On Being A Diehard Sports Fan…And Marrying Someone Who Doesn’t Give A Shit About Sports » VSB

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On Being A Diehard Sports Fan…And Marrying Someone Who Doesn’t Give A Shit About Sports

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the NBA playoffs. This, the two month span between mid-April and mid-June, is my favorite time of the year. Not my favorite sports time. There are no qualifiers. No other time of year — not my birthday, not Thanksgiving, not the season premiere of Hannibal — gives me as much pleasure as the NBA playoffs do.

For those who know me this shouldn’t be too surprising. My relationship with basketball — both as a player and as an appreciator — is no secret, so naturally I’d be excited for the time of the year that features the best basketball players on Earth playing the best basketball on Earth.

My love for sports, however, extends beyond the NBA. I love NCAA basketball. And high school basketball. And pro football. And college football. And playing flag football (which I plan to do this weekend). And following the Pittsburgh Pirates. And maybe even watching a hockey game or two if it’s the playoffs and I can’t find my remote.

I read about sports. I talk about sports. I write about sports. I even frequent sports message boards to read other people’s conversations about sports. And, as of a couple months ago, I started helping out this local AAU basketball team, so now I’m coaching sports.

And I’m married to someone who doesn’t give a shit about any of this.

Actually, let me rephrase that. She likes that I’m active. She likes that my relationship with basketball has allowed me to grow close with her little brother and nephew — both of whom are budding basketball players. And she finds humor in how many seemingly random people I give pounds to when we’re out together because I know them through basketball. (She also thinks hi-fives and chest bumps should be incorporated in more aspects of life. Which I agree with. Why limit them to great athletic feats? If your spouse cooks a bomb-ass meal, wouldn’t a kitchen flying chest bump be appropriate?)

But, as far as the actual sports? She could give less than two shits about any of it. She gives less shits about sports than Big Sean gives about bars. To her, there’s no difference between me watching the Cavs and the Celtics this weekend or me watching a group of mice in Cavs and Celtics uniforms chase after a ball of feta cheese.

Naturally, this leads to one question: How did a person so consumed by sports marry someone who doesn’t give a damn about any of it?

My answer? I have no idea. 

Seriously. I have no idea how this happened. I have no idea how I managed to find and marry one of the 16 women in Pittsburgh who are not sports fans. This is not hyperbole, btw. Shit, there might not even be 16 women in the city who don’t give a damn about sports. I was being generous. The number’s probably closer to three. 

I also have no idea how she happened. One of her uncles was a star basketball player in college. Her family is filled with former high school football, basketball, and baseball players. A cousin is a star volleyball player. I already mentioned her little brother and nephew. But I didn’t mention her youngest nephew, who happens to be one of the better young quarterbacks in the city.

And she’s 5’9 and is in good enough shape to run marathons. She could have very easily been a sprinter, or a shooting guard, or a whatever the hell the positions are in volleyball. But she never tried out for any teams. And, aside from the year in high school she was a cheerleader, never stepped foot on any court or field. Shit, when I first met her, I assumed she must’ve at least played something in high school. But the only thing she played was the piccolo.

As you can imagine, this dynamic has caused a bit of friction. This is her least favorite time of the year, precisely because it’s my favorite and it being my favorite means that our marriage will now become an awkward, sexless threesome between us and the NBA playoffs. I’ve probably missed entire books worth of words she’s said to me while I was engrossed in a game or the highlights of a game or (her personal favorite) watching the live boxscore of a game that’s not being televised. And she now knows that if I’m watching a basketball game and I say there’s only “two minutes left,” it actually means “well, maybe 22 to 24 minutes…if it doesn’t go to overtime.”

But overall it’s been much less of an issue than I would have expected it to be. In fact, it’s even been a positive. She doesn’t hate sports, she just doesn’t really know much about them, so watching games together — and explaining what the double bonus means or the point of hedging on a screen — has been fun. Also, she has soft eyes. Basically, she doesn’t watch much, and not watching much allows her to observe certain things when she does watch that people hyperfocused on the action might miss. Like how the San Antonio Spurs’ logo contains an actual spur in it. Or how John Calipari always speaks like he’s speaking to 20 million different people at the same time. And she even took “taking one for the team” to a completely different level this year when she surprised me on Valentine’s Day with tickets to a Cavs/Heat game.

