There was a great column by Howard Fielding in yesterday's paper, addressing Sports as a second language for most Americans. Like Mr. Fielding, I am not at all fluent in Sports and am relieved that March Madness is finally over, so that my ability to understand what everyone is saying returns.
The most useful part of the column was "I had no idea who he was talking about, so I could answer only in monosyllabic grunts and mumbles. (Fortunately, we're both guys and he took that as real communication.)" Despite being a girl, I put this to use later in the day, when my neighbor (a guy) once again engaged me in a Basketball conversation. Granted, I've never been able to do much more than grunt, nod and mumble during these conversations, but this time I felt confident that these were acceptable responses. I even managed to toss in a "you can't win them all" -- an entire five-word phrase that was appropriate to the conversation!
It reminded me of a momentous occasion when I was in kindergarten and was told to sit with the first graders. They were all talking about a movie they had watched on television the night before (I believe it was King Kong). Since I wasn't allowed to watch television, I had no idea what they were talking about. Since I wanted to impress the oh-so-cool first graders, I pretended that I had watched the movie. This almost backfired when one of them asked me which part I liked best, but I repeated a description that one of them had already shared, and they were all pleased with my response.
This is essentially how I survive March Madness. I have to give a lot of credit to Facebook updates--if I read those before I leave the house, I can do a much better job of pretending to understand my neighbor's Sportstalk. All I have to do is add key words and phrases to my grunting, nodding and mumbling, and everyone is pleased with my response!