I don’t have a lot of friends. Let me just put it out there. It isn’t because I haven’t tried. I was a social butterfly in college. I was constantly spending time with my buddies either at sporting events or talking about sports. Or studying, if my mother is reading this.
I had several close friends in my college years. We shared some amazing times together, in fact, we all lived under one roof at one point. We were there for each other when our girlfriends of just a couple of years broke up with one of us, or vice versa. We spent many nights playing Guitar Hero or poker. I’m still jealous that I never actually won our traveling trophy.
We knew that eventually our time would come to an end and we wouldn’t be seeing each other on a daily basis like we had been for the last 4 years. Graduation would send us each in our separate directions. It sent many of my friends to the same town and for me half way across the state of Kansas. To an unknown city, with no support network, and no friends.
After college, friends are much harder to make. Specially if you are a guy. I can’t exactly explain it either. I tried. I joined a softball league in an attempt to find a network of men that I wanted to be around. No luck.
It wasn’t until I met my wife (again giving her the credit here) that I started finding male friends that I wanted to hang out with on a constant basis. One of my best friends to this date was actually a friend of my wife before we met.
Not surprisingly, the one thing that we bonded over the most was sports. At the time his team (Nebraska Cornhuskers) and my team (Kansas Jayhawks) were in the same league together, the Big 12. We would spend many Saturdays in a sports bar watching college football and many evenings watching college basketball together.
Fast forward several years later and now I am bonding with the neighborhood dads and the Kansas Jayhawks as they make their way through the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. All of us are waving our flags proudly in our front yards hoping for the best.
According to new Dove Men+Care Research nearly two-thirds of men bond over sports. While 1 in 3 will contact their friends during March Madness specifically. More importantly I know that my few close friends now would drop anything to help me in a time of need… and I would do the same thing for them too. This supports what the research found that 84% of men say that they would drop anything to be there for a close friend.
And without sports bringing many men together it wouldn’t be possible.
Sports are very male dominated, however female sports are on the rise, and it doesn’t come as a shock that men bond over them, specially during March Madness. My dad and I bond over sports. I say this while he is in Des Moines now watching the Kansas Jayhawks in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament without asking his son… hint hint. But he is there with a friend, which made me remember just how important it is that men (and women) have sports that bring us together.