The real test, however, will be when we have kids. Because there will be a basketball in the crib, our son or daughter will have a flawless follow-through before they learn how to spell their name (just like I did), and we will be attending countless grade school and rec league and AAU and high school basketball games (just like my parents did).

Unless, of course, they decide to take after their mother, which…well, wouldn’t be a bad thing either. I’ve grown to like piccolos too.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    This post showed up like a wayward father in from a night of drinking………………….

    This is my life right here. I’ve been successful in getting Mrs. SS93 to like the Steelers and she knows when track and field comes on to leave me alone and hand me a box of tissues. However, I do get tired of:

    Why are you watching this NBA game; this isn’t even the Lakers.
    Why are you watching some high school team from Wyoming and Utah play?
    Canadian Football???
    Cricket?? Since when did we get the Indian ESPN station??? This must be a free weekend right?
    Since when did you start watching futbol???
    The World Hop Scotch Championship???? Go downstairs and work out or something!!

    • This post showed up like a wayward father in from a night of drinking………………….

      or the dad who finally returned from “getting cigarettes”…

    • Ol’ boy from LSU broke 45 second in the 400 recently. Can’t remember his name. My b00ty hurts just thinking of a 400

      • Sigma_Since 93

        My buns, hams, and lungs all began to hurt when you said 400m and sub 45 no less.

        • My body hurts just thinking about running any time for a 400. I got ghost when this and the 4×4 rolled around.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            I was never that lucky….I was the anchor of our 4×4 team. For all the pain it caused, I do miss the fans yelling whoop when you’re reeling folks in.

  • ED

    I’m lucky my wife is a sports fan. When a game’s on we know what channel the tv will be one. Sometimes she’s even more interested in watching a game than I am. That has its drawbacks, surprisingly. When I say I’m gonna go watch the game with the fellas, if she has no plans, her response usually is “who am I gonna watch the game with?” or “I don’t care what your friends think, I’m coming”.

  • I’m young with less experience than the average VSB writer and reader so take this with a diabetic helping of salt. Outside of being/attempting to be a professional athlete, I think sports is probably one of the easier passions to have to deal with when your partner is completely uninvested in it. It’s a huge time sink…for a portion of the treat at a given time. It’s not really 24/7/365 thing unless you’re one of those who is obsessed with every sport.

    I think being married to a writer, for someone who is ambivalent to it, is probably much much harder. Or just being around a struggling artist in any discipline.

    • Damon Young

      so it must really be hard being married to a sports diehard…who also happens to be a writer…and also happens to write about the marriage, huh?

      • I can deal with a blogger, dating a novelist <<<<

  • I wouldn’t call myself a die hard outside of football but Moneypenny watches football so we both have teams we pull for so we balance each other out. Her NFL team (Indy) is much better than mine (Oakland) so that usually ends up in taunting. As for college we both watch Bama and South Carolina so we’re stuck in two different types of paranoia that comes with pulling for those squads.

    I consume most baseball causally so I can catch the A’s in boxes scores so she never deals with that.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Sooooo when Bama’s playing the Cocks, who ya got???

    • Sigma_Since 93

      It’s a nickname for the school disqus!!!!!

      Moderation geesh

      • Sigma_Since 93

        The best t shirt ever made. My USC peeps would never trade with me so I could get one. Wu you got one of these you are willing to part with??

  • Aly

    Me, when he starts talking about fantasy soccer… (I would love to go to a live game, though)


    • That’s me when people try to explain soccer or being a libertarian.

      • Aly

        Lol. Yes to both.

    • Reemo

      Fantasy soccer is a real thing? Why would one subject them-self to that

      • Aly

        These are good questions that deserve answers lol.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      (I would love to go to a live game, though)

      In America. The European hooligans making racists chants would make me feel some kind of way. Maybe a World Cup game that Brazil’s playing in.

