On Sports (Especially Basketball)

DISCLAIMER: This is not a true story. This is an article that I wrote a few years ago as a sample for a sports magazine that was looking for stories about women who love sports who are married to men who don't. It's true that I love basketball (go Jazz!) and have loved the Celtics since the Larry Bird era, but I'm married to someone who loves sports even more than I do. And I don't like sushi.
"Yes!" I scream, as I leap triumphantly from the couch, spilling a large bowl of buttered popcorn and Junior Mints to the floor. I pump my fist in the air as enthusiastically as a black-clad goth at a Marilyn Manson concert. Ray Allen has just scored a basket that ensures a victory over my least favorite team in all of sports--the Los Angeles Lakers. If you're a Lakers fan, please don't be angry with me. My heart has belonged to the Boston Celtics since I was a little girl watching the Celtics and Lakers rivalry with my parents and seven brothers. I come by my rabid Lakers loathing honestly.

I look around, searching for someone to share my unbridled joy. My eyes fall on my patient husband, smiling up at me over his laptop from his end of the couch. He's obviously amused. I must admit the smirk he's wearing is rather irritating and I bemoan the fact that I must celebrate this wonderful victory alone. There are many days when I miss the mob mentality of watching a basketball game with a room full of fans just as vocal as me. Instead, here I am, watching a fantastic game with a husband who is now catching up on the news of the day. Not SportsCenter news, but real, the-world-hangs-in-the-balance news.

"Did you see that shot?" I ask, crawling under the coffee table to retrieve the remote control from where it landed during my victory dance.

"Sorry," he says. "I missed it."

"Watch this. It's so great!" I rewind the DVR and watch Ray shoot the beautiful shot again. I sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation, appreciating it as if it were the first time I've seen it. I look over at my husband for what I'm sure will have to be proper awe, given the beauty of the shot.

"Great shot," he says trying to muster up some enthusiasm. Then he turns back to the computer.

"Honey, watch this. Look how he fakes out Kobe," I say, rewinding it again, wanting him to experience the sheer bliss it brings me to see Kobe out-juked.

"That's great." He's seen all he wants to see. He doesn't really care. How he cannot care, I'll never know, but somehow, he really doesn't. He doesn't appreciate a spectacular slam dunk or a perfect jump shot. He probably thinks a triple double is three scoops of double fudge ice cream. He doesn't have the sports attention span to follow the intricate threading of the ball through a court full of players on a beautiful assist. His interest lies elsewhere.

I guess I can't hold it against him. I knew he lacked the sports gene when I married him. I thought it wouldn't matter because of all the other wonderful qualities he has. Most of the time, that thinking is right. I love him for many other reasons, but every once in awhile, usually during March or June, I long to have a fellow fan share the room with me. I want to cheer WITH someone, not IN FRONT OF someone. I want the outcome of the big game to cause adrenalin to pump through his veins the way it does mine. I want him to love Ray Allen as much as I do and despise Kobe Bryant with my same passion.

But alas, it is not to be. So I'll continue to politely listen as he describes mergers and takeovers and economic woes. I'll watch the news with him, trying to pay attention to the anchorman while I watch the all-important scores scroll across the bottom of the screen. I'll let SportCenter be my guilty pleasure as I watch highlights over and over while I fold the laundry. I'll attend the occasional game in person with a friend or one of my brothers and try not to feel guilty that I'm having such a great time without my husband.

And then I'll meet my husband after the game for sushi, something we both enjoy.


Mary L Walling said...

This is great! Describes how I feel about reading and my husband doesn't. How he feels about every movie that comes to the screen and I don't. However, we do love each other for the many other qualities we see in each other. Isn't life wonderful that way?

Danielle Thorne said...

What a cute article and unique situation. I hope you find you a sport buddy soon!

I grew up on college football and not one of my four sons plays sports. SAD! But they know that Saturdays from September through November are sacred! ;)

Here's to great differences in marriage. It keeps it interesting!