Between the NBA Finals and the World Cup, the next few weeks are destined to be all about sports, sports and more sports. But before we head to the sports bar and plop ourselves down in front of the nearest big-screen TV, it might be handy to do a quick refresher on our sports etiquette. God forbid we get any red cards for our bad behavior!
Know Your Crowd. If you’re going to watch the game in a public setting, opt for a place that caters to supporters of your team. For instance, if you’re rooting for France, don’t go to a Mexican bar and get in people’s faces. Sure, they might crack a few jokes and offer you a beer, but they also might take offense. Most big cities have bars or restaurants that cater to each team, so do some research and find one that’s right for you.
Watch Your Language. Nobody expects you to speak like Dame Judi Dench while you cheer your team on, but that doesn’t give you a free pass to spew expletives whenever your team misses a shot. Avoid name-calling as keep an eye out for kids who might be within earshot of your R-rated talk.
Be a Good Guest. Whether you’re watching the game at a friend’s house or at a sports bar, do your part to show your appreciation. For the former situation, you can offer to bring snacks or beverages, and you be sure to help out and clean up afterwards. If you’re at a bar, tip your server generously and get a few rounds in—it’s a great way to make friends. Just remember to have a designated driver on call!
Don’t Get Distracted at Work. During the last World Cup, a friend of mine worked with a guy who was such a rabid soccer fan that he took two-hour-long lunches to watch the midday matches and even watched streaming footage from his work computer. Needless to say, the boss was not happy. Cue the DVR up so you can watch the matches when you’re not on company time.
Be a Good Sport. Win or lose, how you react says a lot about your character. Don’t rub a win in the loser’s face, and don’t spend the rest of the evening moaning about unfair calls. Take a cue from the World Cup players—I’ve noticed several players help their opponents up and hug each other post-game. If they can get past it, surely you can?