A Reluctant Sports Fan’s Guide to the Super Bowl

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Here are a few tips on how to successfully pretend you care about sports for one day (and maybe even have some fun while you’re at it).

Allow me to tell you the story of me and sports. Don't worry, it won't take very long. From an early age, my mother decided to shape her only son into a “man” through gifts of over-sized Redskins winter apparel. I could live with that because it was infinitely better than the bow ties forced upon me in earlier years. Something that was harder to accept was being enlisted in an actual sport. This isn't recorded in any record books, but it's true: I was the most apathetic defense soccer player in the history of the game. As halfheartedly as Daria plays volleyball, I did my best to be as unhelpful as possible. But that didn't stop a hurtling ball from finding the side of my head. Stars! Just like in the cartoons! If I was a fictional being in a Hollywood movie, this would have been the part of the story where I became impassioned and fueled by the pain and made some memorable winning play or something. What actually happened is I cried a lot and the coach took me to the sidelines and then did that thing jocks do in movies where they rally an unwilling person into doing something they don't actually want to do. "YOU GOT THIS! YOU'RE FINE! YOU READY TO GO BACK IN THERE???" I'm not exactly sure what I said, considering the head injury, but it was something in the neighborhood of: Hell no. That was the last day of my illustrious sporting career.

Since then, sports don't come up that often. Well, until recently, that is, with the SF Giants being the best team in the whole wide world and winning two World Series in three years. On both of those occasions, I took the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach and sacrificed myself to the sporty gods. And you know what, it wasn’t terrible. And now our very own 49ers are heading to the Super Bowl to face off with my hometown team the Baltimore Ravens (I win either way!). So what’s a non-sports fan to do?

Here are a few tips on how to successfully pretend you care about sports for one day (and maybe even have some fun while you’re at it):

1. Do your homework.

No one likes a dunce. So do some light studying on the rules of the game and who the major players are. You’ll actually find out interesting conversation topics like the fact that the coaches of the rival teams this year are brothers (Shakespearean drama!) or the irony of a 49er player saying rude things about gay people while a Ravens player plans to use the Super Bowl to promote gay marriage and anti-bullying. Another good way to up your interest level if you’re a girl or gay boy is to go through both teams’ rosters and pick your next boyfriend. As anyone who has crushed on their high school math teacher knows, love can make any subject interesting.

2. Do find the silver lining!

If you really can’t find a way to enjoy the sport, I suggest exercising mind over matter. One option is to think of the positive: it’s not that often that a whole city is brought together in solidarity, so revel in the high-fives from strangers and exaggerated San Francisco pride. Plan B is to convince yourself that the game of helmeted giants hurling themselves at each other is actually just a pre and after party for the real event: a BEYONCE concert! Fresh off her controversial Inauguration performance, the Queen B is set to grace the halftime show and remind us that perfection does exist and we should all try just a little bit harder.