It’s every man’s fantasy: a girlfriend who loves to play and watch sports as much as he does. But dating a tomboy has its flip side. Do you play as hard? Do you let her win? Can you handle it if she’s better than you? Frankly, boys, it’s a minefield. Follow my advice if you want to get through it with all your parts intact.
The situation: She’s seriously athletic and has no qualms beating you. In front of your friends. Often.
The upside: She’ll never make you come home at halftime. (And why would she? For her, that’s just midway through the game she’s winning.)
The problem: She knows your weaknesses and injuries. She is wily, aggressive, and unrelenting. She has no problem handing you your balls at the end of any game you’re playing.
The solution: You can’t ask her to take it easy on you, but you can recruit her to your team. So whenever you can, partner up with her. Get her to savor winning together, and maybe she’ll have some pity next time you’re head-to-head.
The situation: Her passion for sports is not exactly matched by her prowess.
The upside: Tag football, Frisbee, miniature golf, kickball … If it’s a sport, she’s in. And shotgun.
The problem: She strikes out, drops the ball, fouls, spaces out, and is in general the weakest link. She’s also your girl, so crushing her makes you feel like a cad.
The solution: Level the playing field any way you can so she can still enjoy herself. Come up with an excuse as to why you should give her a head start or yourself a handicap. Most important in this situation: Allow yourself to really enjoy the game for the game’s sake.
The situation: She has a team for every season.
The upside: She can pontificate on how Tiger’s scores are affecting the game of golf. She can home in on Jerome James’s apathetic performances. She can detail why the ref is picking on LeBron yet again.
The problem: It’s always the opposing team. That’s right. You are UNC, she’s Duke. She’s Yankees, you are Red Sox. You are sleeping with the enemy. What this means? You disagree about sports. All. Year. Long.
The solution: Enforce a “no talking about sports in the bedroom” rule. Pronto. You can agree to disagree about a foul or shot or resume the discussion the next day, but in general, when you pass through that doorway, sports banter should end and the pillow talk begin. Explain it to her this way and she’s sure to be game.
The situation: She’s obsessed with competition -- even more so than you are.
The upside: If there’s a dart board, pool table or hacky sack in sight, she’s making a beeline for it.
The problem: You never thought you’d say this, but you wish she’d pay more attention to you -- and not just to beating you.
The solution: Your best bet here is honesty. Level with her. And then make plans for “we” time that doesn’t involve a pigskin, goal or referee: Try renting a movie or going to a concert. The more non-sports-related things you do together, the more non-sports-related content there will be to talk about, and all eyes should soon be on you.
The situation: She’s always in, whether she’s invited or not.
The upside: While your buddies are getting the eye roll or pout from their ladies, yours is already changed into her sweats.
The problem: It’s endearing but annoying that she’s always in tow when it comes to sports. Sometimes you wouldn’t mind playing -- or even just hanging -- with the guys.
The solution: She lets you slither away when her friends mention a sale on boots or start complaining about their boyfriends. Well, flip the script. Tell her the guys want to talk guy stuff (if a buddy’s having girl trouble, even better), and she’ll most likely bow out of her own accord.
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