Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

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coalcracker
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Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by coalcracker »

I was surprised by a recent conversation with a lawyer friend of mine in which he admitted he essentially "studies up" on the local professional sports teams periodically, so that he can hold his own in conversations by the water cooler and during after-work drinks. Personally I don't follow any pro or college sports, but absorb some of what's happening by osmosis through my brothers and friends. Luckily I don't have a job in which I need to schmooze much if at all.

Wondering how many men (or women) out there are closet sports-haters but put up a good front at the office :D ?
livesoft
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by livesoft »

I am not a closet sport hater, but i don't keep track of any of the local teams nor other sports goings on around the world. I think it has benefits because that lets others tell me about their teams, their fantasy football players, and their work which can involve sports. All I have to do is listen which lets me off the hook, so to [not] speak. I don't have to hold my own because others will hold it for me.

I used to coach youth sports in a serious way and my son has a job that is totally sports related. But that doesn't mean I need to keep up with sports nowadays. However, sports is BIG business and is a great necessary and human endeavor, so there is no reason to hate sports.
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SuperGrafx
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by SuperGrafx »

coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:30 pm I was surprised by a recent conversation with a lawyer friend of mine in which he admitted he essentially "studies up" on the local professional sports teams periodically, so that he can hold his own in conversations by the water cooler and during after-work drinks. Personally I don't follow any pro or college sports, but absorb some of what's happening by osmosis through my brothers and friends. Luckily I don't have a job in which I need to schmooze much if at all.

Wondering how many men (or women) out there are closet sports-haters but put up a good front at the office :D ?
This isn't limited to just sports...the same can apply to following the pointless Hollywood scene, keeping up with the latest movies and music news, etc.
Tamalak
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Tamalak »

coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:30 pm Wondering how many men (or women) out there are closet sports-haters but put up a good front at the office :D ?
I'm starting to think it's almost all sports fans, given how 1) social norms are becoming much less important and at the same time 2) interest in sports has plummeted
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coalcracker
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by coalcracker »

SuperGrafx wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:38 pm
coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:30 pm I was surprised by a recent conversation with a lawyer friend of mine in which he admitted he essentially "studies up" on the local professional sports teams periodically, so that he can hold his own in conversations by the water cooler and during after-work drinks. Personally I don't follow any pro or college sports, but absorb some of what's happening by osmosis through my brothers and friends. Luckily I don't have a job in which I need to schmooze much if at all.

Wondering how many men (or women) out there are closet sports-haters but put up a good front at the office :D ?
This isn't limited to just sports...the same can apply to following the pointless Hollywood scene, keeping up with the latest movies and music news, etc.
True, but there is something unique about sports conversation, particularly if you live in a “sports” town (which I do.) It surprises me how much the conversation drift towards sports when a group of guys get together, no matter what the setting and topic of conversation.
Normchad
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Normchad »

I actually enjoy sports, so,I don’t have to do this.

However, the future will be interesting. The millennials by and large don’t follow sports. Not only do they not follow them, they are complexity oblivious to their existence. Some can’t tell you the name of the local major league teams.

They also don’t really enjoy partake in other tradition business social things, such as golfing and happy hours.

A lot of them like rock climbing, escape rooms, board games, video games, etc.

I wonder what the future of business socialization will look like when they fully take over.
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batpot
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by batpot »

Could be it means more to him than he'd like to admit - maybe even a guilty pleasure, and he's downplaying his personal interest because he knows you aren't interested?

Or it could be exactly as you say...though this sounds kind of like Patrick Bateman, doesn't it? Maybe don't ask his opinion of Huey Lewis & the News.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by coalcracker »

batpot wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:43 pm Could be it means more to him than he'd like to admit - maybe even a guilty pleasure, and he's downplaying his personal interest because he knows you aren't interested?

Or it could be exactly as you say...though this sounds kind of like Patrick Bateman, doesn't it? Maybe don't ask his opinion of Huey Lewis & the News.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by JoeRetire »

coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:30 pm Wondering how many men (or women) out there are closet sports-haters but put up a good front at the office :D ?
I'm not a sports hater, but when I was working I made sure to keep up with the sports and the teams that interested employees who worked for me or who were coworkers and friends - even when they really didn't interest me.

