I smile when I hear "Touchdown!" shouted from the living room. There I am in the kitchen making dinner while my wife watches the televised NFL playoff game on a Sunday afternoon. After 27 years of marriage, this is a perfectly normal scene for us.
"Are you watching the game again?" I shout.
"Yeah," she admits.
We both see the humor in the situation—this does not fit the stereotype of men and sports.
I grew up in a family where sports was not a major part of life. We played an occasional game of badminton or croquet and maybe tossed a softball, but we never followed sports in the newspaper or on television. When it came to baseball cards, I chewed the gum and threw out the cards. When I read the newspaper, the sports section went untouched.
All of that changed when I met my wife. As our relationship blossomed, so did my understanding of sports. Under her guidance, I learned about college basketball and March Madness along with terms like Sweet Sixteen and the Final Four. We and our kids now enjoy the annual tradition of filling out the brackets, even if it frustrates me that her bracket predictions are usually more accurate than mine.
She and her sports interest helped get my career off to a good start by coaching me on how to be a good Chicago Cubs fan. I was working in Moline, Ill., and my boss was a diehard Cubs groupie. My wife would say, "Here's what you need to know about the Cubs game last night." She would fill me in on key plays and exciting moments. At work, I was able to talk intelligently about the game with my boss and coworkers. They would nod and smile as I would say, "Did you see that catch in the eighth inning?"
When we lived near Detroit, it did not take long for her to get me hooked on Pistons basketball. These were the heady days of the late 1980s when the Pistons were fighting the Boston Celtics in the NBA finals. If it wasn't for her, I might have missed all those close games. We have many good memories as a young couple shouting at the television during nail-biting finishes.