Even if you couldn’t give a flying, uh, football about sports, the fact remains that a ton of people are enthusiastic fans. And if you have no idea what’s going on in the sports world, you’re shutting yourself out of conversations at networking events, around the water cooler, at the dinner table, and more.

While for some people it might be just fine to change the subject or stay quiet, if you’re trying to impress an executive, make a connection to make a sale, or just finally have something to talk about with Uncle Phil at your family’s holiday get-together, it can be good to have at least a cursory knowledge of the games.

Luckily, there’s an easy, painless way of staying up to speed. The Casual Spectator is a newsletter about sports, arriving by email twice a week to let you know what’s going on with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, tennis Grand Slams, golf Majors, NCAA football and basketball, European soccer, boxing, and the Kentucky Derby—in other words, anything you could ever need to know.

Here’s a sample:

The Matchup:

Detroit (7-4) hosts their annual early afternoon Thanksgiving game against their NFC North rivals, the Chicago Bears (5-6). The Lions are clinging to the final playoff spot in the NFC. The Bears are still mathematically alive, but realistically have little chance of making the postseason.

The Narrative:

Detroit has lost two in a row and Chicago has won two straight. Two teams going in opposite directions, right? Not necessarily. The Lions have lost to the AFC’s best team, the New England Patriots, and the NFC’s top-seeded Arizona Cardinals. The Bears have beaten two of the worst in Tampa Bay and Minnesota. Detroit possesses the league’s third-best defense and is the clear favorite in this one.

Who’s going to win? Vegas likes Detroit by a touchdown.

Not too bad, right? Even the most sports-challenged people we know didn’t have a problem understanding this.

Subscribe to the Casual Spectator, and then go strike up a conversation about the Mavericks or something. As they say, the best defense is a good offense.


Photo of sports stadium courtesy of Shutterstock.