I spent this past Sunday evening sitting snugly on my couch, watching joyfully as The Packers whipped the Bears like rented mules. Although my wonderful wife, Jenni, was sitting right by my side, the two of us may just as well have been on different planets.
Had an uninitiated passerby gazed into our living room window at any point during those three rapturous hours, he would have seen me bouncing around in my seat with a big, dopey grin on my face, engaged in a spirited one-sided conversation with the television screen. All the while, my wife sat perfectly calm and motionless beside me – earbuds firmly implanted, and eyes glued to season 4 of “Portlandia” on her tablet. The aforementioned hypothetical voyeur would likely assume that one of us was crazy.
I’ve got news for you, creep: you’d be right. You see, Jenni isn’t a sports fan.
My mind began to wander a little bit as the game wore on – as one’s mind is wont to do when the score is 42-0 by halftime – and I began to imagine how my life would be different if my better half shared my passion for sport. To that end, I give you “5 Perks of Being Married to a Sports-Hater”:
5. I only have to buy one ticket
I know what you’re thinking: “But Drew, you’re a high-profile sports writer – surely you don’t need a ticket to get in to a football game.” Unfortunately, however, a homemade media credential with The Lorian’s logo on it doesn’t carry much weight outside of the Iowa Conference.
Have you priced tickets to an NFL game recently? And I’m not talking about teams like the Minnesota Vikings – I mean for teams that people would actually pay to watch. It’s insane. Throw in the price of a beer and a hot dog and pretty soon we’re talking about a serious monetary investment. If my wife cared enough about sports to accompany me to the game, I’d be financially ruined.
More often than not, I prefer to watch the game at home anyway, and when I do …
4. There’s never any argument about which game to watch on TV
We’ve all been in this situation before: you’re watching intently as your favorite team battles it out against a bitter rival, when someone in the room chimes in with: “Can we watch the Chiefs game instead? I have Jamaal Charles on my fantasy team.” Or worse yet: “C’mon, the World Series is on, let’s watch it!”
Not in my house. Sure, I might have to do some lobbying occasionally in order to put a game on the TV at all – but when I do, it’s the game that I want to watch. There can be no conflicts of interest when one party is entirely uninterested.
Also, because of Jenni’s complete and utter apathy towards all things athletic …
3. I never have to explain anything
Similar situation to the previous scenario: you’re locked in to an important NFL game on the television when, suddenly, Jon Gruden says something that makes your girlfriend’s/wife’s/sister’s/mother’s head explode. While you struggle futilely to explain what “Spider2 Y Banana” means, your favorite team makes the play of the year to win (or lose) the game, and you missed it.
Thanks to my wife’s total abhorrence of sports, this fate will never befall me. Even if she wanted to, Jenni could not care any less than she does about zone blocking schemes, infield fly rules, or two-line passes.
Even if Jenni feigned enough interest in these things that she asked me to explain them to her, I could tell her whatever I wanted, because in our home, on matters relating to sports …
2. I’m always right
There are no dissenting opinions in the Brashaw household as it pertains to sports. If I say a coach should have opted to go for it on fourth-and-forever in the first half, then that’s what should have happened. If I say Phil Mickelson shanked a drive because his shirt was coming slightly untucked, then that’s the cause. If, in the midst of a rage fueled tirade, I say that Kirk Ferentz should be fired and publicly flogged, then that’s what’s up. My word is law. Regardless of how outlandish an assertion I make, the response is always the same: “That’s nice, Dear.”
But lest my dictatorial, omniscient authority go to my head, Jenni provides a very nice check, because …
1. She keeps things in perspective for me
Before Jenni and I met, I was a man who let his emotions get the better of him. A Packers or Hawkeyes loss almost always meant a week of anger and frustration for me. I never went so far as to put holes in walls, but I wasn’t the most pleasant fellow to be around when things didn’t go my team’s way. Jenni simply will not tolerate that kind behavior from a grown man, and it has actually led me to a more enjoyable viewing experience. I used to freak out; now I just watch.
While it’s certainly important for a married couple to have mutual interests, there’s something to be said for separate spheres. To paraphrase a line from a famous Seinfeld episode, it’s good to be master of one’s own domain.