I suppose I should have expected this: It is mid-March, the time when many a man's fantasy turns to college hoops. In the coming weeks, I knew from experience, there would be brackets to fill out and seemingly endless games to watch with hawk-like vigor. But that wasn't all.
For three weeks a year, Jon logs endless hours on the phone talking to friends, who discuss players as if they know them. Is J.R. Reynolds an old buddy from college I haven't met yet?, I'll wonder. Oh, right, no, he's a guard at UVa.
The scary thing is that basketball isn't his favorite sport. Not even close. We have two front pages from the Red Sox World Series victory framed in our living room, and a small painting of Fenway Park in the bedroom. We are proud owners of baseball bobble head dolls and a less popular item called a CelebriDuck in the shape of Nomar Garciaparra. (The Dodgers first baseman, if you must know.)
Still, there's a special intensity that surrounds March Madness. It's not a tournament; it's a way of life for weeks. And when I gripe, Jon reminds me how much time and energy I waste, say, knitting. Thank God. In March, I have no choice but to become one with my needles. Stop His Neglect in 3 Steps
In fairness, I don't completely hate basketball. I attended the University of Maryland and catch their games whenever I can. In college, I even once slept out overnight for tickets to their games, and, since then, I've filled out a bracket or two, pretty much blindly filling in names. "The University of Minnesota's mascot is the Golden Gopher," I'd think to myself. "I like gophers."
But the concept of watching some obscure team play some other obscure team simply because it's the Big Dance holds no appeal for me. Jon, though, isn't the type of guy to do anything halfway. Just as he makes it a point to read every last article in the New Yorker like it's homework, he checks ESPN's website as if his life depends on it. And it's a quality I usually kind of love about him.
So I try to understand when he needs to conduct an in-person meeting with his fantasy league to discuss strategy before their "draft." After all, this three weeks of madness is an American tradition. In more magnanimous moods, I'll even allow that it's a ritual, really—a way he connects with his friends and family and coworkers. And how selfish would I be to stand in the way of male bonding?
Besides, last time, as Jon never fails to remind me, his betting prowess paid for a nice dinner out at a French bistro. So I guess this means I just have to choose my romantic moments with as much precision as he does his bracket picks. April 2, after all, is Red Sox opening day.