If you work in an office, one of the main sources of conversation is sports. Mainly because it is a relatively benign oasis of topics you can broach with people who aren’t really friends. It’s also one of the few topics that remains in our internet, on-demand entertainment world. Talking television immediately sends someone from the group screaming about spoilers, You can’t exactly swap favorite porn sites next to the HR department. What else is there? You definitely don’t want to talk to Blake in Sales about his views on gender politics.
So, if you don’t want to be the ostracized loner who develops the reputation for hiding in your cubicle, it may become necessary to engage in talk of sport. “But what about people who don’t watch sports, who don’t want to support ‘roided up meatheads, owned and traded by billionaires then cast aside once their bodies, ravaged by inherently unsafe business practices, begin to slightly diminish, all while hyper-sexualized women paid less than minimum wage are asked to dance provocatively and pretend they enjoy it with their plastic smiles and eating disorders?” That’s the beauty of sports, they are filled with enough cliches and inspire enough passion and arrogance in ignorance that you don’t have to know anything to have a conversation about sports.
Much like a person high on magic mushrooms explaining the secret to world peace, all you have to do is be vague. You can even initiate the conversation: “Hey, did you see the game last night? I couldn’t believe it.” Your coworker, if he/she is like most people I’ve met, he/she will be excited to hear him/herself pontificate. You get to sit back, pour your coffee, nod at odd intervals, throw in the occasional, effusive, “I KNOW,” and congratulations, you’ve just had a human interaction.
If you’re desperate to not return to your desk to work, you can get even deeper. “Those refs, I mean, there were some real questionable calls.” Again, you’ve just, in sporting terms, threw the ball to your coworker to complete the thought or fill in the details. Or maybe someone says something about a questionable call and throws that ball at you. The standard cliched response I have heard all of my life is as follows: “Yeah, but they shouldn’t have even been in the position to allow the refs to affect the outcome.”
Other common, vague questions you can keep chambered: “What do you think happens in the offseason?” “I could not stand those announcers.” “What is with the decision making?” “The fans of that team are unbearable.” “There’s a total East Coast bias.” Or, one of my favorites, “There hasn’t been a good name for a new team in 20+ years. They used to name teams after thing specific to that region, now it’s all focus grouped to death.” But that might require a bit more research, it all depends on how deep you want to go with this ruse that you share even one common interest with your peers…which, if you’re like me, you probably don’t.