You could say this story starts, as many of the best stories do, with a wedding.
That wedding was mine.
It was a Friday evening in January. We got married in a chapel full of white flowers and candles. The music was beautiful, the speeches happy, the cupcakes delicious. I’d married the most handsome, sweet guy, who loved me more than anything, and the feeling was mutual!
Everything was perfect…
… for approximately seven days spent unplugged in Cancun with Spanish T.V. and no Internet service. Then we returned home.
And I found out what my husband really loved.
I’d married a sports addict
I knew Alex liked sports from our first date – a baseball game (dollar dog night at the Metrodome). His interest in sports seemed normal, even endearing. I pictured us as husband and wife cozied up on the couch watching football together on lazy Sunday afternoons, meatballs in the crockpot.
Except I quickly realized I misunderstood what it means to be a true sports fan.
First, I was under the false impression that my new husband just followed a handful of teams. I thought wrong.
TEAMS ALEX FOLLOWS:
- U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Teams
- U.S. Youth National Soccer Team
- MN United FC
- Borussia Dortmund
- MN Twins
- MN Timberwolves
- MN Vikings
- Golden Gopher Basketball
- Golden Gopher Football
We’re talking teams from MLS, Bundesliga, CONCACAF (what the heck kind of a name for a conference is that?!*), NBA, NFL, and the Big 10. Thank God he doesn’t follow hockey, tennis, or golf. Or NASCAR (if you consider that a sport).
Due to the breadth of Alex’s sports interests, he understandably spent a lot of time on his phone checking sports news and alerts. I understood that IMPORTANT STUFF was happening in the sports world, but um, hellooo, I’m still here, remember me, your wife?
His whole wardrobe was sports-themed. I wanted to buy him new clothes, but unless it had a team logo on it, he wasn’t interested.
The biggest problem: for the true fan, there was no off-season. Basketball lasted all winter. Then soccer started… before the snow had even melted. Baseball was never-ending. And before Labor Day, we were attending pre-season football games. Welcome to the longest season of my life.
Our budget included frequent tickets to his alma mater’s football games. Very sweetly, Alex invited me to a couple. On sunny days, a stadium full of cheering college students could be exciting, but on a bone-chilling winter afternoon, watching men run into each other for three hours made me so unhappy that I complained until Alex bought me a cup of overpriced, watery hot chocolate, which really didn’t help the situation one bit.
For the love of the game
Participating in sports was one thing, but following sports as an all-consuming hobby was another entirely. At this rate, I was sure we were on a perilous track to expensive season tickets, musky man caves, and a life of recliner-dwelling inactivity.
Even as I tried to understand what made Alex and a bunch of our friends love certain teams and sports so much, I was often distracted, trying to multi-task during games to redeem time lost to what I saw as an unproductive pastime. Even when I gave games my full attention, I’d see the entire play and still have no idea what just happened. When I’d ask Alex to explain, he’d tell me to pay better attention. Which I really didn’t care enough to do.
After a year of battling over the remote and butting heads over our choice of activities every weekend, I realized two things:
- I couldn’t make my husband stop loving sports.
- I could either get left behind or join him.
Welcome to the journey
It’s been a couple years since I decided to try to embrace, instead of fight, my husband’s obsession. I’m nowhere near the sports pundit my husband is. But even though I feel totally out of my league, I’m learning, asking dumb questions, and discovering why nearly 72.35% of the world’s population loves sports**. And to my surprise, it’s actually been a lot of fun.
So, you’re invited to come along. If you’re married to a sports addict too, we can laugh together at the rules that don’t make sense and help each other survive baseball season. If you’re a sports junkie looking for savvy insights, thank you for stopping by, but sorry, you’d better head back to ESPN for your daily commentary. This blog will probably be 50% funny stories, 40% ignorant observations, and 10% smart insights on sports. That’s what I’ve got to offer. Chuckle away at my naiveté. I can take it; I promise.
Thanks for reading, and please subscribe!
*When I read this out loud to my husband, he corrected me that CONCACAF is a federation, not a conference. So, yep, there you go.
**I made that stat up.
Photo Credit: Kendre Oxendale Wedding Photography