That way, I could participate in conversations about topics they enjoyed. It wasn't all that hard to do, and seems like a good thing to do for friends and colleagues.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by sailaway »

I don't keep up at all beyond what I overhear. But, I have been the one to convince people to join us with the free tickets because the sports ball is the least interesting part of being at the stadium.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Raybo »

It isn't any better when your interest is in sports others don't follow. My favorite sport to watch is tennis. I know maybe 2 people who have a similar interest but we don't talk often. Anyone following the Italian Open?

SF, where I live, is definitely a sports town and I read the local paper, so have some exposure to what is happening. But, I don't watch them on TV, so, like livesoft, I mostly listen when others want to talk "major" sports.

It doesn't help that I am a cyclist. No one wants to hear about that, either.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by csan »

Normchad wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:42 pm I actually enjoy sports, so,I don’t have to do this.

However, the future will be interesting. The millennials by and large don’t follow sports. Not only do they not follow them, they are complexity oblivious to their existence. Some can’t tell you the name of the local major league teams.

They also don’t really enjoy partake in other tradition business social things, such as golfing and happy hours.

A lot of them like rock climbing, escape rooms, board games, video games, etc.

I wonder what the future of business socialization will look like when they fully take over.
I'm probably closer to Gen Z than Millennial and your observation about social outings is fairly on point. Obviously, sweeping generalizations are susceptible to counterexamples.

I will say that after trying to get into golf, I just couldn't do it. I became decent but aside from a small subset of my friends, it is not the preferred "hangout" activity. Unless it's at Top Golf but that's a bit different.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by batpot »

SuperGrafx wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:38 pm
coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:30 pm I was surprised by a recent conversation with a lawyer friend of mine in which he admitted he essentially "studies up" on the local professional sports teams periodically, so that he can hold his own in conversations by the water cooler and during after-work drinks. Personally I don't follow any pro or college sports, but absorb some of what's happening by osmosis through my brothers and friends. Luckily I don't have a job in which I need to schmooze much if at all.

Wondering how many men (or women) out there are closet sports-haters but put up a good front at the office :D ?
This isn't limited to just sports...the same can apply to following the pointless Hollywood scene, keeping up with the latest movies and music news, etc.
interest in seemingly trivial subjects it's pretty common, but I am surprised that people fake interest "studying up", just to appear knowledgeable to other people.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Strummer »

Life's too short to pretend to be interested in something. Cultivate your own genuine interests and see where they take you.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by otinkyad »

livesoft wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:36 pm However, sports is BIG business and is a great necessary and human endeavor, so there is no reason to hate sports.
Some sports are big business and some sports are a great necessary and human endeavor, but I think the two are unrelated. ;-)
Tamalak wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:40 pm I'm starting to think it's almost all sports fans, given how 1) social norms are becoming much less important and at the same time 2) interest in sports has plummeted
My anecdotal “Go out to dinner on Super Bowl Sunday” meter would beg to differ on both counts.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by squirm »

I guess it's suppose to make them feel more empowered. I knew this one guy at work who wouldn't ever shut up. Even a simple conversation goes this way "My friend is a mechanic is says those cars are blah blah blah", "a friend of mine is a home builder and says blah blah blah", "A friend of mine knows so and so in the NBA" etc etc.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by stuper1 »

Raybo wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:50 pm It isn't any better when your interest is in sports others don't follow. My favorite sport to watch is tennis. I know maybe 2 people who have a similar interest but we don't talk often. Anyone following the Italian Open?

SF, where I live, is definitely a sports town and I read the local paper, so have some exposure to what is happening. But, I don't watch them on TV, so, like livesoft, I mostly listen when others want to talk "major" sports.

It doesn't help that I am a cyclist. No one wants to hear about that, either.
The only sport I watch is tennis. I love the clay tournaments and am definitely following the Italian Open. Which surface do you like best? Who are your favorite players?

I like all the surfaces, but I know from personal experience that hard courts are very hard on the body. I wish the pros only had to play on clay and grass, because I think the hard courts cause them more injuries. Injuries stink, which I also know from personal experience.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by tim1999 »

I am a middle aged American man who, in violation of our nation's man laws, has absolutely zero interest in any professional sports whatsoever. lol

I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with people where they start spouting off about some sports thing and I just respond with a lot of "uhuh" "yeah" "that was great" type stuff until either they ask me an open-ended question where I have to awkwardly admit I don't follow sports, or I can change the subject.

