A boomer’s dilemma: How to appease a sports fanatic?

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.

Yankee Stadium

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.

Janet’s husband ready to watch a game.

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.

Janet and her mother play Scrabble.

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.”


  1. Hi Janet. You should have married me…I cannot think of anything more boring that watching 22 grown men kick a bag of wind around a field (soccer) or looking at one man with a stick trying to get a small ball in a hole and taking half a day to it (golf)…

  2. You poor lady!

    Having to endure a l-o-n-g and frustrating season of NY Yankee baseball. I pity your dilemma so very much.

    Now if your husband were a Tampa Bay Rays fan as my wife’s husband is, then all your issues would be resolved!


    Yeah sports!!!


    1. Winning, losing. . I’m so not interested. His scrabble game has improved immeasurably as long as he’s allowed to look words up in the scrabble dictionary. Me, I just enjoy making pretty words on the board.

  3. Mom insisted he watch his games with the sound turned off…hilarious! I like the way both you and your mom kept the peace in the home and learned to live with sports fans.

  4. My parents, artists, loved sports. They didn’t play as children. The love of sports ambushed them as adults. I guess they balanced their creativity with the hardcore competitiveness of football, baseball, basketball. My mother even came to love watching golf on TV. Golf? I never understood their love of sports, but I was a little jealous. They seemed to get so much enjoyment out of it!

    1. I know of cases like that. A good friend fell in love with baseball in her 50’s and became a bigger fan than her husband. OMG Could it happen to us?

  5. I love this piece and it is so relatable. I play Scrabble and can’t take televised sports. My husband is a FAN atic! Funny and well written to boot!

  6. I loved this—very humorous!!
    I’m on the fence myself…… ice hockey fights turn my stomach. I’m trying to understand football and love watching the great quarterbacks. I’ve enjoyed some great basketball games down to the buzzer. But…..baseball brings me back to the days I sat next to my Dad watching the Yankees on black and white TV waiting for Mickey Mantle to hit a grand slam—-beautiful nostalgia. Today the two TV solution works for my husband and me. I can always escape to my historical fiction books.
    P.S. Great photo of your husband getting ready for the game! Wish I had the passion 🙂

  7. Hi Janet, I used to be a big baseball fan, then I moved to FL, met my hubby-who used to watch college football, then we decided there’s more to do outside, and now, I’m excited to say, no sports in my house!! Even while watching the news, I say “yuk”, as the sports caster comes on, and quickly turn the channel..

  8. Janet, I love your piece because I can relate so well. On of my first dates with my husband was to a double header. After about 45 minutes after the first inning, I said, “Is it almost over?” Your piece is funny. Thanks for sharing.

  9. As you can see from my email address I love the Yankees. But not this year!!!! They stink. All other sports I can live without. Lou feels the same way.

  10. Love this, Janet! I feel your pain. LOL! My husband is also a sports fanatic. Whenever he is watching a football game, I ask him what inning they are in. He groans, but it ends any potential sports related conversations….

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