Cheering for a sports team brings people together in all sorts of situations. You can walk into a bar in a foreign country, spot someone wearing your team colors, and immediately be drawn to them. By the same token, cheering a sports team on as a family can create some very strong bonding during the childhood and teenage years. If you don't already have a team you follow -- or even if you do -- you can participate in this as a great bonding family activity.
Choose a team that everyone can enjoy following. Many people have very specific guidelines for sports they enjoy or hate, so be sure to take everyone's opinion into account. For instance, the sheer number of baseball games may be great for some people, whose lives are busy and who may not be able to see every single one but will want the gist of a season in a single game; on the other hand, some people may dislike that one game is incredibly unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
The first practical step, obviously, is to attend games together. Make it a family outing; choose the team, purchase some tickets on a day when you are all available to go, and then make it a big, fun deal. Try to start attending games early on in the lives of your children, so that the team is an integral part of their childhood and they can build early memories of sharing this experience with the whole family.
Even if you can't afford tickets, watch games at home. Gather around during or after dinner and enjoy the action, laugh about the commercials, and try to beat the commentators to saying what just happened. For sports such as football, which have very few games over the course of a year, come up with traditions for every weekend: pop some popcorn, warm up some cider or hot chocolate, and play in the backyard at halftime.
Make the team part of your everyday vernacular. Learn the names of the players, really learn the rules, and incorporate metaphors into your life. You'll find that sharing a common vocabulary really bonds you together, because you can all reference things in other parts of life and understand this unique way of doing so.
Choose favorites! Maybe you decide to follow an entire sport instead of one team, because everyone likes a different city's squad. In that case, pick favorite teams, players, uniforms, stadiums -- anything you can start a friendly rivalry over. Sometimes, the spark of controversy will actually draw you closer than the shared experience of cheering for the same team.
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