My sports-impaired wife

sports-impaired wife - watching footballI love my wife. Don’t get me wrong. She’s a great life partner, but she’s a lousy sports partner. The problem is she is utterly clueless about sports. Like any patriotic American, I’m a huge sports fan: baseball, football, Australian rules lawn bowling, you name it. But my wife is, how can I put this delicately – an artist.

My wife could no more tell you the number of points in a touchdown than the location of home plate in baseball.  Oh sure, she’ll tell you she likes sports. But to her, sports consists of backpacking through the woods or climbing a rock face. Those aren’t sports. As any red-blooded sports fanatic knows, sports require two essential elements: a high def flat panel 56” TV and a large cheese-stuffed, meat-lover’s pizza.

I first suspected my wife wasn’t into sports early in our marriage. One evening, I had to work late so I missed the Monday Night Football game. I called home to ask her the score. After five minutes trying to convince her that pro football indeed could be played on a day other than Sunday, she checked the TV and reported: I have no idea. But I think they’re in extra innings. Seriously, I’d have better luck finding the score in the credits of Breaking Bad than by asking my wife.

If there’s one thing that binds us together as a society it’s ESPN…. and ESPN 2… and ESPN News… and ESPN Classic … and the other 12 ESPN channels that space does not permit me to include here. But to my wife, all sports programming is a complete waste of time because, according to her, what difference does it make who wins? She should be grateful we don’t live in Alabama, where such heresy is officially grounds for divorce. I have long ago forgiven her for the fact that she can’t tell the difference between a football and a hockey puck. (And she’s Canadian!) You see, as embarrassing as this is to admit, my artist wife has as much interest in the subtleties of the Read Option offense as I have in the subtleties of Da Vinci’s brush stroke techniques. (My wife wanted me to insert here that Da Vinci used some breakthrough technique called sfumato. Thanks for sharing, honey. That was really important information.)

sports-impaired wife - watching baseballI realize in retrospect that I should have inserted an additional clause into her wedding vows: “I promise to become a rabid fan of any sports team over which my husband chooses to obsess. I vow to do my spousal best to know the box score for any sporting event that involves a ball, and will do my utmost to comprehend the meaning of baseball’s Infield Fly Rule – till death do us part.”

Over the past 25 years, I have tried on countless occasions to enlist my wife to watch sports on TV with me. Trying to explain to her what constitutes offsides in soccer is like trying to explain to our cats the meaning of, well, offsides in soccer. If I am lucky enough to get five minutes of her attention to a game I’m watching, her focus will have absolutely nothing to do with what’s actually happening on the field. Instead, she’ll fixate on the interplay of light and shadow on the players’ uniforms. Who cares that they just won the game on a last-second field goal? What matters to my wife is the juxtaposition of colors in the stands as the ball goes sailing through the uprights.

I got to thinking, what would sports play-by-play be like if my wife were in the booth calling the action? It would probably be something like this:

Football: The two teams look great in their uniforms. I can’t decide which team is better, the guys in the green and white outfits or the guys in the orange and teal. Orange and teal remind me of one of Monet’s painting of water lilies, so I think I have to give the edge to that team to win. 

Soccer: What an exciting game. I have no idea what the score is. The guys in green seem to be kicking the ball around a lot and not sharing it with the red team at all. Not very neighborly. The crowd seems to be shouting about something. I wonder what all the fuss is about. Maybe folks saw a rainbow. I love the vibrant color of a rainbow in the late afternoon sunlight. 

sports-impaired wife - MicheleBoxing: I’m not sure how far into the game we are. I’m going to take a wild guess and say the fifth inning. The tall fellow just keeps hitting the shorter fellow in the head and chest a lot. Not sure what his issue is. Perhaps the shorter fellow said something crude about his wife. If this goes on much longer, I am afraid the shorter fellow might fall down. I wish they’d just try to talk things out. 

Baseball: Sure are a lot of fans here today. Oddly, one team has nine players on the field and the other team only has only one. That doesn’t seem very sporting to me. This could turn into a route unless the referee lets the other team add a few players.           

Many people have asked my wife, How have you put up with a humor writer as a husband all these years? But if you ask me, they’re asking the wrong question. How about, How have I put up with my wife all these years? She’ll argue that she knows as much about football as I know about art. But I disagree. I am a huge fan of art. Just watch Peyton Manning thread the seam of the opposing team’s nickel defense and light them up for 400 yards and five touchdowns. Now that, my friend, is a work of art.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Jones - Profile at Safeco - TinyPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it athumbs up or sharing this post on Facebook. If you do, I’d be open to considering trading you my second round pick in my fantasy football league draft. Think about it, won’t you? 

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2013

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  • Published On Nov. 06, 2013 by TEJ
  • 9 Comments


    1. Eleanor Rushworth (Yer MiL)
      11/8/13

      Tim, this was a truly funny blog. Michele’s father (Ron) has often recited the time when Michele attended the major football game of the college her daugher is attending. She sat on those darn hard seats in the bleachers and gazed around the stdium at the fans and their reaction to the game. Finally, completely bored, she got up and walked out ot the stadium and took photos of the grounds instead. Ron still laughs at that one as he had never heard of anyone walking out of a football game. There’s always a first, though.


