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Chicago Fri Feb 22 2013

Sports vs. Significant Others' Happiness: A Guy's Guide to Compromising

MeAnn.jpgMy wife and I just celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary last week on Valentine's Day (no, I'm not that hopeless of a romantic. It was cheaper and it scored points with my in-laws so that they didn't have to make plans). And overall, we have been together for nearly six wonderful, glorious, fun-filled years, where I feel we have both learned so much, not just about our favorite music and foods, but about what makes us tick as individuals.

Early on in the relationship, my wife got an inside look at my love for the Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Bears and, sadly, one of my favorite pastimes, fantasy sports. While dating, I would come over on Sundays and take over her front room by snagging her laptop to monitor football scores, while flipping between the Fox and CBS games.

Needless to say, she had the patience of a Saint while I marched my way through the playoffs to eventually capture my first ever fantasy sports championship. I had my good luck charm in her, and she got a nice dinner out of the winnings.

Eventually, as our relationship grew and blossomed, she grew a little less patient with my Sunday antics and asked if we could begin to split time with the television and perhaps give her some time with her laptop.

At first I was a little annoyed with the prospect of not watching football, especially the Bears, because she wanted to catch up on the DVR with episodes of Battestar Galactica. But I knew I was lucky enough to be with someone who, for some reason, found me to be attractive while not wearing a shirt.

The wedding went off without a hitch, I continued to play in more fantasy leagues, including a fantasy golf pool with some in-laws, and I continued to watch HBO Boxing on Saturday nights, followed up by a NASCAR race on Sunday mornings. That is, unless, my wife wanted to watch "The Real Housewives of [INSERT CITY HERE]."

I've learned that lounging in my recliner while watching a B1G basketball game on CBS doesn't have the same payoff unless I've put in a load of laundry and took the Swiffer(R) to the hardwood floor. And now that we have a beautiful baby daughter in our house, I am happy to step up the necessary duties to make sure this tiny human has enough food in her belly and zero crap in her diaper.

The good news for other sports fans looking to learn how to compromise with their mate is the invention of the smart phone. With the advent of Twitter and the ESPN ScoreCenter app, we are now able to run out for that half gallon of skim milk and US Weekly without missing a beat.

Your better half wants to catch up on the "Say Yes to the Dress" marathon on TLC? Give her your blessing and a kiss on the forehead, while you tune your MLB Gameday Audio and cheer on the Sox!

Sure, I might not watch every game I want in real time, but do I really need to? Not really. I mean sure, it would be nice to catch an awesome Patrick Kane goal live as it happens, but, as you just saw from clicking on that link, I can watch it over and over again via Youtube.

And hey, I don't know about you, but I have a wife who, after a glass of wine and with a gas fireplace set on medium-high, is zonked out on the couch at 8:30 p.m. Guess who gets to watch all of period three in tonight's Balckhawks - San Jose Sharks game? This guy!

So rest easy, fellas, and let your lady laugh along with the cast of "Bunheads" and their wacky antics, while you take out the recycling. A happy mate is worth, at the very least, a Bulls win over the Hornets.


Dena / February 22, 2013 2:43 PM

Well, when my man is busy watching sports on TV, I simply take his charge plate, gather up my lady friends, and drive the Edsel to Bonwitt-Teller in 1962!

Oddmonster / February 22, 2013 2:52 PM

Bet your wife's just thrilled to be your good luck charm; you know how the ladies like to be objectified.

Also, do you have any advice for women who like sports but are married to some dude stuck in 1959?

Veronica / February 22, 2013 3:04 PM

I seriously feel bad for this guy's daughter. She's got her work cut out for her. Perhaps the first time some dude gives her the same crap, he'll realize how sexist this article is.

Kaz / February 22, 2013 6:24 PM

Though I very much love the snarky replies to this article, I am going to post this comment under the assumption that there is a learning opportunity here, and that the gross sexism displayed in this article is the result of just a lack of thought and not malice.

Here's the thing, author: You turned a story about individuals into a generalization about everyone. That this generalization fits the standard gender role tropes is what makes it sexist (and heteronormative).

What you could have done was take your story and use it as a springboard to write a guide for all PEOPLE who live with other people who don't share their love for sports. It could be a wife whose husband hates sports (they exist). It could be a gay couple with one sports-lover and one reality-TV lover. It could be partners who both like sports but one prefers NASCAR and the other watches college basketball. It could be roommates of any possible combination of genders and sports watching habits.

Instead you saw your experience, and because it fit the dominant (and I'd argue, incorrect) societal pattern of "men like sports" and "women hate sports and like vapid TV shows" you extrapolated, assuming everyone would be nodding their heads in agreement.

In so doing, you alienated and offended your readers and perpetuated incorrect and unhelpful stereotypes. In addition, it made it (frankly) boring because it's nothing we haven't heard before in countless trashy magazine articles and prime time sitcoms. Reframing the piece in a different way could have not only prevented offending your readers, it would have made it a more clever piece.

Veronica / February 22, 2013 10:31 PM

great comment, Kaz. But it's not even the lazy trope of "women don't like sports & us men have to figure out how to live with our women & sports." He also throws in how minimal he appears to be engaged in parenting. Perhaps it is a very poor use of snark embedded in the sexist writing...dunno. It's as if he tried to write the most offensive thing he could write. Considering that we're in Chicago and we can clearly see just as many women sporting team hats as men, the evolution of sports attire to include "girly cut" and not always in pink, and so forth.

I had to come back to see what others might have said. Also this piece is just so terrible that it is haunting.

And where's the compromise? My parents were a better model of wife=non-sports fan & husband=sports addict. When Cubs games were on, she would occasionally sit and watch with him. Eventually she grew to enjoy the game and looked forward to hanging out at Wrigley with my dad and me. On the flip side, he watched some of her shows too. He didn't listen on an earpiece to another game. That's compromise.

mickey mantle / March 8, 2013 8:49 PM

Nice story men. It is indeed wonderful that your wife love what you love. Not all women do that. Congratulations also!

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