By Jason Menard
Forget The Apprentice. If you want to see real wheeling and dealing at its finest, then look no further than the average household when the great debate is on. I’m not talking about politics or religion – no, the great debate in my house, and many others like it, revolves around one question – “Honey, can I watch the game tonight?”
To all you single men out there, please consider strongly any desire you may have to settle down if sports is really and truly a priority. Fortunately, I love my wife more than I love sports – but that doesn’t really make things any easier.
In my youth, I was the biggest sports fan around. I could rhyme of meaningless statistics, name the Stanley Cup winners from the past 50 years – in order, and talk insightfully about any number of sporting topics. My TV could have had only two channels, but as long as it picked up Hockey Night in Canada and TSN, I was a happy man.
Now, my TV has over 200 channels, we have time-shifting, and world broadcasts – yet it seems that somehow my wife has been able to install an S-chip without me even knowing it! I knew about V-chips that blocked violence from your screen, but I had no idea that there was a chip in development that eliminates even the hint of athleticism from the airwaves. At times, the most athletic activity that graces our screen is when the homeowners dash to their neighbours’ house in Trading Spaces…
I know there are other husbands just like me. In fact, I’ve seen them at work. When our single brethren ask us if we catch the game, our eyes shift about, we mumble something semi-coherent about being busy last night, and wonder to ourselves how it all came down to this. If we’re lucky, we’ll sneak a couple of minutes of highlights, or you’ll see us lingering in the TV section of the store on shopping excursions.
And this time of year is especially torturous. With Canadian and NFL football dominating the airwaves, basketball on its way, and hockey… well, during a normal year… we feel the same way as we do when we lose the car in a parking lot – we know what we’re looking for is nearby, but we can’t find our way to it! Like Tantalus, what we want is maddeningly close, but just out of reach.
I’ve tried to share my enthusiasm with sports with my wife, but she grew up in a household where organized sports weren’t a part of everyday life. So, try as I might, I can’t get her to see the joys of sport. “It’s just a bunch of overgrown man grabbing and hitting each other,” she’ll say.
I’ll try to explain the intricacies of football, or illustrate the speed and beauty of hockey, or get her to appreciate the athleticism of basketball players, but the response is the same. I suppose if the players went off and redesigned their dressing rooms between periods it would be a different story.
My favourite line of hers is, “Well, you watched sports today.” As if all manner of athletics can be lumped into one athletic stew to be ladled out judiciously. And I, like a modern-day Oliver Twist, must humbly hold up my remote saying, “Please ma’am, may I have some more?”
I am thankful to have two TVs, but that can be both a blessing and a curse. First, the bigger TV is never available for sports – I think it may be allergic to them. And when I ask why my wife won’t go in our bedroom to the smaller TV, the answer is invariably, “Well, that one doesn’t get all the channels.”
So, you may say, what’s the problem? Just get up and go to the other TV. Which is an option, but – as you may recall from a couple of paragraphs above – I do love my wife and enjoy spending time with her, so that’s not an option I’d really like to pursue.
Like an athlete in his older years, the game begins to get away from us. Yet, the joys of family far outstrip the pleasures derived from sports. Priorities change and the more important things in life come into focus as we mature. So, while I may look back fondly on my youthful engorgement in sports, I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for what I have today.
But the second she drops that remote…
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