(Derick E. Hingle/USA Today…)
I cannot wait for the Super Bowl, but not because I'm rooting for a particular team. As a matter of fact, I couldn't tell you which color jerseys are playing because I stopped paying attention once the Washington Redskins lost.
I am excited because, for at least another six months, I won't have to pretend to like football, just like Lennay Kekua did.
It's not that I'm a girly-girl. For whatever reason, I've just never been particularly interested in sports. Maybe it was the fact that I never understood how players changed their allegiance to teams so I didn't understand why I couldn't. Perhaps I didn't like the way that when a team would lose, it could make or break an evening. Or maybe it's because I'm usually so sloshed by halftime of anything I never experienced the excitement of a win.
On one particular birthday, my boyfriend at the time surprised me with tickets to the USC-Notre Dame game. I probably didn't need to preface that with "at the time" as we can all gather he is now in my Rolodex of exes. And the verb "surprised" is a euphemism. I felt cornered.
While it was a lovely gesture, it was clearly a "Homer giving Marge a bowling ball" birthday present. I wasn't expecting a Gucci purse or even a Red Lobster dinner. (Turn your nose up at cheddar bay biscuits and Sutter Home. I dare you.) From that day forward, I felt threatened by sports, as though they were another woman.
Over the years, I've felt certain pressures by guys to love their teams. Ashleymadison.com profiles tell me that men love a girl who can just "hang out in an old T-shirt on the couch and watch a game with me." I've been very forthcoming about my disinterest in that world, though I've made up for it by not going the complete opposite route and donning a pink jersey with pigtails and face paint, cheering whenever prompted.
I've always figured if I ever married, then 20 years in, I probably would cheer for the team my husband cheers for. But to expect me to get on the bandwagon right off the bat of whatever team the guy I'm dating loves has always seemed disingenuous. I don't like expectations.
However, I have seen the disappointment on the faces of boys I've dated, not just due to their teams losing, but also due to me not caring one way or another.
So this past football season I tried something different. I feigned interest in my boyfriend's team, the Redskins. I watched those games as if I were watching Miss Illinois aiming for Miss America and I found myself ... somewhat interested. I can't say I'm waiting on pins and needles for next football season, but that saying, "Fake it till you make it"? Well, I think I made some serious strides.
Now let's see how I fare during hockey season.
Katie Killacky is a RedEye special contributor.
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