General Etiquette > Holidays

Football Feudin'

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I have a large family.  A few of us (including me!) actively hate sports.  The majority of us are pretty ambivalent.  When we get together for the holidays, my sister-in-law, insists upon watching football.  She insists on watching it with the volume way, way up. She insists on shouting rather impolite things at the referees.  It's disruptive, and it keeps people from having conversations.   And she likes to keep the tv on at meal time.  I can't think of anything short of news of an alien invasion that warrants keeping the tv on during a holiday meal. 

My mother, in whose home the majority of such events are held, is someone not at all inclined to stand up for herself.  She also hates football.  She sighs heavily when the tv comes on.  But she never ever says anything.  When we've talked about the issue, she explains that she's loathe to cause trouble. 

I get that people like sports.  I don't wish to keep the from enjoying what they enjoy.  I even concede that watching sports is more enjoyable when you're doing so live instead of pre-recorded. I genuinely like my s-i-l and wish her happiness.  I just fail to see why her interest in sports should keep other people from having a pleasant holiday.   

Can I speak to her?

Is there any way that a tv could be set up in another room (with a door) for her?

I think first you should speak with your mom.  Ultimately this is her house and her call.  But to that end your mom is allowed to give you permission to act on her behalf.  Just make darn sure you are acting on your mom's behalf.

Your SIL has no authority in your mom's house and have no leg to stand on as far as "insisting".  She can request.  She can complain. She can be a pill.  But she cannot enforce.  Only your mom (and if she is married, her spouse) can enforce what happens in her own home.

What I would do is a compromise.  Be ready with the plan in advance, perhaps even communicate it before guests arrive, but have the plan and make it a fair one.  Perhaps: TV may be on, but at reasonable level.  No shouting and no obscenities/threats (perhaps obscenities or threats enact a penalty - every shouted curse results in 2 minutes of the TV on mute, 6 obscenities and the TV is turned off, period).  That way your SIL gets to watch the game, but everyone else gets to enjoy their holiday.

(PS In my home I do not allow the TV on at all on Thanksgiving for more then a cumulative 10 minutes - sports lovers are welcome to not come, or else they need to plan their checking on the game very well.  As a kid the TV was not only not allowed on at all, it was in fact closed up in a cabinet and out of sight totally on holidays.)

Could a tv room be designated away from the main area? Also, does "her" team play every Thanksgiving? (Being a Lions fan would explain that and the angry yelling).

I think it can be tricky because this is not "just" football for her, it is also her Thanksgiving tradition. I know some families that sit for hours and play cards. In general the idea crosses my eyes but if somebody joined my family with that practice I'd probably try to accommodate it to some level. Maybe not hours and hours  but some.

Redneck Gravy:
As the hostess I think it is your mom's option to speak to SIL in her home, at your home I think it is your option.  You might have better luck speaking to brother but I'm not sure it is your place to tell SIL how to behave at your mom's.  Is there another room she can watch the game in?     

If someone asked me to tone it down a little then I would, it just depends on how it is phrased and what particular aspect they are referring to...I tend to jump up and down and not so much yell and scream (although occasionally I might shout a profanity).  I also like to be able to hear what the announcers are saying and don't want that to be covered up by conversation, in my mind I am in the living room with the other football watchers and the conversationalists are usually in the kitchen or the den (which I set up with other activities).     

If someone complained about how I watched my football, I would not be offended but I would exercise my option of staying home to watch the game.  I would still go for the meal, socializing, other events but I would come home to watch the game if I knew that my carrying on offended others.

This year my small family is eating out and then I am going home to watch the game with a friend and jump & yell all I want.  After the game I have plans to play cards at another friend's home.  Everyone that is a football fan is welcome at my home for the game, if you want other activities or conversation you need to be somewhere else.


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