From Project Runway to March Madness
when you’re married to a superfan, sports are part of your life – whether you like it or not
As a sports columnist and sports talk radio co-host, I have reason to follow sports. Thankfully, I like sports – all kinds, really. However, just because I like and watch sports does not mean all others in my everyday life are expected to display similar levels of enthusiasm. This is particularly apropos with my wife.
If you are a fan of a sport that your spouse/significant other/friend/parent/pet finds lacking, your viewing efforts can be a challenge. For me, that sport is basketball. While my wife likes her share of sports, basketball is not amongst that share. This past spring marked the first March Madness of our wedded bliss; somehow that bliss survived to April.
For help if you are in a similar situation, I thought I would guest the rest of this column to my wife and fellow Volume One contributor, Marie Anthony, to show how one can co-exist and thrive with a sports fan.
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I’ll be honest. This sports thing doesn’t come easy to me. My heart is happiest with Tim Gunn “make it work moments” and strawberry-peach margaritas. If two years ago someone told me there would come a day I’d be watching the Sweet 16 in place of Sixteen Candles, I’d have laughed and asked for a second margarita.
What draws me to sports has absolutely nothing to do with the sport itself and everything to do with the people I love. To give you the most candid view of “sports from a wife’s point of view,” I think it’s important for you to understand how sports has been a part of my life.
Super Bowl XXXI was probably the first football game I watched straight through. I couldn’t tell you much about the game itself. What I remember most is the excitement that filled our living room as my mom leapt from the couch after Favre and Rison scored a 54-yard touchdown. Her squeal was infectious. At that very moment my all-consuming adolescent drama became nothing more to me than a hiccup. I was with my family; my mom was happy. That moment was all I needed for life to be right again.
My next meaningful encounter with sports came much later when Luc invited me to a Packer game in 2013. It was my first game at Lambeau. I remember a lot of things about that day – how the stadium smelled gloriously of oil, beer batter, and cheese, and the disappointment that hovered over all of us Packer fans – but I couldn’t tell you who passed the ball to whom or recall the final score. The memories most vivid to me: how adorable Luc looked in his Packers cap and the bus ride home (where I learned that his questionable taste in sports teams speaks to how much of a sweetheart the guy is – he has a heart for the underdogs).
Now that Luc and I are married, I’ve watched more sports in a span of seven months than in 31 years of “singledom” combined. For much of March, Luc educated me on basketball. I’m still clueless, save for knowing that I need to keep an eye on Drake’s doppelgänger, Lonzo Ball. In truth, basketball isn’t so bad. I love those moments as the clock counts down to the half; when we’re snuggled under our fleece throw, and he’s contentedly explaining to me what’s happening on the court. I lay my head on his chest, and while I should be listening to his every word, my mind is lost. I’m more focused on the sound of his voice and the rhythm of his heartbeat drumming in my ear.
Every now and then something actually sporty will perk my interest: Consider the women’s NCAA Tournament, during which Mississippi State scored a buzzer-beating shot that brought the UConn Huskies’ 111-game winning streak to an end. That moment will stay with me not because it was a historic moment for women’s college basketball but because it was the first time I have ever cried tears of joy over a basketball game.
I’m not going to lie and say I’ll one day become a diehard March Madness girl, but as long as I have Luc by my side, I’ll pull a Tim Gunn and “Make it work.”