My husband has a couple of t-shirts in his rotation that make me cringe. Not because they are old, torn, raggedy shirts, but rather because they are nice t-shirts of the “athletic team” variety. He has, for example, a lovely NY Mets shirt that he wears on occasion for both its comfort and its convenient three-quarter sleeve. He bought it at Macy’s. Yes, that Macy’s. The one on Herald Square. The biggest, most beautiful Macy’s there is. He bought it in late March, when their Spring Flower Show was astounding travelers with giant tulips, and wreaths made of daffodils and gold. He bought it on a trip that he and I took together. A child-less getaway. My first time at that Macy’s. He bought it because we were in NYC. Because he likes blue. And because it was on sale. He did not buy it because he is a Mets fan. Therein lies the cringeworthy problem.
I hate watching him explain to unsuspecting Mets fans that he is in fact not a fan. Not that he hates the Mets. Oh contraire, he just doesn’t keep up with baseball, or well any sport for that matter. He doesn’t watch college basketball, and couldn’t (on most days) tell you anything about any football team, even his beloved Green Bay Packers. He doesn’t watch football on Sundays. He used to. Then we had a baby, and well, Sundays are family days now, not football days.
I have a husband who pretends to be a sports fan, and I am okay with that. Sometimes he pretends for my sake. I am a college basketball fan. And he will watch a game with me if I flip the television on and say, KU is beating North Carolina. He mainly likes to watch my reactions. #FuckUNC
He will take me to baseball games. He does like actually going to baseball games. We both like the experience of being in the stadium, cheering on the home team, wherever we are, and eating nachos and drinking $10 beer. Same with NBA games. Our favorite thing to do on a cold Thursday in Charlotte was to grab tickets to a Hornets game. What fun!
We’ve been to NFL games and other “big” sporting events. I bought him Chiefs v. Packers tickets the last time that Brett Favre played in Arrowhead as a Packer. We’ve had second row seats to the Panthers beating the Saints. His brother took him to the World Series the year the St. Louis Cards beat the Rangers. It was all very cool, even to a non-sports watching guy. But if given the choice, he’d just rather catch the highlights when people talk about it the next day.
My husband doesn’t know who was picked in the draft.
He doesn’t know who has an elbow problem, or who is benched this week.
He doesn’t know that “big” play, unless it was replayed ad nauseam, or someone shared it on Facebook, or it was mentioned in one of his podcasts.
But sometimes, when we are out in public and he has his Chicago White Sox hat on, the one I bought him in Chicago because I just knew he would love the retro look of it, and someone walks up to him and says, “Oh the Sox, huh?” He will smile politely and say, “Yeah”. And I will cringe because I know what is coming. The person, usually a man, says something about how the Sox are playing. My husband shakes his head in agreement. Pretends, for the other man’s sake, to care. They might say, “Well did you see that Fry was pulled early last night?” or “Herrera, man. Am I right?” My husband just nods and says, “Yeah, absolutely.” Cringe.
I want to shout out at the man, “He has no idea what you are talking about! He doesn’t watch sports! We don’t have cable! He’s hasn’t seen the Sports Center Highlights reel!” Instead I smile politely, and take my husband’s elbow and lead him away while I cringe.
Listen, I’m married to the kinda guy who would rather be out there playing baseball in the backyard with his wife and kid. He’d rather play a game of pick-up basketball in our driveway (wherein I beat the pants off him, oh Baby Jesus he sucks at basketball) or playing catch in the backyard, than say, watching a football game. He’d rather play a board game on a rainy Sunday than get wrapped up in grown men in helmets hitting each other. He’d rather watch our son, out in the soccer field, all suited up, picking dandelions when he should be watching for the ball. I’m married to a non-sports nut, and I am okay with that. I just wish he’d pick some different t-shirts.