I don't think I'd fake an interest in sports unless perhaps I were in some kind of sales job dealing directly with the public, in which case I'd probably just try to have a clue about what the nearest major team in each sport was doing. I. e., in car sales, customer is wearing a Phillies shirt, could strike up some small talk about that to break the ice and get them relaxed.

I would NEVER fake an interest in anything like sports for social, non-work reasons.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by bottlecap »

Not a sports hater, I just like to play sports rather than watch them. I tend to follow football, but do try to keep up with other sports to some extent because most people really aren't interesting enough to have a meaningful conversation with outside of sports or kids.

My office is a little different, so I think of this in more of a pure social context.

Even in social situations, you can't really talk economics, finance, politics or religion. Even if you could, most people don't actually think about those subjects, they just read the superficial headlines or popular books and adopt a position without true discernment.

So sports or kids it is. It's just the way of modern life. If I ever go somewhere where I meet someone with an original thought on one of the taboo topics, I latch on!

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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by coalcracker »

bottlecap wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:13 pm Not a sports hater, I just like to play sports rather than watch them. I tend to follow football, but do try to keep up with other sports to some extent because most people really aren't interesting enough to have a meaningful conversation with outside of sports or kids.

My office is a little different, so I think of this in more of a pure social context.

Even in social situations, you can't really talk economics, finance, politics or religion. Even if you could, most people don't actually think about those subjects, they just read the superficial headlines or popular books and adopt a position without true discernment.

So sports or kids it is. It's just the way of modern life. If I ever go somewhere where I meet someone with an original thought on one of the taboo topics, I latch on!

JT
Huh, many of the people I work with and my neighbors are not shy at all about talking finance, politics, or even religion. These are not all close friends, some acquaintances. Maybe it’s a geographic/cultural thing; people in my rust belt city don’t don’t mince words and run the gamut politically
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by tim1999 »

Normchad wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:42 pm
However, the future will be interesting. The millennials by and large don’t follow sports. Not only do they not follow them, they are complexity oblivious to their existence. Some can’t tell you the name of the local major league teams.

They also don’t really enjoy partake in other tradition business social things, such as golfing and happy hours.

A lot of them like rock climbing, escape rooms, board games, video games, etc.

I wonder what the future of business socialization will look like when they fully take over.
I agree with you.

In my father's day, it was extremely common for groups of co-workers to go out to happy hours at least one evening right after work, if not multiple evenings, weekly. Even married guys with kids. People would participate in after-work golf leagues, softball leagues, etc. that were sponsored by the company. I think this is all a thing of the past. A lot of the younger people I work with today turn down all social invitations from vendors or consultants like dinners, golf, etc. Not only because of company restrictions in recent years on accepting "complimentaries" from vendors over a certain value, but because they just don't see a value or have interest in it. Sort of upended the whole art of schmoozing in sales.

Based on the discussions I've had with my co-workers and knowledge of their lifestyles, I would highly doubt that any of the 200+ of them in the office pre-COVID really ever got together after work other than maybe once or twice per year for a retirement or birthday celebration. I know I like to keep work and home life separate and not hang out with the same people on my own time that I was just paid to spend all day with.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by HomerJ »

Raybo wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:50 pm It doesn't help that I am a cyclist. No one wants to hear about that, either.
I have a friend who has a Fantasy cycling team. And sometimes wants to tell me how he's doing in his Fantasy league.

:|
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

I think the best sports activities for me was going to the class A farm league games of the St Louis Cardinals games in St. Petersburg. A good friend and I would load up our kids and drive over from Tampa.

Free tickets were available at grocery stores, and frequently the game offered 25 cent hot dogs, and 25 cent beer nights. Parking was free. Pretty cheap entertainment, just when we were at our poorest.

I also enjoy spring training games as the Yankees spring train in Tampa. When the Boss was alive, he would bring all the Yankee greats to the first game of spring training. A DD and I usually went to the first game, and, even today I'll take in an occasional game between the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. I always root for NY as I go further back with NY than with our local team.

I am not a great fan of local sports today, as so many seasons of following different local sports just left one despising the too-often abysmal products put on the field. The absolute worse team by far was/is our Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Today the team is pinning their hopes on Tom Brady, though from the short time I watched Brady's first game he sure didn't look like a QB with so many SB rings.

