Are opposing teams a deal breaker?

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Australians are a passionate race. When it comes to sport, we can be downright one-eyed.

So what happens when a couple barrack for different football teams? How does this impact the quality of their relationship? I decided to investigate this and caught up with a couple who passionately support diametrically opposed Aussie Rules Football Teams. Here is an insider’s peak at our football-challenged couple:

What does your football team mean to each of you?

HER: I have supported my team (Sydney Swans) since 1997. I grew up in Adelaide and football was always part of my childhood, from going to games each week to learning how to mark and bounce a footy in the backyard with Dad. My dad was a footy fanatic but was too short and not nearly athletic enough to play the game so he umpired. The Swans was not the team I grew up with and indeed I changed teams in my adulthood (a big no-no) but living in Sydney it was either, jump on board the Swans bandwagon in 1996 or miss out on seeing any AFL regularly. I look forward to the games each week, I spend a fair bit of free time reading about the games (pre and post) and my mood can often be impacted by their wins (or losses). At least for a few hours. Getting to see the 2005 Premiership at the MCG is still one of the best days of my life.

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HIM: I have been a Hawthorn Hawks fan since 1978 when my best friend at Primary school convinced me to change from Essendon (the team my family support), and they had just won the flag. And boy, am I glad I changed. I have seen 11 flags since then and feel fortunate to support one of the best teams of the modern era. My mood and sometimes even my happiness depends upon their fortunes.

Does it link to any deeper values or is it just a football team?

HER: Supporting a footy team for me links to the core values of what role sport plays in our lives. Sport is unifying, it provides a common ground for social cohesion. It gets kids and adults involved in a broader area of life and gives people something to focus on when things may not be right in their own lives. Sport also provides conversation topics for the socially challenged (sometimes that’s me!) and indeed as a woman in the corporate world, I rely heavily on sport to break the ice with new contacts. And if they are fellow Swans supporters then instant rapport!

HIM: For me it links to the values of determination, striving constantly for success and riding through things through thick and thin (and seen plenty of both over the last 40 or so years.)

Are the footy teams you have chosen representative of anything else in your lives?

HER: I admire the Swans culture – they have a “no d***heads” policy and I like the way they conduct themselves. You don’t often (if at all) see Swans players in the media doing anything but playing the game or being out in the community.

HIM: Just that I love barracking and being a member of a team that has given me constant happiness and success over the years.

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How does the different team influence the way you see your partner?

HER: Well, up until recently we had both supported the other’s team (when not playing each other). For me it gave me another team to follow and meant we could converse with knowledge about both teams. Then our teams met in 2 grand finals (’12 and ’14) where we won one each and there was an unspoken agreement that we no longer supported the other’s team. I now actively support any team who play Hawthorn (except for Geelong).

HIM: Just a friendly rivalry and some good-natured banter

What happens when you go to a game together and your teams are playing?

HER: We don’t sit together. We sat next to each other at the ’12 and ’14 Grand Finals (lucky enough to go to both) and the trauma of losing (him in ‘12 and me in ‘14) was enough to make sure we didn’t go through that again.

HIM: It hasn’t actually been that great in the past so rarely happens these days. I think we both still try to be respectful.

Is the football team difference just one of many differences between you … or … are you generally similar and this is an anomaly?

HER: While we support different teams, we support the same sport. We both love the game and this is what counts. It doesn’t matter the colours you wear as long as your interests and values are aligned. This also extends to other things in our life – we share political beliefs, a love of travel, food, wine, animals, music, movies, TV shows. We don’t always agree on the details of these interests but the foundation of interests is pretty similar.

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HIM: We have our differences, one of which is our football teams, and we have our similarities. This is what keeps things interesting and makes the world turn.

So, what is the take-away message? 

Mutual respect. Our couple enjoys lots of common interests and certainly share the all-important values, and where they differ, they respect. Knowing this couple (especially the woman who is quite obsessed with her footy team), it’s reassuring to know that something so important does not interfere with the integrity of their relationship.

Don’t let opposing sports teams be a deal-breaker. Follow the lead of this couple and focus on the things you have in common, the deeper more integral things like values, ethics, beliefs and personality.  Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition and cheeky banter at finals time … right?

Happy Dating!

Have you ever dated someone who shares an opposing view in something important to you? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.

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