My hubby is a sports fan. Well, maybe that’s the wrong word . . . he’s more of a sports fanatic! He’s the kind of guy who can simultaneously listen to a basketball game on the radio, watch a football game on TV, clean his hunting rifle, polish his bowling ball and organize his fishing tackle. A real multi-tasker.
I had no idea what I was getting into when we got married. The men in my family shunned sports. The closest thing to a sport my father ever played was pinochle. And in high school, my brother was the band nerd, not the jock. Our family followed sports events only during the Olympics when we gathered in front of the TV to watch women’s gymnastics.
As a new bride, I learned that hubby’s number one passion was football. When I was growing up, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day were spent eating, talking and playing charades. But when I got married, football took center stage. Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Super Bowl – we had more bowls than a Tupperware party.
I spent my weekends reading, doing household chores and running after the kids, so I got used to the constant background noise of football – the banter of sports announcers, the whistles of referees, the booming blare of the Chevy truck and Budweiser commercials, and the groans of hubby when the opposing team scored.
I figured early on in our marriage that if I wanted to spend time with my hubby, I’d better learn to like football . . . or at least not to loathe it. The first game we watched together was between the Miami Dolphins and the Denver Broncos (hubby’s favorite team). I wanted to learn about the fascinating sport of football and I was an apt pupil. We were snuggling on the couch munching popcorn. Hubby was intent on downing a six-pack of Coors and I was sipping a coke.
“So what are they doing now, honey?” I said.
“They’re in the huddle, sweetcakes.”
“Why, sugar baby?”
“Planning the next play, bunny boo.”
“They should have thought of that before the game started, lemon drop.”
Hubby rolled his eyes and finished off beer number one, crushing the empty can with his bare hand. We continued watching as one Bronco threw the ball to another Bronco, but a Dolphin jumped right in and snatched it in mid-air. Hubby grunted and reached for another beer, but I was outraged.
“Hey, did you see that” I yelled. “He just grabbed the ball when that other guy was trying to catch it!”
“It’s called an interception.”
“I don’t care what it’s called. It’s not fair!” The next thing I knew, the Dolphin that “intercepted” the ball was crushed by a pile of Broncos.
“Good,” I said smugly. “He got what he deserved.” Just then the sports announcer said something about “first and ten.”
“What does that mean, cupcake?” I asked.
“It’s first down for the Dolphins. They have the ball now . . . muffin.”
“No they don’t. The umpire took it.”
“That’s the referee.”
“Yeah, right. You don’t fool me. I happen to know that referees do basketball.”
Hubby glared at me for no apparent reason and popped the top off his third Coors as we watched the Dolphins score a touchdown. I have to admit at this point I was getting a little bored. The announcers were tossing off words like “offensive line,” “punt,” “field goal,” “scrimmage,” “blitz,” “wingback” and “fumble.” Complete gibberish. I had no idea what was going on, but I was here to learn.
“Why do they wear black paint under their eyes, sweet pea?” I asked. But I don’t think he heard me. Just then a Bronco scored a touchdown and hubby was staring at the TV to watch the instant replay.
“How many points in a touch down?” I asked.
“Six for the touchdown and one for the extra point.”
“Why can’t the touchdown just be worth seven points and be done with it?”
“That’s the rules.”
“Stupid rules, if you ask me. What a waste of time.”
“Look if you don’t want to watch the game, why don’t you find something else to do . . . lamb chop?”
Here was my chance to make a break for it. Suddenly washing the dishes seemed like a vacation paradise. And even the thought of cleaning the toilets held some appeal. But I was determined to stick it out no matter what.
“No, that’s okay. I like watching the game . . . pudding lump.”
“Whatever you say . . . ginger snap.”
I was watching the little clock on the TV screen, counting the minutes until the first quarter was over. Hubby said the game comprised four quarters of fifteen minutes each. But the clock kept stopping. I was getting frustrated. The game would go on forever at this rate.
“Why does the clock keep stopping?” I demanded.
“That means a quarter doesn’t really last fifteen minutes . . . it’s more like half an hour. No wonder these football games are three hours long.” Silence from hubby. This encouraged me to continue:
“You know, those uniforms are pretty dirty; I wonder how they get those pants so white after a game. They must use special bleach. And speaking of uniforms, don’t you just love the Dolphins’ uniforms? They have that cute little dolphin on the sides of their helmets.”
I don’t know how it happened, but the game had only been on less than an hour and hubby had already finished off the six-pack. I had barely made a dent in my coke. He seemed kind of miffed, too, but I don’t know why. The Broncos were winning.