People often ask me for help. I get numerous tweets a day from men asking if I can convert their girlfriends into sports fans. Guys, it’s not that hard. For those of you with girlfriends who constantly complain about how you would rather spend your time with Cris Collinsworth than them – right before they tell you they need the TV at 10pm to watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta – this is for you. Just follow these guidelines:
1. Since she loves reality television shows, make her aware that Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco have a popular (not really) reality show. Former quarterback turned ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer was even on The Bachelor. Or, if she’s like my friend who shall not be named, she watches Real Housewives like she’s addicted to heroine, and likes the Sacramento Kings because The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Adrienne Maloof-Nassif is a co-owner of the Kings. Hey, it works.
2. Find a female friend of hers who seems to like sports more, and then mention it a lot. “You know, it’s really awesome that Karen Owen likes sports so much. It’s great to see a girl get so enthused over Duke athletics.” Your girlfriend will then get jealous (caution: while this tactic may cause her to pay more attention to sports, it may also cause problems in your relationship – a risk some of you may be willing to take). On the flip side, a little jealousy has never been a bad thing; it spices up your relationship and make-up sex might be involved.
3. Explain to her that ESPN is just like E! No, seriously, it is. Brett Favre’s little texting escapade even reached the depths of ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s TODAY Show, and CNN. The athlete cheating scandals are enough to keep ESPN busy 24 hours a day, and that doesn’t even include players’ moms sleeping with teammates. Hollywood has nothing on sports.
4. Tell her how cute she would look in a pink jersey, and then go out and buy it for her (buying a few other items wouldn’t hurt). Girls love receiving gifts. In return for your generosity, she’ll actually pretend to act interested in the team and/or player she’s representing, and look great doing it.
5. Play a “Where’s Waldo?” game with her by asking her to point out the best-looking athlete. Give her some options, if you must (there are plenty: Mark Sanchez, Sidney Crosby, Derrick Rose, Evan Longoria, whose name sounds like Eva Longoria, someone she should be quite familiar with). Anything is better than crushing on Robert Pattinson / Edward Cullen.
6. Bring out her competitive nature by asking her to co-manage a fantasy football team with you. She can keep half (or all) of the money you two win. That way, she is personally invested in the team and she sees tangible rewards for being so diligent about fantasy football. In addition, she’ll actually encourage you to watch football so she can see how her players perform. Believe me, I’ve seen this strategy implemented; just last Sunday, my friend’s girlfriend screamed, “Jennings! I know him! He’s on my team!” That’s Greg Jennings, for those of you who aren’t in the know. Not a bad player to own in fantasy football.
7. Point out that her favorite celebrities are dating or married to athletes, so liking sports (guys) must be the cool and hip thing to do. Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady, Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler, Minka Kelly and Derek Jeter, everyone else who used to date Derek Jeter, Cameron Diaz and Alex Rodriguez, formerly Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush / Miles Austin, Eva Longoria and Tony Parker…um…until a few weeks ago (see No. 3).
8. Bribery – plain and simple. Make deals with her. Lots and lots of deals. One Sunday of football equals a Saturday of whatever she chooses. Promise her a dinner at Anthony Bourdain’s new restaurant before watching the Monday Night Football game. You’ll let her model her new Victoria’s Secret lingerie (that you bought) after the game; I think both of you win there.
9. Let her experience the club seats / courtside seating experience. Even if your girlfriend hates sports, all girls enjoy the feeling of being invited to an exclusive party. What could possibly be more exclusive than a separate entrance to a sporting event where you get VIP perks?
10. When all else fails, ask her if she would rather have you watching men in tights wrestle each other or women in tights wrestle each other. That should silence her for the time being.