A Simple Trick for Enduring Football Season

Boys playing football.
Photo: Erik Isakson/Getty Images

Football season is upon us — that cherished time of year when buffalo chicken and dip consumption skyrockets, college kids partake in the glorious yet debauched tradition of “tailgating,” and men start verbally assaulting referees through the TV screen, yelling things like, “That was a fucking penalty” and “Interference!!!!!!!” And then there are the actual games, which are remarkably slow and often anticlimactic, and as a result, can feel interminable.

But as it turns out, there’s a way to watch any football game and not feel as if you’ve been subjected to three-plus hours of psychological torture. You just have to go into a game-watching experience with the same approach as comedian Jenny Slate, who shared her trick for not only enduring, but enjoying a football game in her new Netflix special, Stage Fright.

“I love football because I don’t like to watch it at all,” she says, “but I love to imagine things about it.”

Here’s what you have to do: See all those burly players on the field? Slate recommends you see them not as professional athletes, but instead as “men [who] have decided to be on a team, of course, because they’re best friends.” (We recommend taking it one step further: Imagine them as gentle little boys.) So much better already, right? It doesn’t end there:

And they love to be best friends, and that’s why they wear the same outfit. And get together on a strict schedule and put on the same outfit and go rush after the toy. Oh my goodness, how darling.

Indeed! And when the players go to the locker room, it gets even more precious:

I like to imagine them in their locker room where they keep their underclothes, and they’re standing in there, and it’s like, Tom Brady, and he’s standing there next to Gronk, and they’re holding hands because they’re super nervous. So nervous about their game. And then Tom looks at Gronk, and he’s like, “Gronk, if I get the toy, I’ll give it to you.” And then Gronk looks at him, and he’s like, “You’re my best friend, Tom. Good luck today.” 

The best thing about this trick — imagining a group of men as little boys — is that once you master it, you can apply it any time you’re presented with a trying situation: while watching your partner’s intramural softball team, or even in a predominantly male meeting.

A Simple Trick for Enduring Football Season