Do it because you can, not because you want to.
I heard a fitness instructor say that this week and it’s exactly how I feel when I’m coaching people on how to talk sports and engage in small talk.
The conversation you think doesn’t matter actually opens the door for bigger conversations of greater substance. I can’t think of any athlete I’ve interviewed (and I’ve talked to hundreds of them) that I haven’t made small talk with at some point before starting the interview – even if it was just 15 seconds of introducing myself before going on live TV.
You might not want to take time out of your day for small talk, but do it because you can and because it makes a difference in the long run.
Use this list of sports topics to start small talk conversations this week. If this list seems like a lot, then focus on the only question you need to be able to answer: “Who’s your team?”