Back when I was working, 20+ years ago, my interest was higher, but now, not so much. I do try to catch my alma mater's football games, but that is about it. Tomorrow they are playing Notre Dame, I fear it will not be a good day for my USF Bulls! Though, a few years ago the Bulls did beat them in South Bend.

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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

I don't care, and I'm generally not going to pretend to care. I used to get annoyed at how these pot-bellied middle-aged guys would go on and on about college football during lunch. Clearly living vicariously through the youth of today and attempting to relive their supposed glory days. Initially they would ask me "who my team had this weekend". I made it pretty clear at an early stage (hopefully in a courteous enough manner) that I didn't care about this stuff anymore, and felt I was emotionally better off for it. I used to follow it when I was an actual student at the university. I have little connection now.

I think it is amusing how some fans really take ownership of a team. Like they have anything to do with it. At least with college sports, it's possible to have a greater connection than, "Hey, I live near there!"
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Artful Dodger »

I'm not particularly into sports either, though enjoy going to the actual games. I've been lucky to have a business partner who knows baseball so well he can explain the subtleties, knows all the rules, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the players. It doesn't hurt he has had season tickets for years, and when post season play comes along always lets me know tickets can be had. For some reason, my wife, who has zero interest during the season, always comes up with Cardinals gear whenever there is a League Championship or World Series game. :P
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by davebo »

I used to love sports, but stopped following them post college. I think I actually would like it, but can't justify spending the necessary time it would take to follow them. I mean, you probably need to spend a few hours watching at least "your team" and then at least 1-2 to keep up with what's going on in the league. This is all assuming there is just one sport going on.

I also get a little annoyed that so much goes back to sports in regular conversation. In particular people I work with are ALWAYS talking about fantasy football. In fairness, I think it's a couple people where I think that's the only facet of their personality so everything just comes back to that.

You can just listen, but it's really obvious that you don't know anything about sports when the topic comes up. I can see how that would be a little alienating since it's such a big thing.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Doom&Gloom »

I didn't (and wouldn't) do it any more than I would attend a church or certain church to impress particular people.

Seems phony and superficial to me. Far better to make the effort to try to find common ground with others imho. More work but will likely be perceived as more genuine and much better received. But to each their own ...
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by adamthesmythe »

I've never hidden the fact that I find spectator sports pointless. But I was in the academic business where such an opinion wouldn't raise eyebrows.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by BogleFanGal »

I don't hate sports, but I dislike the thoughtless, often obnoxious way it takes over family holidays and gatherings. I think it's very disrespectful to family members who aren't interested. We gather with my husband's extended family for birthday dinners and holidays meals at various homes and they spend most of the time watching TV, talking about players and/or checking scores or other games on phones. They take 10 min to gather and eat the holiday meal and that's about it.

I could suggest turning off the game and they would, but I don't want to feel like the buzz kill or "Karen/Todd" of the group. I just deal because it's an occasional thing and I want to be a part of their family - but it does get annoying. They're really not bad people - just live and think day to day: never interested in discussing ideas or engaging in any meaningful conversation.
Last edited by BogleFanGal on Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by mak1277 »

There are no other societal institutions that can cross racial/ethnic/class barriers like sports can. It's a way for all people to unite for a common cause even when they have nothing else in common. Don't hate sports...love sports. Sports are effing great.
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BogleFanGal
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by BogleFanGal »

mak1277 wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:39 pm There are no other societal institutions that can cross racial/ethnic/class barriers like sports can. It's a way for all people to unite for a common cause even when they have nothing else in common. Don't hate sports...love sports. Sports are effing great.
People who were never good at sports, or who had painful childhoods because of the overemphasis on sports in this country would greatly disagree with you. Your view is true in many ways when it comes to bridging economic or social classes, but it's also one sided in other ways. I know several people whose eyes would be rolling big time at your description of sports as "effing great"
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by mak1277 »

BogleFanGal wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:40 pm
mak1277 wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:39 pm There are no other societal institutions that can cross racial/ethnic/class barriers like sports can. It's a way for all people to unite for a common cause even when they have nothing else in common. Don't hate sports...love sports. Sports are effing great.
People who were never good at sports, or who had painful childhoods because of the overemphasis on sports in this country would greatly disagree with you. Your view is true in many ways when it comes to bridging economic or social classes, but it's also one sided in other ways.
I don't doubt your point, but at the same time, some of the biggest sports fans I know were freakin' terrible at sports as kids.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by phxjcc »

JoeRetire wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:46 pm
coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:30 pm Wondering how many men (or women) out there are closet sports-haters but put up a good front at the office :D ?
I'm not a sports hater, but when I was working I made sure to keep up with the sports and the teams that interested employees who worked for me or who were coworkers and friends - even when they really didn't interest me.

