Like many wives, I used to mourn the loss of my husband between the months of August and March for the football and basketball seasons. Game after game. Weekend after weekend.
In a little over a week, the Superbowl will be here. But believe it or not, now I'm actually excited about it.
My 95-year-old grandmother watches football and basketball on her own. That sweet, tough old bird taught PE back in her day, married a college football player, and raised six kids: three active boys and three equally active girls. While we lived in Utah, my husband and I watched a football game at her house, and she and my husband talked about the game, both informed and passionate. When she asked me if I was enjoying the game, I explained her about my bare-bone "tolerance" of sports on TV, and she encouraged me to get involved in what my spouse likes and make it interesting for myself.
In recent years, my dread of the football and basketball seasons have become less painful as I've tried to participate in watching sports with my husband. In my own way.
I sit next to him and do something else simultaneously. I type on the computer, crochet or craft, or read, watching key replays and reacting according to his reaction.
Also, I've noticed elements in sports that I actually find interesting.
1. I love listening for odd names. Nearly every team has at least two or three players with horribly cruel first names. Athletes have either dumb or mean parents to name their sons Casanova, Haha, Shabazz, or some combination of random syllables. The name game becomes exponentially more fun if I can find a bizarre first and last name combo.
2. During the fall, audience members bundle up, and I vicariously experience a chilly autumn evening by watching fans shiver. Silly, but it helps me endure living in hot, humid Houston.
3. My husband has a penchant for anticipating and stating exactly what the announcers say or what the coaches do before they do it. (Example: Tracy says, "The coach will call a time out here." The ref blows the whistle signaling a time out. Need another? Tracy says, "The defense should have blitzed there to prevent the play-action pass." Kirk Herbstreit says, "I'm surprised the defense didn't blitz. They could have prevented the play-action pass.") I get a good laugh out of it and have even tried to develop such skills myself. The best I've been able to do is occasionally predict a holding call, but I'm getting better!
Years ago, my husband and I struck a deal. He refrains from watching games on Sunday, and in exchange we make a big deal of the Superbowl, as a whole family. He isn't allowed to shush me (or our future children), and we have tons of yummy snacks! I've enjoyed our Superbowl parties just as much as he has. Plus, most of the commercials are entertaining as well.
Against my expectations, I have actually come to enjoy sitting down with my husband sometimes to watch football and basketball in small dosages. I still don't care for sports statistics, and I doubt I will voluntarily keep abreast of sports on my own, but the point is we turned a point of conflict into something we can do together peacefully. Compromise in marriage at its best! (Now to get him to like BBC Austen adaptations.)
Happy Superbowl to everyone: football lovers or not!