Sports Widows

Every fall I go through the same routine with my friends: they ask if the boyfriend and I want to do something on a Sunday; I politely and immediately decline.

“Don’t you want to at least ask him?”


Because I know how it will go.  He’ll say, “Sure,” because he doesn’t want to disappoint me and then he’ll hate every second of it because he really wants to be watching football.  And then he’ll be a little pissy for a week and I’ll have expended all of my political capital for the month.

It’s just not worth it.

This is something only Sports Widows understand.  Because our dudes aren’t just males; they’re male sports fanatics and this is a different breed altogether.  These guys don’t care that the weather’s beautiful and “Oh my gawd, wouldn’t it be so fun to do [x].”  They don’t care that there’s a free music festival or free oysters or that everyone you know is going to the beach.  Nope.  All they care about is men are running after a ball and it’s on television.

I’m not going to lie; it took some getting used to.  I come from a sports family so I understood why he cared if his team won or lost (even though the set of players changed every season), and I understood planning the day around his game.  But there were things that went over my head.  For instance, why he cared about, and had to watch, all of the games.  Or why he knew (and had to tell me) all of the stats on all of the players in all of the games.  Or why he watched baseball.  At all.

It took almost two years of living together, but I’ve finally figured out the Sports Widow rules.

Rule #1: Sunday is a Holy Day

And by “holy” I mean you better pack Saturday[1] with every fun activity, chore and errand in which you want your partner involved because there’s not a snowballs chance in hell it’s happening on Sunday.

Rule #2: Silence.  It is the golden rule.

Unless your statement or question begins with the words, “I’ve fallen,” “I’m on fire,” or “I may die,” and it’s accompanied by a loud crash or siren[2], it will only register as background noise that must be turned down.

Rule #3: I am a Receptacle for Useless Information

Don’t care that Odell Beckham’s dad is friends with Shaq?  Or that Tom Brady was drafted #199 and isn’t it crazy that he’s now a hall-of-fame quarterback?  Too bad.  By year three of dating (or having married) a sports fanatic, you will know more about some random player’s career, home life and endorsement deals than you will about your partner and what they actually do for a living.

Rule #4: Invest in Soft, Non-Breakable Items

This is especially important if your sports fanatic’s team(s) loses a lot.  If something does break, it’s best to wait at least 12 hours before bringing it up.  Along those lines….

Rule #5: Always Check the Score Before Walking in the Door

Preparation is everything.  If you know what you’re walking into you can deal with it in an adult manner while your partner sulks like a toddler.  However, you will not call them a toddler because you’re too smart for that.

Rule #6: Acceptance is the Key to Happy Home

You could fight their passion.  You could punish their tantrums and ignore their stats; you could schedule things on Sunday.  But after a (hopefully short) season of bickering and disappointment, you’ll realize there isn’t a hike or chore in the world that’s worth this conflict.  And you accept things (and them) the way they are.


[1] This is only works if your partner is willing to give up college football.  If they aren’t, might I recommend a four month yoga retreat in Costa Rica?

[2] I cannot guarantee these statements will work.