If you’re a diehard sports fan, you may find yourself rooming with the enemy in college: someone who hates your team with a fiery passion or vice versa! College is an adventure in and of itself. It may be your first time away from home. You’ll have new and intense classes, a new group of friends to make, and a whole new list of activities to fill your time with. Of course, at the end of the day, you’ll be coming back to your dorm room and your roommate. Sharing space can be a bit daunting for those who are used to having their own, well, everything. But add in a serious sports team rivalry, and you have the making of a potentially explosive situation. Whether it’s a Yankees fan and Red Sox fan in a small space, a Jets and a Patriots fan trying to be civil, or even a Flyers diehard faced with a Devils fanatic, navigating the rivalry in a fun and adult manner can be a bit difficult. Here are some tips to avoid any potential pitfalls with your college roommate.
Consider the rivalry beforehand
If your sports fanaticism is something that encompasses your every breath—and those who don’t love your team are seen as mortal enemies—you may want to think about living with someone who shares similar views. It isn’t that your diehard attitude is a bad thing; it’s just that it may not mesh well with someone who has the same feelings about a different team, especially a rival team. Many colleges and universities offer incoming students a chance to talk to and choose roommates, so the days of being randomly assigned a roommate who’s a potential non-Giants fan are over. Do your research and pick someone you know you’ll have a great time screaming at the television with. But at the same time, college is about meeting people with different views than you and learning from them—so maybe a rival sports fan is exactly the roommate you need to start on that journey.
Related: List: Alma Maters of NFL Greats
Compromise where you can
Say worst comes to worst and you end up rooming with a diehard rival team fan. First, take a deep breath. You’re an adult now, so compromise is important. If you share one large room, draw a line down the middle. Each person is allowed to decorate their side with team memorabilia as they see fit with no crossover. The same rules of compromise go for televisions and/or watching games. If there’s only one TV, you can either trade off, split screens, or take turns watching on a computer. Feel free to buy a small white erase board to keep track of whose turn it is too. During game season, it’ll probably be best to each have your own television, head out to a neutral space (a friend’s dorm room or the community television in the common area), or just watch on your own computers via a streaming service. The good news is you won’t have to worry about sharing the TV when your rival teams are playing each other—just remember to keep it civil when your team wins!
Make it fun
Yes, you hate each other’s teams with the fire of a thousand burning red-hot suns. But maybe you can turn your rivalry into something fun. Throw a dorm room party that celebrates both teams and have attendants choose sides, or create your own pictures, rugs, or towels that mesh together your teams’ logos into something funny. You can still hate each other’s teams, but this makes it sort of a fun rivalry instead of a potential fist fight. You could even have an ongoing bet that when a rival team wins, the loser has to buy a cake decorated with the winning team’s colors and logo to share for dinner.
Having a rival roommate isn’t all bad—at least you’re still rooming with someone who also loves sports as much as you. Remember to keep things light and look at the situation with an objective eye. Regardless of who you or your college roommate is rooting for, the world will keep on turning, and they can still be a good friend and support system in your college life.
Check out our College Athletics section for more great sports-related reading material!