    2. Drew Fisher
      11/8/13

      Tim, despite the fact that our high school alma mater boasted ten (count `em, 10) varsity sports, of which I seem to recall, you were involved in between 11 and 13, I participated in zero, and managed to enter adult life as a sports illiterate. This might have passed unnoticed had I not chosen journalism as a craft. My first job out of college was news broadcaster on WIP, then the top-rated radio station in Philadelphia. The sports director, the great Philadelphia Eagles tight end (later general manager) Pete Retzlaff, called in sick one afternoon, and the news director called me in to substitute for him. “What’s so tough about sports?” I asked myself. “The AP sends across a sports report every hour.” I did realize that the top story was probably that afternoon’s Phillies home game with the Cubs. At 4:05, in my best sportscaster voice, I intoned, “Out at Connie Mack Stadium this afternoon, after eight and a half innings, the Phils are in front of the Cubs, 2 to 1.” An hour later, the sports ticker was showing the same result, so I went on the air and said, “Still nothing from the bottom of the ninth at Connie Mack Stadium, but after eight and a half, it’s Phils 2, Cubs 1.” Every phone in the radio station was ringing when I left the studio. The caller on the phone I picked up said, graciously, “YOU IDIOT! Don’t you know, if the home team’s in front after eight and a half, THE GAME’S OVER?”
      Michelle, take heart.


    3. 11/8/13

      Well you didn’t even mention Michele’s reals sports involvement.

      Michele as a beautiful and popular teenage girl and me – her clutzy and dumpy big sister actually played team sports for several seasons. Girls Lacrosse.

      The coaches were pleased to have both of us sisters on their team, as every game they knew exactly how we would handle the pressure of the game and how we would handle our opponents – after all we were their stars (however – confined to the bench).

      They let Michele and I out onto the floor of the game for a predictable 3-minutes per game. We did our best to run fast, catch the ball and try stay out of the way from the other players who were there to play and win after all.
      I don’t even know what we were doing there, as we had such an obvious lack of talent, but lots of sportsmanship and enthusiasm.
      I remember one game. We were in the last 5-minutes of the game, our team was ahead in the score by 5-goals already and the coaches probably figured by then, we couldn’t do any harm.
      So running around the cement floor of the Lacrosse court in her cute team uniform, Michele in a flash of athletic confidence – held out her stick, caught the wayward ball and flipped it into the opponents’s goal. OMG She scored a goal! Wahoo! And into the correct goalies net too! … The team went wild. They couldn’t believe her success. However fluky Michele claims it to have been.
      So there you have it. Believe her when she says she doesn’t know anything about sports. She had a lot of time in that teenage girls Lacrosse bench, to study the light and shadow of the players uniforms, look for rainbows and probably make a strategy to stay away from sports. Hugs to Michele.


    4. Keith W.
      11/9/13

      I’m somewhat offended – I think the history of the color beige is one of the key underpinnings of our society. I’ll bet you anything there are sports teams who use beige in their uniforms. So there.


    5. Henry Liebling
      11/15/13

      Tim, I read something that might change everything for your wife and Artists. I read that the House of Representative Republicans are pushing a new bill that would require football players (professional, college, and pee wee) who get in fights, who slander, who disparage, who bully … well, these players would be required to take an art class. Evidently, there is research that proves that “doing art” soothes the motivation to put other people down.

      If this bill passes the House, well, we can hope it will pass the Senate.

      This has the potential to be the first piece of legislation that the Republicans and Democrats can agree upon.

      I must confess that some people think the Republicans are up to something here.

      United Artists for Democracy,

      Henry L.


    6. Shirley
      1/30/14

      Be careful what you wish for! I’ve been a rabid sports fan my entire life. I understood the infield fly rule at age 8. Recently I had lunch with a male colleague and we both reached for the sports section at the same time. He commented, “You must be a hard woman to live with.” I replied, “Not at all. He lets me have the sports section first.”


    7. Rachel Jones
      3/4/16

      As the daughter of these wonderful people, this was great. My dad always jokingly laughed at my mom for her lack of sports knowledge. My mom’s response while watching the World Cup was “I have no idea what’s going on, I just like watching how the sun accentuates the players’ muscles.”
      Love them both!❤️

    8. And then there is the art of being a good sport. Doesn’t that count as the most difficult of end games? I’d punt lightly or you might find your best armchair jerseys looking oddly pink. Perhaps sherbet like a sunset. Let’s see who catches the curve ball then…..


    9. Platt
      3/4/16

      I say this with trepidation, hoping my wife (the Art Professor) doesn’t see it.
      Here’s my question: If art is great, how come you don’t see any Art Bars where women all get together to drink beer, eat wings, and yell at the paintings?

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