Sunday, October 24, 2010

On Thanks-gaming...

I should love this time of year: the leaves embrace fall fashion, the sun is shining, the air is crisp, and everybody is gearing up for the magic of the holidays…and then there it is, the big crack in my personal paradise. Fall sports season. Almost any day of the week you can drive through a typical suburban neighborhood anywhere in America and see not-so-festive flickering lights in nearly every house on the street as someone lurks inside watching games, games and more games, while the kids exploit the lapse in supervision to put one of their Hot Wheels in the microwave. Picture-in-picture, dueling television sets, computer screens, cell phones – you name the multimedia device –they’re using it for sports numb. I’m not just complaining about the men either. I recently lost at least six ladies to a local college football game when I hosted a baby shower – and that included one of my co-hosts. I’m thankful for a lot of stuff, but the very dependable tradition of fall sports addiction is not one of them. I say, bah humbug to it all.

Last week my husband told me that I “didn’t understand.” That the fall sports season is the “perfect storm for sports fans.” Then he went into an energized rant as he rattled off all the pieces to the puzzle: pro football, college football, major league baseball playoffs, pre-season pro-basketball— even hockey season —all coming together to make him forget he has kids and a wife who is still struggling to rebuild brain cells from her two swings at pregnancy. In fact, I hadn’t seen him that animated since he rediscovered his whitewashed Guns & Roses jacket in the attic last winter.

I know I’m a girl, but I seriously don’t get it. I used to play sports so I technically get it, but assuming the couch position to watch other people making big bucks to play a game seems painful. Pretty soon it will be Thanksgiving Day, the mother of all spectator sports days, and a tradition that’s been in place since the 1920s. I know because I looked it up. I don’t even think people care what they’re watching after awhile — they’re just mesmerized by the flying pigskin and pretty lights on the big screen. And sitting in front of the TV means you won’t have to hear Aunt Ida talk about her latest colonoscopy results.

I asked my husband the other day if we could take the kids for a hike and enjoy the beautiful weather. His eyes were shifty as he so eloquently said, “uh, well…um…” to which I responded with an impatient, “What?” So he just came out with it. “Well, my game is on at 3:30.” “YOUR game?” I repeated. “I’m sorry, YOUR game? Really?? Are you getting any monetary benefit from wasting three to five hours of your life that you can NEVER get back sitting in front of the television getting an ulcer while you’re giving directives to people who can’t hear you, and furthermore don’t care? I sincerely hope so, because you’re going to need it for the marriage COUNSELORRRRRR!”

I know there was a reason I married him, but just by looking at him now, you wouldn’t think he’s the smartest member of the fan base, or for that matter anyone who could have turned my head. All his goofy hats come out, previous championship t-shirts, and we don’t have any, but if we did, no doubt all the appropriate team flags and blow up sports paraphernalia would be garnishing our lawn and car. I ask him to tape the games so he won’t miss out on life, but he insists, again, that I “don’t understand.” He has to watch it live because it’s “history in the making” and if he’s not “there” apparently he can’t claim it as part of his own history. To which I say it is NOT part of your history, because if it were, I’d have a nanny, a gourmet chef, a personal trainer and be spending my holidays beachside living the dream on our shared profits.

Listen, I’d like to spend three and a half hours watching back-to-back Oprah makeover shows while Brad Pitt gives me a foot massage and George Clooney brings me dirty martinis, but there’s laundry to do, dishes to wash and sanity to reclaim. So honey, if you want to start making an investment in your future living conditions, which will happen sooner than you think, and be decided on by your children, I suggest you choose another team. Their jerseys usually sport a culinary roadmap from snack time to their evening chow, they’re not the most coordinated bunch and will often score points for the other team, but you will have ample opportunity to shout instructions that fall on deaf ears. And if you do choose the team of tiny people who share your DNA, I promise I’ll cancel that appointment I made with the therapist.