That way, I could participate in conversations about topics they enjoyed. It wasn't all that hard to do, and seems like a good thing to do for friends and colleagues.
Same here.

Isn't this known as "life skills", or at the very least "job skills"?

Once had an job interview in a southern state with 2 mucky mucks that were huge SEC football fans, especially for their Alma Mater.

The "interview" lasted 2 hours instead of 30 min. 1:45 was debating the merits of SEC grind it out vs. PAC 10 run and gun.

"Fit" was a key performance criteria for their senior managers.

He knew, that I knew, that he cared about U of A football and that I had studied up.

Sometimes it is not e=mc^2 or printf("hello world") that are most important-- but the soft skills that matter.

Why do people not realize this?
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by iamlucky13 »

I don't hate, but I don't follow either. I don't pretend to enjoy following professional sports (I do enjoy playing recreationally), but I do pretend to be engaged when the conversation comes up.

Also, when invited, I do actually enjoy watching sports with friends. It's just not even remotely a priority for me on my own initiative.

Between playing recreationally, and what I pick up in conversation, I sometimes surprise myself how well I can keep up in some of these conversations. One time I interjected a bit of trivia about when Dan Marino was playing for the Dolphins that was relevant to the conversation at the time, and was so startled I actually trailed off, trying to figure out how I even knew what team he played for, much less anything specific about his career. During the time Wikipedia tells me he was active, I'm pretty sure my entire knowledge of football consisted (1) The Seahawks are the local team and will never win a superbowl (2) Joe Montana plays for the 49'ers and is the most important person in the country after the president (3) Nobody likes the Dallas Cowboys.

It's useful outside the office, as well. It's a common topic when getting my hair cut. Perhaps because the person doing the cutting just assumes most men want to talk about sports, but regardless, I've had to think fast a couple times to make sure it doesn't seem like I'm blowing off the conversation.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by 7eight9 »

Sheldon Cooper : I grew up in Texas. Football is ubiquitous in Texas. Pro football, college football, high school football, Pee-Wee football; in fact, every form of football except the original: European football, which most Texans believe to be a commie plot.
Leonard Hofstadter : Unbelievable.
Sheldon Cooper : If you're interested, I also know all about frying meat that isn't chicken as if it were chicken.
Leonard Hofstadter : So you could teach me?
Sheldon Cooper : Football or chicken fried meats?
Leonard Hofstadter : Football! I'm going to Penny's on Saturday to watch a game with her friends, and I don't want to look like an idiot. I want to blend in.
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I'm not a Chicago Bears fan. When my boss was I followed them religiously because that was going to be THE topic of conversation on Monday mornings. And at lunch. And around the water cooler. Etc.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by AerialWombat »

.....
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coalcracker
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by coalcracker »

OP here.

It will be fun to see where casual/business conversations go with the purported interests of Millenials and Gen Z. I'm at the trail end of Gen X I think (age 41), and most guys my age seem to default to sports when the conversations lags. Seems like we're in for a lot of awkward silences over the next few decades.

I can actually hold my own in most conversations about sports. It helps that I played most of the major sports for at least a season over the course of the my life.

I can't imagine what it's like trying to follow the conversation when one doesn't even know the RULES of the game. I think of myself trying to comprehend cricket or Australian rules football.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Raybo »

stuper1 wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:08 pm
Raybo wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:50 pm It isn't any better when your interest is in sports others don't follow. My favorite sport to watch is tennis. I know maybe 2 people who have a similar interest but we don't talk often. Anyone following the Italian Open?

SF, where I live, is definitely a sports town and I read the local paper, so have some exposure to what is happening. But, I don't watch them on TV, so, like livesoft, I mostly listen when others want to talk "major" sports.

It doesn't help that I am a cyclist. No one wants to hear about that, either.
The only sport I watch is tennis. I love the clay tournaments and am definitely following the Italian Open. Which surface do you like best? Who are your favorite players?

