Recently, a twitter follower of mine asked for some advice. She compared dating to a sport, and revealed that she doesn’t get off the bench very often. It’s a great analogy, albeit a sad one in her case. Dating is very much like a sport, and the same strategies that work on the playing field can also help you on the dating field. So strap on your knee-pads and shin-guards, get your balls ready, and hang a net off the hoop. You’re about to learn to score. Here’s how…
As with sports, dating comes in many different styles and arenas. Not every sport is right for you. Not every dating game is right for you. Pick a game that you enjoy playing. I like Volleyball and Tennis because there’s less chance of injury. It’s fun for me to playfully smack the balls around and reassuring that nobody will try to tackle me when I’m playing. Others prefer to get rough and dirty. There’s nothing wrong with popping in a mouthpiece and kicking for the face, if that’s what you’re into. Whichever game you decide to play, it is important to understand the associated challenges and risks. Getting hurt could ruin your career, so choose a game where you can take the punches. It’s much less intimidating to play Bocce than to Cage Wrestle.
2) Learn the Rules
There are rules to the sport of dating. Everyone knows the cliche, “wait 3 days for a phone call,” stuff, but everywhere you look there are rules. How long should you wait to put out? Does age matter? Who should pay on a first date? Can Yankee fans date Red Sox fans?! Learning the rules to the game is the first step to playing the field. You need to know that you get 3 strikes, that you shouldn’t swing at the first pitch, and that a big lead is alright when you get to first base, but risky on third against a left-handed pitcher. Also, much like the pro sports, the rules of dating change sometimes. Thanks to instant replay, you can bring a go-pro on your dates and analyze what went wrong when you get home.
3) Work Around the Coach
If you’re sitting on the bench, you need to prove that you are just as good a player as the rest of the team. If you’re not seeing any playing time, you may be out of your league. That’s not a bad thing. It’s good to know where you stand. If you need to work on your skills a bit, join a league that is less competitive and get some reps in against lesser competition. Find a pick-up game that is two-hand-touch instead of tackle so you can practice your skills without getting hurt. Try internet dating. There are a lot of players there, all with varying degrees of experience, and you can test your skills without feeling like you lost an important game. Once you are comfortable playing in the minors, you can move back up to the big leagues and show off your new swagger.
4) Take a Swing
Nobody ever got a home run without swinging the bat. There’s a reason you get 3 strikes, and multiple chances at the plate. You may go 0-for-5 in your first game, but eventually you will get a hit. Keep on swinging until you do. Get up there, keep an eye on the ball, and make contact. You don’t need to hit each one out of the park. Keep in mind that even a single can advance a runner or get an RBI. The more you help your friends score, the more likely they will bunt when you are on 3rd base!
5) Study Your Opponent
Knowing what you are up against can shape your strategy heading into the game. You are no longer competing with other players on your team for that starting position, now you are picking targets to attack on the other team. Pick a match-up that suits your style. Look into their eyes and intimidate them by not flinching at all. Grunt and make noises like an animal. As soon as the play begins, find their weakness and go for it. You must understand how they play if you want to outmaneuver them on the field.
6) Play to the Whistle
Football players know that play does not stop until the referee blows the whistle. If you’re on the field and somebody fumbles, pick it up and run with it. It could be a live ball and you could get an easy touchdown by capitalizing off of another player’s error. Play your hardest and don’t be afraid to get dirty. The more sweat opponents see flying off your body, the more exciting the game becomes. Go out there and give it your all. From the first snap till the bartender yells “last call,” it is your prerogative to put as many points on the board as possible.
There is no guarantee that you will win.
I’m just trying to help you score. Good luck.
… oh, and stay away from Fantasy Sports.
– John Powers