I love watching sports on TV, which I suppose is not surprising to anyone who’s reading this. Returning from holiday vacations on New Year’s Eve meant that I had the opportunity to get plenty of sports viewing in over the weekend - an NFL Sunday, the NHL Winter Classic, the college football playoffs, and so on - and it reminded me just how much I like to have a game on TV, even if it’s entirely random.

I have discovered something about myself, though, and it’s almost certainly not new, but for whatever reason I’m only now getting truly embarrassed about it: I am absolutely awful to watch a game with.

I can’t remember during which Vikings game this happened, this season, but I was watching in the living room, and over the course of the game, my wife - and then my kids - migrated to one of the kids’ bedrooms, on the same level. I figured that my wife had just avoided football - she doesn’t care about football, not even if it’s the most important game the Vikings will play that day - and then the kids, looking for some Mom Time, had joined her.

This is not, as it turns out, what happened. “You were giving off really bad vibes,” my wife said. “They just wanted to avoid you.”

Well, of course, I couldn’t imagine why, except for all of the obvious things. I’m not really a screamer, such as you might see on social media, and I can keep it together enough to keep from saying loud swears in front of the kids. But I’m not exactly pleasant.

Mostly I stick with sarcastic comments, often directed at the color commentators on football broadcasts (in my defense, most of them need someone in their ear, telling them to shut it). I’m not above angrily slamming my hand down on the arm of the couch when something goes wrong. And if the kids aren’t around, I’ve been known to let single twenty-pound curse words escape, like gunshots*.

One of the teachers at my high school - I can’t remember who, but it may have been my high-school football coach - had a sign in his room that said something like “swearing is the product of an uncreative mind trying to express itself forcefully,” and I rarely feel more forceful and less creative than when the Twins strike out eighteen times in a row.

*My other big move is to either mute the game when something goes wrong, so I don’t have to hear the cheers of opposing fans and the praise from commentators, or simply turn things off entirely in a fit of pique. The latter is a hundred percent childish, but the former still feels like a pretty good idea sometimes.

I am not saying that any of this isn’t natural; I suspect you cannot find a sports fan that has never been angry enough to yell at the television. When I was a kid, there was a product called the “Vikings Brick” that you could buy, which was a foam brick that you could theoretically throw at the television when you were angry; for all I know, the makers still do brisk sales every fall.

That said, I don’t want to be the person that drives the rest of the family into the far reaches of the house, whenever a game is on. Nor do I want to get snippy with the people that I love, solely because they happen to be around; I am too embarrassed of myself to type out examples of this that I can remember over the past few years.

So this my resolution for 2024. My goal is to be less insufferable (more sufferable?) while watching sports. And maybe I can even work up to the point where someone in my family will actually want to watch a game with me.

In return, I would like for the Vikings to resolve to find a quarterback, everyone on the Wild to resolve to stop getting hurt, the Twins to resolve to find some decent players to replace the good ones that they’ve lost, and so on. If I’m going to make impossible resolutions, I feel that everyone else should have to meet me halfway.

2024: May it be our calmest year ever!