Saturday, July 13, 2013

One more reason to love July

I like July. Not because the kids are out of school or because the days are hot and long and sunny.

Actually, I'm not much of a fan of either of those things.

I like July because it's quiet at my house, even with six kids around all day long.

Why is it quiet? Because basketball ended in June and football won't start until August.

I should have known I was in trouble the first time I went to Sunday dinner at my future-in-laws' house. Their family room is connected to the dining room, and the guys were all flipping back and forth between several football games. When it came time for dinner, we gathered around the table and muted the game for the prayer. As soon as the food was blessed, the volume was turned back on before any of the dishes were passed.

I figured it was a fluke. It must be a really important game they were watching.

A few weeks later, we went to the BYU-Utah football game at Cougar Stadium. As the Cougars struggled, my love set his jaw and clenched his fists. When the Utes tore down our goalposts, he looked like he wanted to murder someone.

I figured that, too, was a fluke. Maybe he was just in a bad mood that day.

It wasn't a fluke. But I was in love, and I figured that once he found something more diverting to occupy his time (me), my sweetheart would mellow from a rabid sports fan into a guy like my dad.
My dad cheered for all of the Cleveland teams, the Jets and Giants equally, the Nicks, and always the Mets over the Yankees. But whenever there was anything important going on in the house, the TV or the radio was turned off, and he'd catch up on the game later by listening to sports radio in the car. He knew a lot about sports, and had opinions about sports, but watching every second of every single game was not a priority.

My missionary begged for sports updates in his letters from home. My groom sent his brothers out of our wedding reception to get updates on the Jazz playoff game. In 2002, we watched the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics while I was in labor with our second child. In 2004, we watched Game 3 of the American League Championship (the last game the Yankees won) while I was in labor with our third child, and spent the next night watching Game 4, when the Red Sox turned the tide and won every game for the rest of the season. Since I am not a sports fan, I have very spotty sports knowledge-- I know absolutely nothing about really basic things (like offsides rules in hockey and soccer), but lots and lots about arcane details (especially if there's a 30 on 30 documentary about the subject). We plan our vacations, his work schedule, and my races around the BYU football schedule. Our kids all shoot baskets in the back yard, whether they want to or not. Last year, when we were in China adopting our daughter, my husband spent one night sitting the bathroom of our hotel room to listen to the BYU Men's Basketball team play in the NCAA tournament. Twenty years after that first Sunday dinner, we're still muting the television for the prayer.

Football season feels all-encompassing; I celebrate when the Super Bowl ends no matter who is playing. But when football ends, basketball and hockey are in full swing. It's not until the last NBA playoff game is done in June the house falls silent again (golf, tennis, and baseball are quiet sports, relatively speaking). My husband jokes that he likes every sport except NASCAR and bowling, but I find that joke a little too true to be funny.

I have lots of friends who gloat the fact that their husbands don't like sports, or at least not as much as mine does. But although I am not a fan of the sound of a football stadium in my family room five nights a week for five months, I don't want to change my husband, to stomp out this passion in his life. I love that he and his dad and brothers call each other all the time to "talk about the game," and that he gets together with his parents almost every week for BYU football and basketball games, which also make for perfect dates with the kids. But even more than that, I think it's important to respect, and even encourage the things he loves, just like he gives me a lot of latitude to run 20 miles on a Saturday morning, start a graduate program when I had four small children, and to sit next to him on the couch on a Saturday night, tapping out a blog post... while he watches soccer on TV.


Karey said...

Great post. Although I'm probably a bigger basketball fan than my husband, I'm completely with you on all the other sports.

Blue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blue said...

my thoughts about whatever anyone is interested in are the three simple words, "s/he gets to". i also agree that it's important to celebrate all the varied and unique and even common interests people have. even though your average 4th grade boy knows more about sports than me, and no one in my family cares much (i hope i haven't gloated about that!) about sports, what's not to love about a fan? go team! ♥