I like all the surfaces, but I know from personal experience that hard courts are very hard on the body. I wish the pros only had to play on clay and grass, because I think the hard courts cause them more injuries. Injuries stink, which I also know from personal experience.
Who doesn’t want Federer to win even more Slams? I like Rafa and was amazed in last year’s US Open when he and Medvedev played unbelievably. Djokovic is impressive but not someone I root for. Murray is a great story and it looks like Thiem might breakthrough (kinda like Lendl did once he started winning). Will Rafa win yet another French Open?
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by JoeRetire »

phxjcc wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:43 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:46 pm
coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:30 pm Wondering how many men (or women) out there are closet sports-haters but put up a good front at the office :D ?
I'm not a sports hater, but when I was working I made sure to keep up with the sports and the teams that interested employees who worked for me or who were coworkers and friends - even when they really didn't interest me.

That way, I could participate in conversations about topics they enjoyed. It wasn't all that hard to do, and seems like a good thing to do for friends and colleagues.
Same here.

Isn't this known as "life skills", or at the very least "job skills"?

Once had an job interview in a southern state with 2 mucky mucks that were huge SEC football fans, especially for their Alma Mater.

The "interview" lasted 2 hours instead of 30 min. 1:45 was debating the merits of SEC grind it out vs. PAC 10 run and gun.

"Fit" was a key performance criteria for their senior managers.

He knew, that I knew, that he cared about U of A football and that I had studied up.

Sometimes it is not e=mc^2 or printf("hello world") that are most important-- but the soft skills that matter.

Why do people not realize this?
Soft skills can be difficult for some.
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coalcracker
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by coalcracker »

phxjcc wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:43 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:46 pm
coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:30 pm Wondering how many men (or women) out there are closet sports-haters but put up a good front at the office :D ?
I'm not a sports hater, but when I was working I made sure to keep up with the sports and the teams that interested employees who worked for me or who were coworkers and friends - even when they really didn't interest me.

That way, I could participate in conversations about topics they enjoyed. It wasn't all that hard to do, and seems like a good thing to do for friends and colleagues.
Same here.

Isn't this known as "life skills", or at the very least "job skills"?

Once had an job interview in a southern state with 2 mucky mucks that were huge SEC football fans, especially for their Alma Mater.

The "interview" lasted 2 hours instead of 30 min. 1:45 was debating the merits of SEC grind it out vs. PAC 10 run and gun.

"Fit" was a key performance criteria for their senior managers.

He knew, that I knew, that he cared about U of A football and that I had studied up.

Sometimes it is not e=mc^2 or printf("hello world") that are most important-- but the soft skills that matter.

Why do people not realize this?
This sounds like a nightmare I once had. Soft skills matter but not everyone has them, and not everyone needs them. I consider myself to have below average soft skills/EQ and do quite well as a subspecialty physician.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by JoeRetire »

coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:59 pmIt will be fun to see where casual/business conversations go with the purported interests of Millenials and Gen Z. I'm at the trail end of Gen X I think (age 41), and most guys my age seem to default to sports when the conversations lags. Seems like we're in for a lot of awkward silences over the next few decades.
Clearly "Millenial" and "Gen X" are just labels and not everyone conforms to the stereotypes. You have to go with the flow of the individuals you interact with. Some will be sports fans, some will enjoy talking about politics, some will want to talk about travel, etc, etc.
I can't imagine what it's like trying to follow the conversation when one doesn't even know the RULES of the game. I think of myself trying to comprehend cricket or Australian rules football.
Showing an interest and asking about the rules can keep a conversation going.

I first heard about Pickleball through some colleagues at work. It sounded like fun, and I asked a lot of questions. Now, I play pretty much every day.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by JoeRetire »

coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:10 pmSoft skills matter but not everyone has them, and not everyone needs them.
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about everyone needing them.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by beachairs »

I work for a global company where many employees are not from US (at my site in CA). It leads to much more interesting conversations about sports where they are from and introducing them to US/local teams. No need to pretend one way or the other. It probably helps that managers are also not from US and don't care either. Unless the World Cup or Olympics is happening :beer
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Marylander1 »

There was a episode on the IT Crowd about this topic; here's the key scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yN2H3--1aw
Or if you want more of the episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msN7HNncHik

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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Nestegg_User »

Raybo wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:50 pm It isn't any better when your interest is in sports others don't follow. My favorite sport to watch is tennis. I know maybe 2 people who have a similar interest but we don't talk often. Anyone following the Italian Open?

