People, mostly fellow wives, often try to relate to our lifestyle by saying something along the lines of, “I totally get it. My husband is really into sports, too.”
[To me, this is the equivalent of me saying, “Oh, your husband is a doctor? We watch a lot of medical shows, and I’ve gone to a lot of doctors, so I completely understand your life.” Sounds ridiculous, right?]
Don’t get me wrong. I really appreciate their attempts to connect with me. I want to relate to them, too, and I try to find ways for us to relate to each other.
But my husband isn’t really into sports.
He doesn’t sit at home watching sports on TV or playing sports-related video games. Well, ok, sometimes he does when he finds the time. He definitely enjoys those activities. But he does them a lot less than many other men who are really into sports. We don’t go to professional sporting events as often as other couples who are really into sports. That’s another thing that we simply don’t have time for. Often, my husband doesn’t even know the latest statistics or standings for his favorite teams. In a different world where my husband might have a different job, he would do these things. In a different life, I’d be able to relate to those who are really into sports.
But this is different. Here’s how.
We have personal relationships with the athletes. We don’t just read stories about them. We share meals with them. We pray for them, and I don’t mean we pray for them to win or play well. We pray for them when they face challenges in their personal lives.
In most cases, when we go to a game “together,” we don’t really go to the game together. My husband arrives hours early, even before the team arrives, and he stays until after the last fan and the last athlete have left. I drive myself. We don’t sit together and talk or cheer together. We don’t make trips to the concession stand together.
When my husband yells during a game or makes a suggestion to an athlete, they listen. He’s not yelling from the crowd; he’s yelling from the dugout.
Before a game, my husband pours over scouting reports. He studies his opponent’s tendencies and makes a plan for how he will approach the game and how he will prepare his team.
Sometimes my husband will talk to me before or after a game about what is working and what isn’t working with the team. I can’t simply nod my head and smile or say “mm-hmm” as I carry on with my own tasks. My husband expects me participate in these conversations. He anticipates my feedback and values my opinion. When I give him my opinion, he seriously takes it into consideration, and on occasion, it may actually impact a game.
Sports don’t merely impact our relationship or our family dynamic. Our livelihood relies on them. Our team’s success can impact our ability to pay our bills, and not because we’re placing bets but because it’s his job.
On a bad day or in a bad season, we can’t make excuses, point fingers, or cast blame. We can’t turn off the television or change the channel. We can’t shift our loyalties. We have to examine ourselves and trouble-shoot the issues ourselves.
You see, my husband isn’t just really into sports.