Whether you like sports or not, our lives, especially here in Boston, revolve around them. I know this from personal experience, as I spent part of my professional life working for IRONMAN and later the Kraft Sports Group and New England Patriots in roles that allowed me to combine my people skills with my lifelong passion for sports. Now, as a matchmaker at Three Day Rule, I can tell you that even our love lives here are greatly influenced and affected by sports.
Think of all the sports themed love stories over the past 20 years — from Jerry Maguire to Happy Gilmore to Boston’s very own sports rom-com Fever Pitch. The truth is, being passionate about your favorite team actually brings out great qualities that will help you find love.
So what do sports have to do with you and what lessons can you learn to improve your own relationships?
For starters, if you watch, play or have even heard of sports, you understand that the only way for a team to win is to work together – for everyone to play their position, excel in their role and share their expertise with their teammates. It’s also pretty obvious that to be an athlete requires hard work, dedication, time and effort. They are constantly working to be better individuals for the good of the team. Building and maintaining a relationship is really no different – it requires the same hard work, commitment, time and effort. It requires the same vigilance and willingness to improve yourself for the good of your relationship. So whether you’re single, dating, or in a relationship, now is a great time to start taking your cues from the sports world!
- Sports can teach you to find the fun in any situation: It’s an excruciating experience being bored to tears surrounded by thousands of screaming, excited fans including someone you really like. You feel like you can’t relate and have no idea how you’re going to spend the next two to four hours. You might think now’s a good time to sink into social media or file your nails a la JLo at the Red Sox ALCS game in 2003. Just because you’re not a fan doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Start by picking up a program and see who’s on the teams that are playing. If you have questions, it doesn’t matter how remedial they are, ask! Your date will be charmed that you’re curious and by learning about the game you’re watching, you’re more likely to begin enjoying it. Games are also jam packed with entertainment so take advantage of the fun surrounding you! Enjoy yourself – stand up and dance, sing along to Sweet Caroline during the 8th inning stretch, or join in on the wave!
- Sports inspire commitment: Professional athletes (except perhaps bowlers) are at their peak physical condition. Think about it: these are people who have such tremendously rare and extraordinary talent that the other 99.9% of the world just gets to watch them. Athletes do not reach that level by coincidence. They commit over and over again, each and every day, to improving their talents and skills. They don’t quit when it gets hard; they keep pushing and keep fighting for what they love and want. In a relationship, it’s not always easy. Much like a professional athlete improving his or her skill set, it takes effort and commitment to make a relationship grow.
- Sports can create a bond and incite passion with your partner: Not only can sports bring two people together because of a shared interest, but they can also spark sexual chemistry. Even if you and your significant other like opposing teams, expressing your passion during the game can lead to increased passion in the bedroom. If you’re not a sports fan and your partner is, you have a great opportunity to learn from them and express interests in the things they enjoy, which will ultimately lead to a deeper connection.
- Playing or watching a sport can be a great way to get to know each other: You really see someone’s true colors when he/she is watching his/her favorite team take the field. It’s the perfect time for you to witness the full scope of your partner’s emotions. When his/her team is winning, it will bring out their best side – their happiness, enthusiasm and excitement. If it’s a close, tense game, their passion and outlook on life (are they optimistic or pessimistic) will be on full display. If his/her team loses, you’ll have a front row seat to how your partner handles anger, adversity and negative situations and experience their level of devotion (do they give up on their team or stick with them?).
- Sports can teach you to compromise and work together in a relationship: When you’re part of a sports team, you make sacrifices. You may not always be up to bat first, sometimes you may sit on the bench when you don’t want to, but you recognize that the decision was made for the good of the team. In a relationship, the same rules apply. You can’t always be the focus; it won’t always be about what you want. There will be things that your partner will ask of you that you don’t necessarily want to do, like the dishes, but you’ll do them for the good of your relationship. You’ll compromise with your partner to accomplish your goals as a team.
- You will learn and grow from your losses: Hard as you may try, you can’t always win. Sometimes you will lose but the important thing is that you learn from it. The first practice immediately following a loss can be tough It’s not easy to break down each and every move of the previous game, talking about what went wrong in order to improve for the next game. When someone who has been around sports encounters adversity, they fall back on this method. They analyze the situation and evaluate what changes can be made to improve in the future. They are competitive and never want to feel that way again so will do everything they can do prevent another loss. So when you and your partner get into a fight, treat it as if you just lost a game. Take a good look at what went wrong and discuss it with your partner. Talk about what you both need to work on to prevent a similar situation in the future.
- Sports can help you be emotionally and physically strong for your partner: For a lot of guys (and some girls), sports can be a pathway to intense emotional experiences that they rarely reach in real life. To an outsider, this may seem unsettling, however there are ways to appreciate this and capitalize on your understanding of this odd phenomenon. First off, if a guy maintains a steady head in life and love, but goes off his rocker when watching some guys toss a ball around, recognize that it’s better than the other way around. Guys need to get their juices flowing – it’s evolutionary – and since we’re not fighting rival groups of cavemen or bears anymore, sports are good release. Additionally, showing your understanding is a good way to connect and show that you’d be a solid life partner. As devoted to sports as many guys are, they may feel sheepish about their over the top reactions around you. If you show that you understand his pain/joy/whatever, (even if deep down you think it’s silly) they will appreciate it.