My manager’s manager came to see me in my office. I had won a special award, he informed me, for my United Way donation. I would get to hear a talk by (and meet) a famous football player. He did not say ” a famous football player” at first; he actually mentioned the name. Followed by the explanation when confronted by my blank stare and frank question. I have now forgotten that name. In fact, I probably forgot it before the conversation was over. But if I remembered it, and told you here, you would also be astonished by my ignorance.
I am not a fan of American football. Every year, on Superbowl Sunday or Thanksgiving, my husband painstakingly explains the rules of football to me — again. I try my very best to follow along with the game on TV. But I give up in a little while, with a sigh of, “But all they do is crash into each other.” For me, watching football is like watching a human version of demolition derby.
I figure my brown-ness and female-ness add sufficient diversity to my workplace. So I try to fit in when it comes to the sports talk. Every morning, while listening to the radio on my drive to work, I pay special attention to the sports news. Then I try to make appropriate small talk when I get to work. This, of course, fools exactly no-one.
Then there is the sport that the rest of the world calls football. I cannot say that I am an ardent follower of soccer, but I do enjoy watching at least the world cup. From time to time, we go watch a soccer game in person. During that uncomfortable conversation with my manager’s manager, I would have been happy to expound my opinion on Messi vs. the Machine, if I had thought that would help. But talking soccer is no way to fit into the typical American workplace.