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Friday, September 2, 2011

Today is the day before Labor Day Weekend. A day when nobody works until 5. A day when grocery stores are selling out of cold, girly alcoholic drinks, and selling watermelon with huge signs--to give the appearance of a sale--that show a price that is 20 percent higher than it was yesterday.

It is the subtle, understated opening to the weekend that signifies the packing of our beach gear and the pondering of our rain jackets.

But more than anything it is the day before college football makes its glorious return to the male landscape.


When I was single--which would, for the most part, be the period that stretches from birth until last August--it was just another chapter of the year.

Of course I’m going to get up at 7:00 to watch College Gameday on ESPN---how else am I going to know what Iowa’s 5th-year-senior quarterback thinks about their annual meeting with Minnesota?  

And of course I’m going to throw on purple head to toe (like a real man) and be the first person to our tailgate to mentally and digestively prepare for the University of Washington’s opening game.  

And of course I’m going to drink all morning, recharge during the game (no alcohol in NCAA events, kiddies!) and then drink all night.

I mean--it’s football season right?

Well there are occasional not-so-subtle changes to lifestyle when you gain a "plus 1".  Among them is the inability to say (with a straight face) that you’re going to be busy every Saturday between Labor Day and the middle of April. (Let’s not forget about college basketball and The Masters!).  

That part I was prepared for.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the reality of the overplayed television plot between man and wife/girlfriend/whatever for making plans during these sacred events. I guess I just always assumed that the person I married would be like my mother (who lived in a house of all men for the majority of her married life) and go along with it. But apparently, that isn’t the case...
I’m lucky. Melissa enjoys sports, and is entirely understanding of my obsession with them...but she isn’t a "fan" per say. She’s just tolerant.  And when I’m honest, I guess that’s what I want, as I realize that the female sports fan has suddenly become broken into several very distinctly undesirable groups.  

Allow me to articulate, making gross-generalizations that I hope several people take personally:

"Don’t-even-think-about-its": The name pretty well explains it. She doesn’t like sports. She doesn’t tolerate sports. And she certainly isn’t going to give you a free pass to bail on plans with her to watch them yourself.
Ironically, if you ask any of these women what their ideal man is, "athletic" will be in their first three descriptors.  

(You may also know these women as "Controllers", "Killjoys", "Shoppers", or "Hellspun Devil Witches".)

Positives: You married a woman. You can be certain she will never leave you for her doubles-partner. And you’re going to look great in that pink shirt she has you trying on.
Negatives: I hope you have the Internet on your phone--because your days of watching sports are officially over.  Poor a glass of pinot grigio out for your homies...

"Posers": You know her--when a big sporting event is on the horizon, she has big plans for "the game".  When a season is approaching, or a local team is suddenly in 1st place, she won’t shut up about how she’s a "die-hard fan". She says moronic things like, "I’m so glad we won!" (Really? "We"? I don’t recall seeing a lot of women playing in that NFL game. I must have missed you...)  She has one t-shirt or hat of whatever her go-to pretend favorite team is. She'll actually argue that she is a bigger fan than you, despite knowing no more than 30% of the players on that team at any given time.  
My best friend Bill lived in a disgusting garage our junior year in college.  In September though, it was actually a pretty good place to hang out and have a few beers because it stayed so much cooler than the rest of the house. One random Tuesday night, five guys and one girl (who was hopelessly trying to sleep with one of Bill’s roommates) were watching Sportscenter and having a couple Busch Lights.  At some point, the guy she’s trying to sleep with pops in a dump-truck-sized wad of Copenhagen, and she says, "Man--there’s nothing like having a chew and watching Sportscenter."
Needless to say, we murdered her.  

(You may also know these women as "Annoying", "Eternally single", "The Office Slut", or "’s ____")

Negatives: You have to listen to her when she uses her two descriptors to describe teams.  They either "suck" or "are awesome", depending upon whatever the last person she talked to said about them.
Positives: She will sleep with you if you take her to a game on a first date, she will never complain about you watching sports, and there is an outside chance that she still looks 3% feminine.

