COLUMN: Confessions of a nonsports fan

Friday, February 11, 2011 | 11:26 a.m. CST; updated 3:45 p.m. CST, Sunday, February 13, 2011

COLUMBIA — I didn’t watch the Super Bowl.

Instead, I stayed in my bed and watched season two of “Arrested Development” in my pajamas, flipped through the glossy pages of Harper’s Bazaar and anxiously awaited the post-Super Bowl return of “Glee.”

I’m usually enticed into a Super Bowl party by the promise of ice-cold beverages and a good platter of buffalo chicken dip. This year, however, I chose to blame the cold I acquired from gallivanting all over East Campus and downtown during Snowmaggedon 2K11 for my anti-social Super Bowl. But in reality — brace yourself — I just don’t care.

I know I’m not the only one to utter these words about the biggest sporting event of the year. However, many follow it up with some sort of attempt to involve themselves in the game. “I don’t care who wins, but a win for the Steelers would make this the second year in a row a Mizzou player would get a Super Bowl ring.” Or, “I don’t care about the game, I just love the commercials.” (For the record, I did extensive YouTubing on Sunday night.) Even an “I don’t care who wins, I just love football” suffices as a socially acceptable approach to the game.

Well, I don’t love football.

This small fact has left me posing for the majority of my college career. The football games I’ve attended have been spent people watching, cheering when everyone else cheers, hoping someone will start the wave and waiting for the game to end and tailgating to resume. I finally accepted that I don’t like football my senior year, spared my parents the money for tickets and spent more time at Harpo’s than Faurot. I have no qualms with this.

Even before college, high school football was the social event to end all social events at my alma mater, so of course I took part. Looking back, was standing on metal bleachers for three hours in the freezing cold while I watched 18-year-olds run into each other how I really wanted to spend my Friday nights? Probably not.

Despite my lack of interest in high school and college football, I’m still eager to attend a sporting event any time I’m invited or offered tickets, and I think that’s because it’s sort of exhilarating. In Columbia, if I don’t go to the game, I still get the excitement and social experience because being downtown is just as fun as being in the stands.

In a smaller college town, the fun atmosphere and sense of community that is created by a sporting event is completely different from that of a big city for a professional event. In St. Louis, I won’t hear my neighbors cheering on their team from the TV they’ve set up on the porch so they can simultaneously watch the game and play washers. I also won’t find fans who aren’t attending the game trolling the streets of my suburban neighborhood, full of spirit and team pride. In fact, if the Rams are playing and I’m not physically at the stadium, the most excitement I’ll get out of the game will come from watching it on TV.

This leads me to the confession that I have never willingly watched a sporting event on television (aside from the Olympics). I’ve watched hundreds in my lifetime, but never because I was the one to change the channel to Fox Sports Midwest or ESPN. The men in my life have taken the liberty of being huge fans of sports such as hockey, golf, baseball and, of course, football. I catch up on a lot of reading when surrounded by males in front of the TV. (Thanks, Dad.)

It’s not that I have a problem with football. I’m simply jealous of the fact that America is in one huge fan club that I’m not a member of. But, I’m sure I’ll continue to try my best. If my dream of living in New York City is ever fulfilled, a cheer for the Jets or Giants is sure to erupt from me, just as it has for the Tigers or Rams.

In the meantime, I’ll stick to my books, fashion and music magazines and online shopping while guy after guy turns on the big game. I’ve learned to tune it out after all, and when else am I going to get to that issue of Vogue?

Amanda Koellner is a senior in the magazine sequence at the Missouri School of Journalism. She is a columnist and community conversationalist for The Missourian and a music department editor for Vox.

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Arnie Hill February 13, 2011 | 11:28 p.m.

Amanda, I love football and I'm elated that you recognize that you don't care! Stadiums (and bars) are filled with people who either don't know that they don't care, or don't care that they don't know. It makes the experience better for football fanatics like myself when we are not subjected to the silly comments of clueless "fans" during a "big" game. Nonfans should not take it personal. I am absolutely sure I would be making silly comments if I somehow showed up at a fashion show

And really, if 111 million people watched the Super Bowl, then 5.9 billion others on the planet did not watch it. Sounds like you were in the majority.

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