That’s what she said…about watching sports on television is committed to encouraging communication across gender lines. To wit, we’ll occasionally bring perspectives from female writers in a feature we (and Michael Scott) like to call “That’s What She Said.”

It’s a Thursday night. On one television channel, Georgia Tech and Clemson are playing football. On another, Ne-Ne and Kim are fighting over who’s more dishonest (aw, snap!).

Across the country, men and women sharing televisions face these elements of a classic conflict. All too often, channel disputes lead to fights, which lead to separate TVs, which lead to separate bedrooms.

We don’t have to live this way. Here are 11 suggestions to keep your lady and your linebackers in harmony:

  1. Give her a few days’ or a week’s warning about a big game coming up. When you tell her you’ll be spending a good part of Saturday watching the big game, word it like this: “There are a few games I really want to watch this weekend, but I also want to spend time with you. Would you mind watching some with me?”
  2. Use the commercial break system: If it’s a game where you don’t feel the need to watch the whole thing, then compromise with her to switch back and forth between commercial breaks. This means, she gets to pick a show, but you get the remote the moment a commercial comes on. Don’t linger too long and make her miss her show, though.
  3. Expose her to a great live sporting experience. Take her to see your favorite team, buy her a foam finger, tailgate, make it so much fun she becomes a fan, too.
  4. Take time to explain the game. This is simple, but a lot of men don’t realize that many women don’t know the rules to the game. Football just looks like a bunch of guys in tights running after a ball. Explain the rules, and don’t be condescending or too technical.
  5. Share good stories. Gossip about the players. Women like personal details. Women love to know the player’s story. For example, my boyfriend told me a story about an NBA player who was addicted to heroin and returned to the league. Now, I’m interested! Also, if the woman in your life is into celebrity gossip, connect celebs with the players they date.
  6. Don’t scream at the screen. Her father did this and it brings back bad memories. Don’t do it.
  7. Don’t talk to her about sports too much outside of watching them. She’ll be sick of it.
  8. Build fun social events around watching. If you have a couple you’re both friends with, invite them over. She’ll be happy for the conversation.
  9. Explain to her why you love the game. Did you play high school ball? How did it feel? Why is it important to you? If you create an emotional connection to the game, she’ll be more inclined to understand your need to watch.
  10. Every time she watches with you, brag about her to your friends in front of her. Positive reinforcement.
  11. Be prepared to trade. Two hours of football watching equals two hours of her favorite reality show, a romantic comedy, or really whatever she wants (wink).

Megan Roberts is an East Carolina University fan and an MFA candidate at N.C. State University. See her work at

One Response to That’s what she said…about watching sports on television

  1. […] My partner in crime is in Greenville today watching a vastly inferior game (Central Florida at East Carolina) with vastly superior company (his girlfriend, Megan, who’s doing her part to promote football harmony between the sexes). […]

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