How to Get Your Family Excited About Sports
Expert Advice

Image: Deposit Photos, serezniy

Sports unite and divide us, leading to thrilling rivalries and matchups that rivet fans as they watch live sports. Witnessing two teams play against each other under immense pressure is exciting, leading to millions of viewers for the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and the World Cup.

Many people start watching sports when they’re young. Do you remember the first NFL game you saw on TV? Getting kids to watch is vital because they’ll have memories that will last a lifetime. If your spouse is interested, it will give you more things to bond over. Here are four ways to get your family excited about sports.

Watch and Play with Them

Kids are curious creatures. They don’t know much about the world around them, so they follow you around and mimic your behavior. Children want to be like their parents even though they have separate interests. Use this curiosity as a steppingstone to get them excited about sports. Is there a pivotal NFL game tonight? Watch the game with them and answer their questions. You might be surprised at how much they enjoy it.

Children often have short attention spans and may only watch the game in five-minute spurts. One way to engage them is to play their favorite sports with them. Play catch in the backyard or shoot some hoops. Getting children to associate sports with fun times is integral in maintaining interest. Sports also help their growth. Participating in team sports builds the social and language skills they’ll need.

Associate Sports with Food

Sports and food are two things people bond over worldwide. Combining them makes perfect opportunities for your kids to become interested in sports. For example, Labor Day weekend brings the first Saturday of the college football season. Use this holiday to grill and make delicious food for your family.

Some holidays coincide with sports. The NBA on Christmas and the NFL on Thanksgiving are a couple of important dates for sports fans. Other momentous occasions don’t have a specific date. For example, the Super Bowl is typically on the second Sunday of February.

Regardless, make your family’s favorite games enjoyable with delicious food. Use the teams playing as an excuse to make regional dishes. For example, make Philly cheesesteaks for the Phillies or barbecue for the Kansas City Chiefs. You can hardly go wrong when picking tailgate food.

Make Sports a Positive Learning Experience

Sports bring out the best and worst in people. Watching your team win the Super Bowl or the World Series is exhilarating. Remember when the Eagles and Nick Foles defeated the Patriots and Tom Brady? That day in 2018 is one Eagles fans will remember for a lifetime. Patriots fans put that memory on the back burner.

Use the good and bad outcomes as a learning experience. Losing is part of the fan experience, just like winning is. LeBron James is a four-time NBA champion — but he’s lost in the NBA Finals six times. Celebrate the good times but use the losses to teach your kids about sportsmanship and learning from failure. Your child can’t help the Oakland Athletics win a World Series, but you can use losing teams as an example to teach grace and maturity.

This can also help your kids in the sports they play. Many children become discouraged if they’re not good at something, even if they enjoy playing it. Data show about 70% of kids quit team sports by the time they turn 13. Teach your children the fundamentals, but don’t go overboard. Use encouragement and constructive criticism to help them improve.

Connect Sports and Celebrities

Sports are popular everywhere you go. Data shows soccer has over 3.5 billion fans worldwide. However, some people don’t grow up watching sports. Connecting sports and pop culture is one way to engage your spouse and children. Many of your favorite actors, musicians and public figures are avid fans of professional teams.

Does your spouse like to keep up with famous people? Watch Knicks and Lakers games because they often feature celebrities sitting courtside. These stars include Will Ferrell, Kim Kardashian, Spike Lee and more.

Athletes and celebrities often end up dating. Point out athletes on the screen who are romantically involved with your spouse’s favorite celebs. For example, Russell Wilson married the singer Ciara in 2016. Vanessa Hudgens is engaged to Cole Tucker of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Kardashian and Jenner sisters have dated NBA stars like Devin Booker, James Harden and Blake Griffin.

Getting the Family to Watch Sports

Many Americans take their favorite sports seriously. Get your family interested by engaging them with different sports and letting them find the one they like the most. Use games on TV, movies and backyard equipment to pique their interest, creating memories and building bonds.