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In 2004, as the Boston Red Sox lost game three in the ALCS against their hated rival, I listened to a sorority girl scream in my face about the superiority of the Yankees. I watched her drunken, lifeless eyes as she channeled all the hate from her existence towards me simply because I was wearing the wrong hat. I felt the spittle from her dry mouth rain on my face like the soft rains of spring. I saw the veins beneath her gaping black maw bulge and the fat fingers of her fist clench until the her David Yurman ring nearly screamed in agony. She couldn’t tell me what a balk was, or why it’s usually smart to bunt with runners on first and second, but she could tell me I was a fucking asshole, and my city is full of so many cunts (both eerily accurate). I was annoyed. Not mad, not really even that disappointed about the loss, just completely disgusted by the human filth that wouldn’t let me deal with it all in peace.
So, on the eve of Super Bowl weekend, I have a confession: I have a problem with women and the way they watch sports. I sound like a chauvinist, and I am, but let me qualify my statement: I hate inauthenticity. There are plenty of women, particularly athletic women, with an understanding of sport and competition. They swell their voices at the right moments, turn away to converse when the game ebbs, and understand when it’s appropriate to plead the coach to go for it on fourth down (four yards or less, every time). At least I think those women exist. Unfortunately, due to my life circumstances, I’m not friends with any of them. So I’m left with girls that gab through the game as if it were only a game, or worse, put on a charade of fanship so ridiculous that my evening is ruined and I start to wonder if there are any camps that can cure me of my heterosexuality.
As with anything – the more someone tries to convince you that something is true, the less you believe it. My buddy Allen, for example, is constantly telling me over the phone about all the crazy strange he’s pulling and it’s so detailed, so well-remembered, so abundant that I’m left with only one conclusion: his penis was ripped off in a terrible accident. “Thou doth protest too much,” – I’m sure the Bard said that after a few cold Keystones and a girl was telling him how she “always watched football growing up.” Think about the last time one of your buddies had to inform you that he watches a lot of football. Yeah. Never. I have rarely, if ever, watched a sporting event with a female “fan” and thought, “this is a nice time.” The posturing, the screaming at the players on the TV, the wondering aloud why a coach would call a play that would end in a loss (I don’t know, maybe he DIDN’T THINK IT WOULD). It reeks of an act. I know every girl thinks they aren’t “that chick.” I know they think they “totally love football” and they “played in the Powder Puff game.” But, with all due respect, if you have to tell me any of that, then you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.
So, an entreaty to the ladies out there: treat Super Bowl Sunday like a Jew walking through a dive bar in the south, tread lightly my little baleboste. There’s more on the line for every guy in the room emotionally and financially than you could ever understand. You think this is fun, but it’s not, at least not in the way you think. Sure, the guy in the corner isn’t wearing a jersey and hails from Boston so why would he care if you irrationally picked the Broncos to win because “orange is awesome” and spend the day yelling at the TV? Well, Boston means he’s a Patriots fan, and that means he’s a Tom Brady Fan, and that means he’s always had a bit of a complex about people comparing Tom Brady with Peyton Manning. (While one was relentlessly celebrated from birth, the other was a fourth string quarterback who was an afterthought in the draft but now because he has beautiful eyes and a supermodel wife people forget he’s the hardest working guy alive.) Plus, even though he’s against the Broncos, he still needs their receivers to catch at least two touchdowns. Also, he may have $10,000 on the over. Do you have any idea about the conflict of emotions involved there? The anxiety, the regret, the excitement? The stakes we’re talking about? So know that every guy you watch the game with this Sunday is an iceberg; above the surface he’s there to have fun but beneath there’s a lifetime of doubts and fears.
The girl I watched the Red Sox-Yankees ALCS with in 2004 didn’t understand any of this. And so, when my beloved Sox epically came back from three games down to punch their ticket to the World Series, I had the pleasure of looking her in the eye and calmly informing her that she would die alone, a rejected hag petting a dead cat. She scoffed, tears welling, and said something about how she couldn’t understand how a game could ever mean that much. Exactly my point.