Recently, the Thread tackled the important intersection of religion and relationships via ThreadRadio, which got me thinking about other issues in dating someone who doesn’t adhere to your beliefs/loves/interests. And then, walking into my bathroom, I saw this:
Yet another reminder of the sports inadequacies of my boyfriend. Sharing only one of my teams, there are few sports conversations we share that don’t involve hating each other’s teams, bringing up painful memories (our combined teams have quite a few of them) and laughing every time an athlete from the other’s team tweets something ignorant.
I figured there may be other couples out there that can relate to this, so I thought I would share some of the strategies that have kept my boyfriend and I sane. Then, I realized that our situation is not only more complicated than most, but also a bit more ridiculous, so I thought a laugh at our expense wouldn’t hurt, either. I enlisted the help of my significant other, more often referenced around these parts as MichaelYoungHistory. Please reference his posts for all Rockets/Yankees/Bills/Giants/Duke slander.
1. Always “favorite” or screen grab their predictions for their team. Guaranteed fails every time.
I think this one pretty much explains itself. I know we all have high hopes for our teams every year (unless you’re a Browns or Bobcats fan right now) making the championship. We hoist the trophy in our heads at the start of the season, but putting it in print is pure ammo to your significant other. It’ll bring you closer!
2. Be supportive. Even when you have jokes and slander for days.
MYH: “I gotta be nice because my losses are coming.”
Not as much fun as #1, but trust, this one’s important. It’s all fun and games until the next game or week where your team gets clobbered and you have to taste all the hatred you were spewing before. When MichaelYoungHistory’s
Ginas Giants won the Super Bowl, I was all about the high-five and big hug, because I knew if my team couldn’t win, I’d rather the Patriots lose his team win. When the Mavs lost on that clutch KD shot at the end of the game Saturday (still hurts), my boo didn’t laugh at my pain (externally). He understood losing close games because he’s been there before with his teams. MYH: “You have deal with the fact that the person that you love is down about it.” These are all lessons in love taught through sports. Slander with love.
3. Keep things interesting. Make a friendly wager when your teams play each other.
MYH:”The bets are crucial. As if we needed more on the line.”
Watching the NFL schedule released this month, the only cool part of sitting next to a Bills/Giants fan (besides the obvious Eli Face and Bills “always the bridesmaid” jokes) is figuring out if there are any games where our teams play each other, which of course, could either trigger the end of our relationship, or bring us closer. Depending on how well the winner handles the victory and stays out of the loser’s way. One of the ways to attempt to “lighten the mood” is to make a small wager- a home-cooked meal, a foot massage, a day of awful rom-coms or something equally painful,etc.- that both parties agree to if their team loses.
I unfortunately found myself in the loser’s corner this past NFL season, as the Giants beat America’s Team and broke my heart (and pride) not once, but TWICE. Both times, I had to prepare myself for the trash talking, seeing him wear that awful NYG t-shirt he claims is lucky and wishing nothing but pick 6′s on Eli Manning. We bet a favorite home-cooked meal prepared by the loser, which only made me more anxious each game. First loss, I played it cool. Handshake, head nod, whole nine. We also watched that game together (not always a good choice).
The second matchup, I decided it would be prudent for us to watch the game in different locations. Taking that “L” was the worst, but I will say this: having someone who cares about you enough to drive to you, not to rub their win in your face, but to listen to your monologue on everything that’s wrong with Jerry Jones, is love personified. I will never forget that. Ever.
4. Embrace the fact that you have a shared interest: an unhealthy obsession with sports (and the fact you hate some of the same teams).
MYH: “You care, and I care. And neither one of us are going to stop caring.”
We all have limits and deal breakers in relationships. In the sports department, there are some fans that I refuse to date, mainly because I know that I couldn’t possibly marry someone and have my kids root for those teams or go to their school. MYH: “I never thought I could date someone who was a serious Cowboys fan.” Fortunately, MichaelYoungHistory isn’t an Aggie, Sooner, Heat, Patriots, Redskins or Eagles fan. But he’s pretty much the next worse thing. I struggle every day with the Yankees and Giants fandom, but I know at the end of the day, we’re both Longhorns and can at least root for them together. We can also hate the Lakers together and it’s all good.
Being a sports fan connects you to all of the other passionate people around the world that care about players they may never meet and teams that shouldn’t matter as much as they do. We know we’re a little crazy, and being with someone who “gets” that makes life a whole lot easier. When it came time for the important “toothbrush at my place” moment, yeah, he tainted it a little with that disgusting Yankees toothbrush. On the flip side, when he gave me a key to his apartment, an already big step was made bigger by the fact that he had the key made with the Texas Rangers logo and colors. It’s a pretty cool exchange, and I’m sure there will be moments where we struggle to find a balance between being a good partner and a passionate sports fan, but I look forward to the challenge. Especially when he says stuff like this, smack dab in the middle of a serious conversation about committment:
MYH: “Oh, by the way, babe, we can’t get married during football season. We’d miss a whole weekend of good sports. You think we’re really more important to our friends than college and NFL football? I don’t wanna be that presumptuous…”
One thing we can both agree on.