SF, where I live, is definitely a sports town and I read the local paper, so have some exposure to what is happening. But, I don't watch them on TV, so, like livesoft, I mostly listen when others want to talk "major" sports.

It doesn't help that I am a cyclist. No one wants to hear about that, either.

{I suspect that virtually no one would know what I was talking about when I say that I've got a cycling shirt signed by "the Animal" (Eddy Merckx), when he was at one of the Coors Classics}

OP,
If you really wanted to confuse people, start learning about persons in (rather) unique sports like jai lai, cricket, etc.
When they then say that they only consider "american" sports, then bring up, say, volleyball. When they say that they don't consider it a "real" sport.... remind them that Wilt Chamberlain played it in competition ... and ask them if they think he's an athlete!!

You might then find that the conversations stop coming your way...!

[disclaimer: I used to ride, although not competitively, as I certainly wasn't anywhere near fast enough... doing "centuries" (and training rides of 5 1/2 - 5 3/4 hrs) and did compete at lower level (B+\A) in VB...and watched the "Cuervo" in both San Diego and Boulder, back in the day, and watched the "Classic" in CO, especially when it also had the Olympic riders]
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Nummerkins »

I just say I don't follow sports if it comes up. Sometimes it shuts down a conversation hard but I really don't care. I'm not going to waste time on something I don't like.

I used to work somewhere where the Monday morning meeting was all sports talk and nothing to do with the week ahead.. I hated every second of it and eventually just stopped showing up.

That being said, I would occasionally use season tickets from that job to catch a hockey or baseball game. Sitting
there with a beer ans enjoying the game is super relaxing to me but my interest ends when that game does.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by Raymond »

coalcracker wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:42 pm True, but there is something unique about sports conversation, particularly if you live in a “sports” town (which I do.) It surprises me how much the conversation drift towards sports when a group of guys get together, no matter what the setting and topic of conversation.
Applying the Pareto principle, it's likely that 20% of the guys are actually interested in spectator sports, and the other 80% just learn enough to socially fit in.

I'm one of the 80-percenters :happy
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by epictetus »

I was hoping someone would mention the IT crowd episode. That is the first thing that came to my mind when I read the OP.

The episode was hilarious and illustrated the down-side of pretending to have interest in something you don't.
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by GreenLawn »

BogleFanGal wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:34 pm I don't hate sports, but I dislike the thoughtless, often obnoxious way it takes over family holidays and gatherings. I think it's very disrespectful to family members who aren't interested. We gather with my husband's extended family for birthday dinners and holidays meals at various homes and they spend most of the time watching TV, talking about players and/or checking scores or other games on phones. They take 10 min to gather and eat the holiday meal and that's about it.

I could suggest turning off the game and they would, but I don't want to feel like the buzz kill or "Karen/Todd" of the group. I just deal because it's an occasional thing and I want to be a part of their family - but it does get annoying. They're really not bad people - just live and think day to day: never interested in discussing ideas or engaging in any meaningful conversation.
Back when I didn't care about sports and I attended singles parties, the men would be in the living room watching sports and the women would be in the kitchen chatting. I found the kitchen conversations and company a lot more interesting 8-)
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Re: Pretending to enjoy sports for business/social reasons

Post by hfj »

Raybo wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:50 pm It isn't any better when your interest is in sports others don't follow. My favorite sport to watch is tennis. I know maybe 2 people who have a similar interest but we don't talk often. Anyone following the Italian Open?

SF, where I live, is definitely a sports town and I read the local paper, so have some exposure to what is happening. But, I don't watch them on TV, so, like livesoft, I mostly listen when others want to talk "major" sports.

It doesn't help that I am a cyclist. No one wants to hear about that, either.
I'm a little south of SF, and there's been plenty of times where I'll be talking to someone and discover we're both roadies, and then spend the next hour talking about our favorite area rides, nastiest climbs, and best views. This has happened at work parties, school-related social events, lunches with work colleagues, gatherings with vendors, etc. Incidentally, my answers are Tunitas Creek, Bohlman-On Orbit, and Hawks Hill respectively.

But I've found that it's often good to talk outside hobbies/interests/travels/whatever, sports and otherwise. Usually I can pick up from context or have enough familiarity to follow the conversation, and if they are somewhat passionate about it, even better. I prefer it to more difficult forced conversations with awkward silences.
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