I didn’t start following any sports teams until I entered the working world. I had no reason to—my athletic abilities don’t go much past 7.0 on the treadmill, my hometown hosts no major athletic teams, and my alma mater’s football record has been inconsistent at best (humiliating at worst) for the past decade.

Then, I married a man who can recite the names, stats, eye color, and astrological sign of every professional athlete since the 1970s. I slowly started absorbing some of this knowledge and—to my surprise—I enjoyed it. Cut to a few years later, and I watch ESPN, listen to local sports radio, and instead of counting sheep to cure insomnia, I name players from my local teams in reverse alphabetical order.

Better yet, I found that my new hobby helped me out quite a bit in the office. Even if you’re not a sports fanatic, being able to hold your own in a conversation about last weekend’s game is a professional skill you shouldn’t underestimate. Local sports create common ground for friendly office small talk (unless you’re a Cowboys fan outside of Texas), not to mention that “field trips”to local games are still a favorite reward option and a popular client gift.

Read the rest of this piece at The Daily Muse.