"Lesbians": She has seven jerseys. She actually makes sports bets.  She doesn’t really know anything about what is going on on a football field, but she has three fantasy teams, and one of those leagues is with nine of her lesbian friends.  
But she isn’t actually a lesbian.  Or so she thinks.
She dates men--and often marries them.  And for some reason, on sports-radio and terrible television, she’s thought of as a sex-symbol.  How many times have you heard an iteration of "And she loves the Broncos! She’s perfect!"?  Countless.
Well--the reason she’s perfect for loving the Broncos is because you actually love men.  Or more-likely, she actually loves women.
(You may also know her as: "Your local LPGA Golf Pro.")

Positives: Season tickets are the first line-item in the family budget.
Negatives: Your wife pees standing up.

And finally...

"Tolerators": I’ll spare you the belabouring, as I’m using the common editorial tactic of dancing around the concluding statement to deliver a summation statement that amounts to "and I wouldn’t have it any other way."
But essentially, The Tolerator doesn’t care one way or another about sports. She puts up with them because we love them. Or because our kids love them.  In my case, Melissa realizes that for the three hours once-a-week that the University of Washington is playing football or basketball, she could tell me that a family of spitting cobras has taken up residence in the bathtub and probably couldn’t grab my attention.
Sometimes she watches. Normally when a friend’s wife, normally a "Poser" or another "Tolerator" is around.
But most of the time she just schedules a lunch with her mom, or a shopping date with a friend, or one of those naked pillow fights that every man believes exist but do not actually.  
And she just tolerates my habit.

(You may also know her as: "Television wife", "Soccer Mom", or "Person So Great That Even Though I Know She Doesn’t Read the Garbage I Write, I Know Some of Her Friends Do and I Don’t Want to Take the Risk of Implying That I’d Rather Be With Someone from the Lesbian Group at Times")

Positives: Napkins suddenly appear mystically whenever you pull out chips and dip, the kids always have a ride to games, and there is an outside chance that your daughter will not have a tongue-ring.
Negatives: None, honey. You’re perfect in every way.  Especially when we’re just talking and I have a game on in the background on mute and you don’t even know it is on and you say, "Can we watch something else?" That’s adorable and totally not ridiculous.

P.S. I mentioned the "we" issue when discussing "Posers".  If there are any single women out there, don’t date "We" Guys.  The guys that only refer to the local team--which they probably don’t know a thing about--as "we".  "We won". "We need better blocking." "We are going to win the division this year."  We Guys are the lowest possible rung of man.  

I know that there is a certain sense of loyalty and pride when the local team succeeds, but people who take credit for the actions of others are not to be tolerated.

"We" didn’t win that game. "They" did.

"We" don’t need better pitching, "They" do.

"We" are simply fans. And you aren’t a very good one, We Guy.  

Seriously though--how is this possibly acceptable behavior?  Does this turd go to a concert of his favorite band, then come home and when someone asks how the concert went, says, "WE had a great set last night."??

I need to stop.  

Sorry...I'm not done.

For those of you who are using BS excuses like, "I went to college there, I can say we!", "I’ve been a fan my whole life", or my favorite, "I’m a season-ticket holder--I’ve earned it!", just stop.  Please. Before you look any more ridiculous.

You may have gone to college there. But you didn’t play football or basketball or even something femmy like tennis there.  You just went there.

I don’t remember seeing you running stairs in the heat of summer preparing for the season when the guys who can actually say "we" were.  I know you’re disappointed after a loss, but "we" don’t get trashed in the media the next morning, "They" do.  
(I’m pretty sure I stopped addressing the women who date We Guy and began scolding We Guy himself at some point in that rant. But you’re smart. I’m sure you can figure it out...)

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