Every team needs a mascot.
Lots of people love sports. Many tolerate them. Some can’t stand them. And for those in the third category—myself included—two-year-old Mara Grace understands how you feel.
Thanks to Mara’s mom, Rylee, a video has gone viral on TikTok showing the adorable toddler have a wholehearted UGH moment as her father, Alex, watches football in the background.According to Today, Alex, who is “obsessed” with football, had high hopes of making his daughter into a football fan, going so far as to buy baby jerseys. Sorry, dad, she ain’t interested, and her level of detest is both hilarious and super relatable for anyone who’d rather watch literally anything other than giant people running around trying to get a ball from one side of a field to the other.
The clip shows Rylee asking Mara, who is already visibility perturbed, “you don’t like football?”
As Mara shakes her head emphatically, dad can be heard in the background saying, “You're gonna have to learn to like it."
@ryleelainegrace It’s the dramatic ending for me 😂 #fyp#football#nfl#toddlersoftiktok#drama♬ original sound - Rylee Grace
Apparently those words were hurtful, because Mara’s eyes fill up with tears as she insists that what she actually likes is the superhero cartoon series “PJ Masks.” Kids have an admirable way of liking what they like unapologetically.
“PJ Masks” apparently has a humanoid octopus girl for a villain, so Mara is clearly in the right here anyway.
Rylee patiently reiterates that “Daddy’s watching football,” to which an exasperated Mara exclaims, “I DON’T WANT FOOTBALL!” Yes, you can hear the all caps in her voice.
Mara’s wail is the battle cry for anti-sports people everywhere. When we look at a game, we don’t see a dazzling display of athletic prowess. We see torture. Bleak and utterly boring torture that slowly drains our soul for what feels like hours. Hours.
Poor little Mara might be in the minority, but she is not alone, especially among the younger crowd. A recent study revealed that only 15% of Gen Z consider themselves “avid” sports fans, compared to the upper 20% of millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers. Gen Z also had the largest group of folks who were proudly part of the “not a sports fan team.” There are several theories as to why young people aren’t that interested—whether it’s not having the attention span to watch hours of a game due to short forms of content for entertainment or a lack of interest in aggressive competition.
Not to rag on sports—they do provide belonging, excitement and a sense of camaraderie to those who enjoy them. And that’s lovely. But that kind of joy can come from many different sources. For Mara, it’s “PJ Masks.” For me, it’s musicals—yes, I know, the only people more obnoxious than sports fans are theater nerds. For someone else, it’s something else. No matter what, there are always gonna be people who loathe the thing you love. Sadly for Alex, that person is his own daughter. Hopefully he didn't spend too much on those sports jerseys.
As for Mara, she is the official mascot for Team No SpOrTz!