Excuse me, but am I the only woman not celebrating the return of football season? Today the NFL lockout ended and now the loss of my husband’s mind begins. Somehow we’ve been lucky enough to make it through fourteen football seasons together but I always fear that this year will be the last. Before Superbowl, I begin to harbor fantasies about throwing a rock through the television. Or moving to Europe where they don’t care about this barbaric American sport. I don’t want to sound unpatriotic. I love our country. And I’m sorry to sound like a grouchy, nagging wife. But I am. I hate football season.
Mind you, I wasn’t always this way. In fact, in high school I was actually a cheerleader (which sounds sort of frightening now but that’s another column). Anyway, I was on the sidelines with a giant megaphone in my hand cheering for each play. Ok, I admit that I thought people were more interested in watching my routine than the game-but my heart was there. I really wanted the team to win!
At USC, it was practically a requirement to attend and enjoy football games. I almost minored in tailgating. There was a certain crispness in the air and plenty of kegs. Those were good times.
When Brian and I married he said, “I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have a wife cool enough to sit around and watch football with me on Sundays.” Truth was, I was teaching full time, and was so tired by Sunday that a day spent on the couch sounded great. Sure, I was more interested in the commercials then the actual game. But I still sat there, often with a house full of his friends, spilling beer on my rug and leaving a mess behind. I never complained.
Then, we had our first baby and everything changed. Including my tolerance for football. Suddenly, Sundays meant another day alone, cleaning diapers, playing pretend, feeding and bathing, all while he sat on the couch and watched football. Yes, I appreciated his hard work during the week. And yes, I knew how lucky I was to be able to afford to stay home with our first child. But, somehow seeing him sit on the couch like a shell, watching that television and rooting for a touchdown, started to make me crazy.
It sounds cliché but it’s true!
“Brian, can you please take out the trash. It’s overflowing and smells terrible.”
“After this play.”
“Brian, can you please help Zack finish his book report. It’s due tomorrow and I’m cooking dinner.”
“After this play.”
Worse is when he doesn’t hear me at all.
“Brian, can you please take the dogs out for a walk?” I say.
The kids are fighting and crying, the dogs are barking, dishwasher running and television blaring. I raise my voice. “Can you take the dogs for a walk?”
“Take these damn dogs out!”
“When did you get so grouchy?”
Now, I love Brian and I support him in almost everything, but this football thing has gotten totally out of control. Monday night football is important. All day Sunday he flips channels to watch pregame talk, post game talk. He isn’t interested in listening to me talk that much about anything.
A few years ago came Fantasy Football. “What the heck is that?” I asked.
“We meet preseason and draft players for our team,” he said.
“What team?” I asked. Was he joining a cult?
“My fantasy team,” he said.
“Is this some kind of Dungeon and Dragons thing?” I asked, suddenly worried.
I really thought this year would be different. I hoped that the players would never agree to this negotiation like a child hopes for a teacher’s strike. Remember when the MTA buses went on strike in LA and it was so much easier to navigate the busy city streets? That’s how I felt about not having a football season.
Imagine hanging out in your backyard with and watching the leaves turn colors. You could take the kids to a pumpkin patch without having to worry about getting home in time for the next game. There’s back to school activities galore. As for sports, AYSO is enough isn’t it? Seriously, it would be wonderful to spend fall without football and with my husband instead. I can’t be the only one to feel this way. Can I?