I didn’t grow up in a sports watching household. I didn’t get to experience the game day thrills, the barbeque and football evenings, nor did I see any of the greatest matches during the early 2000’s. Truthfully, I didn’t know what I was missing, but I also didn’t understand them. I wish someone had shown me simple things I could notice in order to enjoy watching them in the stadium. So, that’s what this article’s for. Certainly, sports are complicated, thrilling, strategic, and empowering. But, they can also be uninteresting if you don’t know what to look for. So, i’ve thought of some basic ways to see the beauty of sports and have fun while at a game even if you haven’t been following the scoreboards.
A beginners guide to watching sports and enjoying it
Where is the hype in sports?
Look, I get it. On the outside, sports can look like people running around in jerseys and chasing a ball. But, actually, it’s a bit more than that. In fact, I found this out at a later age in college, when I went to a basketball game spontaneously with a friend. This experience made me notice a few things I could definitely get excited about:
When I walked into my first basketball game, I was greeted by a big arena that had multiple entrances. After racing up lots of stairs to get to our seats… the music began. Now, I have been in musicals. I have been to concerts. But game music… it’s a whole different category. The speakers blare, the bass is strategically dropped at the perfect moment just to get you hype enough if someone scores. The music just amps the entire experience up. Not to mention the mascots running across the court, the flames that sometimes shoot out, and the confetti! Just a sensory overload!
So, the atmosphere appropriately hyped me up. But I remember thinking when I sat down, who the heck is playing? I hadn’t done too much research about the teams I was going to go see. I knew of them, but nothing about their players, their history, their talent, or even their general scores in the past. For some reason I thought this would be a problem, like everyone would know I would be a fake fan on the one team I was rooting for, when in fact I had no information as to why I would rank them above the other team. But that’s not how sports have to operate. You just support your team, really any team you want. No one will know if you’ve been that team’s fan for 10 years or ten minutes before the game… just cheer. I was baffled by my partner’s willingness just to claim a team and then contemplate buying merch to support them. My first thought was: it’s too soon. We don’t know enough about them, and it’s such a commitment to now be a fan forever. But it’s actually not, your commitment can run as deep as you want it to. There doesn’t have to be a reason why you chose that team (although there certainly can be if you have one). It’s really just more focused on having someone to root for and support. I think that’s actually a good life lesson. You need to have things to get excited about in your life. You need to have teams to cheer for. People to support, and events that just get you wildly excited.
Who you go with to the game:
The crowd in the arena may be full, but the few people you can talk to and trust have your back as you cheer rambunctiously. You’ll get to hear a side of them of this friend you’d never expected as they yell and shout in happiness and sometimes disappointment at the players. It’ll probably make you laugh, but then you’ll realize that you do it too. The people around you help make the game feel safe and fun as you sit and make witty comments or suggestions on the players’ performance. So, share a snack with this person, yell in their ear, and most importantly high five them when touchdowns, goals, or baskets are scored.
It took me a while to get out of that slightly high school view that I just “wasn’t a sports person”. But after looking at the crowd during sports games, I realized: “what even is a sports person?!” It could be anyone! You don’t have to play the sport, or even any sport to BE a sports person. You don’t have to understand ALL the rules of the game. You just have to be enjoying yourself. When you look at the crowd in a stadium, you’ll see all different types of people (various ages, jobs, and backgrounds). And the magical part about that? They are all huddled in one arena! I’m kinda a theater kid, and one thing remember loving about theater was that anyone could be in the audience. Similarly, anyone can be in an arena! And the best part? These fans are all cheering, yelling, and laughing together to enjoy the spectacle of the game. How rare is that?
Final thoughts: Don’t Overthink it, enjoy it!
Sports are a team building exercise not just for the players, but also for the fans. It’s a beautiful spectacle that can help teach a lot of people valuable lessons and just be a fun time. I know there are so many more levels to enjoying sports. In fact, this is just the very basics. You could also be someone who enjoys the rankings within sports, the strategy of the game, the players, the merchandise, or the business within the sports industry itself. But understand you don’t NEED to know all those things to be a fan. I guarantee, if you just pay attention to the simple details of a game, even an average joe like me, can enjoy an awesome sports game.