Salisbury Press

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Respectfully Yours: arguing football

Thursday, September 20, 2018 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

Our house gets much harder to live in when the pro-football season rolls around. Between our children, my spouse, and me, there are die-hard fans of at least three different teams. It’s hard enough watching a game on TV when it’s my favorite and “just some other team,” but when it’s my team playing one of their teams, it gets loud and occasionally heated. How can we all get through the season without a referee in the family room?

Dear Reader,

As you very well know, true sports fans share their emotions with hoots and hollers. When sport enthusiasts live under one roof, their devotion becomes front and center, especially when two loved teams play each other.

There are highly-charged emotional investments that might warrant a referee. But, have no fear, this can all work out. These next four months don’t have to be a tense yelling match.

I’m sure you encounter issues and butt heads on other topics throughout the year and survive. Movies, restaurant choices, and television shows require compromises.

You can apply the same method you use to handle daily conflicts here. Sports team loyalties require the same give and take. You mentioned your family identifies with three different teams.

To avoid conflict, I have some suggestions.

There’s an old saying, “Music has charms to soothe the savage breast “ (William Congreve, “The Mourning Bride,” 1697). In this case, munchies should help. Have everyone’s favorite football food on hand.

Have fun with football day. Create a football food buffet. Incorporate everyone’s team colors into the buffet. Keep it fun. Emotions are contagious. If you keep your own mood light, others will follow.

When you simply cannot put on your game face, your alternative is to go to a different room, or stay away until the game is over. Taking turns watching the game with friends away from home is also an option.

Be respectful, and do not ridicule other teams. This is the perfect opportunity for an exercise in civility. Set an example for your children and teach them how to agree to disagree. The next time you suspect a conflict might occur, be prepared with your game plan ahead of time.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2018 Jacquelyn Youst