When I married Bill, I did not realize how much I was going to learn about football. Not that I've learned anything about the rules or the teams or the players. I can't even tell you which teams are playing while we're watching the Super Bowl halftime show. I've already forgotten. There is no room for football in my brain, which is filled instead with rules about semicolons and information like where we keep the garlic press in the kitchen, and what a garlic press actually is.
During the first two years of our marriage, whenever I heard screaming coming from the room with the big TV, I thought Bill was hurt and I would go running. Now I've learned that he is just yelling at the officials, explaining things such as "That was holding!" or coaching the players with helpful instructions like "run!" If something did happen to him now, I would assume the screaming was related to the game. He could be lying on the floor bleeding and I wouldn't know.
Bill also believes that his team cannot win unless he watches the game. We are booking a vacation and we had to go on the internet this morning to figure out when the Giants are playing that week and what time the game will be on in Hawaii. Apparently, that Thursday I'll be drinking a pina colada alone on the beach while a certain someone supervises the game back in our room.
I may not have learned anything about football, but I have realized that it is part of a healthy marriage, at least for us. This was explained when I read the instruction manual, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. As John Gray writes, a man "watches a football game to release his stress and unwind. He releases his mind from trying to solve his own problems by solving the problems of his favorite team." Whether his team wins or loses, "his mind is released from the grip of his real problems."
Women, on the other hand, relax by taking a bubble bath, talking on the phone with friends or reading a novel. I just finished telling Bill about the plotline in a novel as if I were relating events that happened to real people. He listened politely, probably because he's read the Mars and Venus instruction manual too.
When my friends complain about their husbands watching football I tell them they have it all wrong. They should rejoice in their football widowhood, and then they should pick out a few good books.
Get your football fix with a similar story, "Sidelined" from Chicken Soup for the Single's Soul.
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