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How to avoid NBA and NFL spoilers at work: A handy guide

Los Angeles Lakers Lonzo Ball, left, in action against 76ers' player Ben Simmons. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
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19th December, 2018
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You work hard. You do a good job. You’re nice to your co-workers, clients and – yes – even the boss.

So why oh why must you suffer the hassle of spoilers?

Since the dawn of time, humankind has wanted nothing more than to clock off work, head home and flick on the sport.

But since those prehistoric days, when cavemen had to carve etchings of imaginary basketball games after a long day clubbing mammoths, technology has evolved.

Sport is everywhere, and so are pesky people who want nothing more than to shove the score of the game you were planning to watch that night in your face.

How do you avoid these night-ruining spoilers? Here are six practical tips for keeping your nightly Foxtel sporting session intact.

Avoid the water cooler

This one’s a no-brainer. Stay away from the office goss centre or, at the very least, plan incognito trips well in advance.

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There’s nothing worse than getting up to get a drink, only to walk back with a cold cup of spoilers after that fake fan from marketing blabbed about Ben Simmons huge game in the ‘Sixes’ victory.

By the same token, you’ll want to avoid the virtual water cooler that is social media. Get those push notifications off, and make sure you don’t get your phone out for a leisurely scroll lest you stumble upon the updates you’ve worked tirelessly to avoid.

Get rid of your ‘deposit NFL scores here’ in-tray

I get it. Managing your workflow is important.

You need an in-tray to keep your tasks for the day in order while also making sure nothing gets missed.

But ask yourself: Is an in-tray solely designed for colleagues to print off football scores and leave them for you to read really necessary?

Most of the time this does more harm than good. Getting rid of it will not only help you avoid finding out the day’s results prematurely, but will also help you stay on top of what’s really important.

Leave the jersey at home

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Showing your team pride off with a jersey is a quintessential part of sports fandom.

While it may be tempting to bust out the navy blue Tom Brady jersey on game day (as well as the hurried explanation that you supported the Patriots ‘before they were good’), watch out – that makes you a beacon for any American sports discussion.

Even if it’s not randoms yelling the score at you from across the street, you’ll still get affirmative grins and offers for a high-five if your team won – or have people openly laugh at you in street if your team lost (or if you’re a long-suffering Jaguars fan).

Either way, you’re going to find out how your team did in some indirect way, so you may as well play it safe and just proudly trot your jersey around the day after your team gets up.

Or, if your team loses, just scoff at the idea you were ever that interested in the sport anyway.

Say no to the pub lunch

There are few things more pleasant in office life than heading to the pub for a Friday lunch that often extends right up until home time.

But while this long meal is a great way to get to know your co-workers a bit more, it’s also a great way to find out the basketball score when you don’t want to.

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Publicans love putting ESPN on just about every screen they get their hands on. While that’s normally fantastic news, it’s troublesome if you’re hoping to save the game for when you get home.

As painful as this recommendation is, if you don’t want to be spoiled, you’ll probably have to lunch at your desk.

Shut down all sport conversations

Talking sport at work can often be the only thing that gets you through the day, but you need to be careful bringing it up on gameday as the topic could quickly move to spoiler territory.

So, do you just not talk about sport at work at all? Of course not!

You need to go much further than that.

If you hear anyone talking about anything resembling competitive activities, shut them right down with boring anecdotes, half-baked segues into politics or just awkward laughter.

Will it ostracise you from the rest of the workplace? Probably.

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More importantly, will you avoid spoilers? You betcha.

Avoid any American colleagues

Arguably the most important pointer of all.

If you’re blessed with the opportunity to work with kind folks from the US of A, you’ll find they’re adorably fascinated with Australian culture and know where to find the best food – but they’re also full of unwanted sporting knowledge.

There’s no ifs or buts here – if you’ve got Yanks in the office, you need to shun them at all costs.

Got one in a meeting? Pretend to not speak English.

See them coming up the corridor? Shoulder-charge through someone else’s cubicle if you have to.

It may seem extreme, but if it means getting home and watching the NFL like it’s the first time, it’s worth it.

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Foxtel and ESPN are bringing you more U.S. Sport than anywhere else, with NBA, NFL, NCAA Football and Basketball, Major League Baseball as well as three exclusive channels thanks to the WatchESPN app – SEC, ESPNU and ESPNews.