Posted on: October 8th, 2010 by Jen Mueller

Most of my weekends are spent traveling the Northwest and various parts of the country to cover sporting events.  But not this weekend.  This weekend I’m taking a couple days off, wine tasting and relaxing.  That means no sporting events and limited time in front of a computer or TV.  While I’m looking forward to unplugging for a couple days, it doesn’t absolve me from knowing what happens in the next few days.  When I get back to the office, I need to be up to speed. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem.  Few of us have time to drop everything we’re doing on a weekend, or a day off, to watch hours of sporting events just so we can talk knowledgeably about it the next time we’re around a sports fan.  Everyone is busy and trying to balance work and home life.  Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri is a perfect example.  I don’t know how he does it with all the shows, travel and shooting schedules, but I do know how he keeps track of his favorite sports teams and NASCAR drivers. 

“A lot of diehard fans will come up to me and ask how’s your driver doing in NASCAR? How’s your team doing?  And I’m like “I’ve got to be honest with you I have to watch 3 [Oakland] Raider games when I get home because I have them all Tivo-ed  because I was shooting during Sundays so I don’t get a chance to stay on top of it .  I don’t expect to be the manager of it all.  I understand the ins and outs and the ups and downs and try to stay as current as I can, try to watch ESPN as often as I can. Usually ESPN is what I watch right before I go to bed to get some update.  The updates don’t make a lot of difference to me, because I don’t follow baseball.   I mean I do, but there are so many teams and so many players.   I watch, sit there and pay attention, pick up a little bit here and there. I think when you’re truly a fan you can jump into it at any time like you haven’t been away for a lifetime.”

Guy offers several pieces of practical advice here.

  1. Be honest – if you don’t have time to watch a game don’t sweat it, just don’t lie about it either.  If someone asks what you thought of the game or did you watch the game try this response “No I didn’t get a chance to watch it because I was so busy this weekend, did you get a chance to see it?”  You’re opening a door to converse and being honest all at the same time.
  2. Spend a few minutes in front of the TV – Watching ESPN for just 5 minutes can be beneficial if you’re trying to stay up to date on current sports news and headlines.  And like Guy said, he doesn’t always pay close attention to the story that’s being covered.  Name recognition is just as beneficial.  Here’s how it might work with the baseball playoffs this weekend.  A co-worker asks you what you think of the Cliff Lee and the Rangers so far.  You can say “You know I haven’t had much time to watch, but I was watching SportsCenter this weekend and they were all over Texas.”  Again, you’re opening yourself up to a conversation and you’re being honest.
  3. Let others help you out – In the previous two examples, you’re showing a willingness to have a conversation about a particular event or team or sport and at the same time acknowledging that you need help filling in the details.  Most sports fans will use that opening to tell you everything they saw in the game. 
  4. Don’t expect too much from yourself.  Guy’s comment “I don’t expect to be the manager of it all” sums it up pretty well.  You have a lot going on don’t get frustrated if you miss a game or feel completely lost.  It’s bound to happen.  Notice Guy’s last comment, “I think when you’re truly a fan you can jump into it at any time like you haven’t been away for a lifetime.”  

Guy makes some great points and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out they are some of the exact same techniques I teach in Talk Sporty to Me.  Send me an email if you’d like to schedule an event or have a sports conversation success story to share.

I’d like to thank Guy for helping to that and for being so gracious with his time.  He is incredibly gracious and humble.  Keep track of him through his website