husband either. Your kids will most likely be involved with it too. So instead of resisting and resenting football, embrace it. Try these five tips and in no time you’ll be on the road to football superfan-dom.

Educate Yourself
You know there is a football and a goal post. You know what a quarterback is and you love yelling “first down” with the rest of the crowd. That’s a good start, but ladies there is much more to learn. This should take no time at all. Nothing longer than how much time you would waste on or Facebook. Get familiar football and with your team. Search American Football on Wikipedia, yes this is a credible and will give you a good foundation. Go to your team's site and become familiar with the roster and schedule. Seek out other sources of information like blogs, newspapers and fan forums. Heck, BYU even hosts an Annual Women’s Football Clinic to teach you more about the game. ASB has a great daily regimen for gathering BYU football information as well. The more you know the better. After all, we all hate what we don’t understand.

Quiz & Question
There is nothing more attractive to a guy than a girl interested in something he loves. So if your man loves this game, which he probably does, because you are reading this, then he’ll love to answer any questions you have about the game. A word of warning: Prepare yourself, because he’ll most likely go on and on… sharing his vast knowledge and opinions of the game.

Dress the Part
Nothing is more annoying to a hard core fan than a girl showing up looking like she’s on a Friday night date. (Ladies, you know who you are…fitted turtleneck sweaters, designer jeans, leather boot stilettos and hair down) I’m not saying you can’t look good or sport your designer jeans, just wear your team colors. Besides you’ll be much more comfortable. Get some cute accessories, go crazy. This is the easiest part.

Make a Contribution
Here’s where I really come in/have a lot of experience. See, I have a major interest in baking, especially cake decorating. Every home game we tailgate with our friends. So naturally, I decided I was going to use football as a creative outlet for my baking hobby. I show up each game with a new football-themed treat. I love it, my husband loves it and all our friends love it. I feel more a part of the group and am more excited each week as I brainstorm my next creation. I’m not suggesting you start baking; I’m saying find your niche and see how you can apply it to the football season. If you love face painting, photography, quilting or videography…there are ways you can contribute.

Understand the Commitment, Communicate
I think one of the biggest conflicts couples have with football is the commitment and dedication football fans have to the game. You have the 4-5 hour game, plus a tailgate, pre- and post-game shows, blogs to read, newspapers, TV reports and shows and of course the never-ending conversations they have with other fans. This can seem overwhelming, and truthfully it is. Discuss with your spouse what they think their time commitment is looking like for the season, and what their expectations are for your participation. Try to come to an agreement as a couple; you know go half way or what not. The key here is understanding expectations ahead of time. If you don’t want to watch game recaps on Sunday nights, then don’t—just don’t expect them to give it up. Also, be sure to set aside time to be “away” from football. Maybe a date night is appropriate. Remember: just because he loves football, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.

I promise you if you’ll try at least half of these suggestions your fall season will go much more smoothly and you’ll actually start enjoying football. In fact, you’ll love it. Football isn’t going anywhere and neither is your hubby’s passion for it. I’ll leave you with the words of Patti Edwards, wife of the legendary BYU Football Coach, LaVell Edwards, “I didn’t like it [football and him coaching], I called it the measles and thought it would go away. I didn’t like it at all! But after five years I learned the game and I enjoyed it, it is fascinating.”

Becky Shippen Olsen resides in Provo, Utah and is wife to Adam, the editor of Adam’s Sports Blog. She won the first “America’s Next Top Obscure Guest Author” contest on ASB, allowing her this guest post. She is a BYU Alum and public relations specialist. She enjoys baking, rollerblading and Saved by the Bell. You can follow Becky on her blog, Project Domestication.

**Photos by Trevor and Lesley Winn Photography**


Justin said...

Great post Becky. You should recommend this to all girls to read. You wrote an instant classic line: Just because he loves football, doesn't mean he doesn't love you. Only a female insider to the game could have figured that one out.

Bethany said...

right on becky. perfect post, you were definitely the deserved winner.

Trevor said...

BEAUTIFUL post Becky. I am SO glad Jeris didn't win. This was useful, helpful, and insightful. I really appreciated insight from the "other half." I think there are LOTS of women that could use this. You should submit it to a local newspaper or something.

Best line of the article: "Remember: just because he loves football, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you." Amen.

P.S. Thanks for the shoutouts on the photography.

JaiJai Jillian said...

Very nice Becky! Definitely think that you should print that out as a flyer for many of the girls going into the stadium tomorrow. They'll need it!

Dave said...

What are the chances that I would be sitting in a Pharmacology lecture, not paying attention, perusing, and I come across my former neighbor's sports blog. I am happy to know who Ham is now.

Dave Pinegar

Rock said...

Did Adam write this?

Cindroid said...

Well done Becky. I support your quest to educate the wives of football.

Although I do wonder what Jeris had up his sleeve...

Becky said...

Rock, I'm offended. I can't believe you don't think this is my original content. I've had this up in my head for months...and it was what i promised in my teaser post before the final votes.

I expect an apology otherwise you will not have a homeade fb helmet ice cream sandwich with your name on it tomorrow.

btw: thanks everyone for your votes! and parley, who ever you are thanks for your props before the final votes!


ali said...

well written Becky, but I still stand by my original opinion. If we had an event that lasted all day on every saturday and obsessed over it through the week, our hubbies would NOT be able to handle it with as much grace as even the least of us sisters handle the football thing. I mean we already get flak for our favorite girl shows and that's like what 1/2 hour a week? Few girls are as obsessive about "friends" as men are about football.

What guy hasn't whined about his wife reading "twilight?"

Thankfully Jon isn't as crazy about football as Adam is, and he even manned up and gave "twilight" a read (it was a total disaster, he makes fun of it all the time, but he was willing to give it a try).

So I say turnabout is fair play.

Rock said...

My apologies, Becky. Your Cougar confections are the anchor to our tailgates.

Jennifer said...

Well done. I forwarded this to my wife (Jennifer, this is her email account). She is supportive and is a fan as well so most of this is known to her already but I think it's useful to know that your husband is not the only neurotic fan and that though you too enjoy BYU football your fandom though maybe not stopping at the water's edge does not cross the vast expanses that your husband's does (ie reviewing game film the same night, watching classic games all summer, posting on message boards etc.). And that's OK.

Thanks for the insight and support.


Ali Snow said...

Very nice. I must admit that I'm not a huge football fan but since I met Jonathan I've been trying and have come a long way myself. I think your advice rings true and will work.

Suzy Beamer Bohnert said...

Because you sound like football fans, check out my new book called "Game-Day Goddess: Learning Football's Lingo." It's available at and Barnes & For those who want to learn about football painlessly, this is the amusing, informative guide for you!

Suzy Beamer Bohnert, author, "Game-Day Goddess: Learning Football's Lingo" and "Binkie Learns to Fly"

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hailie said...

Becky - I am holding out! I will resist the temptation to give into my husband and our future progeny, I will never, I repeat never enjoy sitting through a whole football game. Stay strong girls! Its the right thing to do! Good article, though, I felt it was well researched, with some really great advice.