Tales Of A Football Fan—And His Wife

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How does a woman understand her husband's passion for football? The shoe metaphor.

"Well, imagine the two of you have been planning a huge party over the summer. You're looking forward to it so much; it's all you think about. Sometimes you can't even sleep. Then one day out of nowhere she tells you she's leaving for summer camp. One second you're best friends planning the biggest party ever, and the next minute her parents are stealing her away from you and shipping her off to some stupid summer camp. That's what it feels like."

"But you'll see her again, right? It's not like summer camp is forever," Stephanie says.

"Well, yeah. But it's not the same. You don't know if she'll be the same when she comes back. And besides, the party. It was going to be the best ever. And not having your friend or the party—when you were looking forward to it all that time—it breaks your heart. It was all that mattered."

Stephanie rolls onto her back and ponders the ceiling with me.

"I just lost by best friend," I mutter after a minute. At this, she props herself up on her elbows. "You're not going to cry, are you?" she asks.

I close my eyes and don't say a word. I replay the game in slow motion in my head, re-analyzing every play, daydreaming of how, if it had only gone differently, I'd still be cheering and pumping my fists in the air. I'd still have my cake and ice cream.

Part II. by Stephanie Powell

My husband, James, is lying in bed, moping because his beloved Green Bay Packers just lost some football game.

"It's just a game," I venture.

"A championship game," he corrects me. The game, excuse me—the championship game, ended two hours ago, and he's still in a bad mood because of it. Frankly, I don't get it. Football is okay. I'm as happy as the next person to throw back a few beers and down greasy pizza on Sunday afternoon while watching men in tight pants run across a field.

But the fact that James' mood revolves around weekly wins and losses? And that on any given Sunday for five months out of the year, his day can be made or ruined by a scoreboard? It boggles my mind. How To Trick Yourself Into Liking Football

"I don't understand why you're so upset," I say. "How can a game affect you so personally?"