      • The appeal of National Socialism in those nations always intrigued me. Especially in Russia and Greece.

        • tical

          come to a game in the UK, I live in England and racism isnt really a problem as in some dark corners of Europe but you do get idiots anywhere

          • ChiChi

            I enjoyed myself at soccer and rugby games when visiting family in England and Scotland. I’ve always been a sports fan and miss the crowd chants from HS/College; they chant

      • Aly

        Yup, I’ve heard all about those racist chants smh.

        • Rob

          Are Blacks as smart as Whites?

          • PunchDrunkLove

            You just asked me the same question from a different topic……AND posted a dissertation to prove some sort of point (I guess), in which I DID NOT read, btw. Trolling much?

      • Dougie

        Live soccer games abroad are awesome. I’ve been to the last 3 world cups. There’s no other sporting event like the world cup. It’s better than the Superbowl.

    • PunchDrunkLove

      This is too cute

      • Aly

        It also applies to boring meetings after lunch on a Friday.

        • PunchDrunkLove

          I feel ya….

    • Fantasy soccer? May the odds be ever in your favor.

      • Aly

        Thank you, sir.

    • miss t-lee

      LOL!!!! Fantasy soccer? I didn’t even know that was a thing…lol
      Live games are fun, though!

  • Melissa

    Could not marry someone that isn’t into football and really, REALLY could not marry someone that hates the Patriots. Currently that makes about 4 million men a no-go for me…. and I’m okay with that. I mean, if you can’t love me when I’m refusing to leave the house because, like, round 5 of the NFL Draft is on, you can’t love me at all!


  • Since I’ve given a crap about Bama longer I usually pull for Bama. (Carolina played less than watchable football for the bulk of my lifetime.) The last time they played Carolina neck punched them and I was strangely pleased with that. Even before kickoff I was sitting on the couch like “this feels different.”*


  • Cleojonz

    There is definitely a disconnect in my household. My husband is lucky enough to be attached to one of few women that actually digs sports. He unfortunately could take a or leave them. I draw the line on my cowboys but neither one of us really follow NBA anymore. We watch the big games but it sadly is no longer a way of life for me. Its the nature of the way that television gets watched in my house. He controls the remote. If he does not want to watch we don’t. The children dominate the other tv and I refuse to get that third in their room. Sometimes we will pass by some random sports event and watch it, rugby, swimming tennis.

    • Wild Cougar

      How is he lucky to have a wife interested in sports if he’s not? I must have missed a sentence there…..

      • Cleojonz

        I guess I should have said most men would consider him lucky that I have an interest in sports, but it’s kind of irrelevant because he could take or leave them.

  • DBoySlim

    I have an aunt and uncle like this. She’s a die hard sports fan and I mean everything under the sun. He on the other hand doesn’t care at all. They’re at 44 years strong.

  • PunchDrunkLove

    “Naturally, this leads to one question: How did a person so consumed by sports marry someone who doesn’t give a damn about any of it?”

    Easily….”opposites attrack” makes the world go ’round. The beauty is making the dang thing work and mesh while not having an affinity for something you’re boo or spouse is all over or fake the funk and take pretend to like it….for their sake. That ain’t right either. I cannot stand sports, but I’m front and center if it’s a live at the venue type thingy. Yup, take me…ANNND I’ll get into the game, but just giving a happy on the average day, naaah. I’m good too, staying out of the way and keeping the wings supplied :) I don’t stop mid-game and ask questions, shoot I don’t even know when it’s mid-game unless he tells me…lol IJS

    Everything is doable

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Soooo your like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America cheering loudly at halftime??? :D

      • PunchDrunkLove

        If he cheers…lol Otherwise I wouldn’t know half time from two thirds time…lol I try not to be a bugaboo

        • AlabamaAshley

          “Two thirds time” has me in tears! LOL!

          • PunchDrunkLove

            :) I want to depict just how disconnected I am from sports.

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