As any married baby boomer has long since learned, marriage is a… um… journey. That’s what Janet Garber of Somers, New York, discovered, because her husband is a sports fanatic. She’s not!
Men have offered themselves up to me from time to time in the last five decades, offering to assume a role I have not wished upon them, never would have wished upon them, unless I’d run out of every other single entertainment in the whole wide world and was in the mood for a bit of torture.
They offer to be my very own Sports Interpreter.
The first time this happened, I was taken to a Penn State football game by a fellow grad student. He chose not to hear my protestations, nor notice any indications of boredom, nor entertain any other outcome of our first date other than my emerging a born-again sports aficionado. I swear I made an effort to concentrate, to distinguish one team from another, to grasp the scoring rules, but…..
I’d grown up in a household with a sports enthusiast. Dad would watch any sport on TV. He claimed he’d been a mighty pitcher. And he never failed to win a free turkey for Thanksgiving when his bowling league prevailed in the yearly tournament.
However, his enthusiasm for sports did not make it down to his three children. Was this because Mom insisted he watch his games with the sound turned off?
Now married to a diehard Yankees fan, one year I decided to appease him by hosting a Super Bowl party.
The afternoon went off without a hitch. I was in and out of the kitchen, arranging the appetizers, heating up hors d’oeuvres, serving platters of hot food, until I asked, “What inning are we up to?”
To this day, they’re still teasing me. Really?!? I’d like to quiz them on the last five books they read, live music concerts they went to, mountain hikes they tried to take!
But back to my husband. He’s pretty hard core into sports, and into sports statistics, and into this little old baseball game he drags out of the basement. He plays imaginary baseball with dead players.
I’m not, and I don’t. So he accuses me of being un-American! Of thwarting his love affair with sports! Of stubbornly refusing to learn about sports. Well, this is both true and untrue. Literally, true. But what about my sports? Scrabble? Yeah, I’m a serious threat. Miniature golf? Bring it on. Ping-pong? You’re talking to a one-time Women’s Ping-pong Champion!
So what’s the effect on my marriage? Two TVs are a lifesaver. Mine plays a foreign movie; his, a game, naturally. He threatens to take me to an actual game someday, the kind you can’t just turn off with your remote.
Fine. Meanwhile, he’s learned how to play a mean game of scrabble.
Janet is the author of “Dream Job: Wacky Adventures of an HR Manager.”