[Author’s note: I meant to publish this article earlier, but I simply could not find the time. There were eleven college football bowl games I had to watch, plus four NFL playoff games. A man has to prioritize. – TEJ]
In recent years, there has been a national crisis brewing. No, I’m not talking about climate change or the latest measles outbreak. It’s the bane of millions of wives that their husbands are watching far too much football and totally ignoring the little lady (I’m not being chauvinistic. My wife is truly a little lady at 5’0″).
Recently, this topic became a source of strain in my own marriage. After many heated discussions, we decided to visit a marriage counselor to help my wife work through her silly problem. Below is a play-by-play transcript of how our first session went.
Dr. Robert Taylor: Good afternoon. I’m Dr. Taylor. I understand that there are some concerns you have about your marriage. Who’d like to begin?
Michele: I will. I’m convinced that Tim cares more about football than he does about me.
Dr. Taylor: Tim, care to respond to your wife’s assertion?… Tim? … Tim, did you listen to what your wife just said?
Tim: Sorry, doc. I was just watching highlights from last weekend’s Saints – Vikings game on my phone. Could you believe that non-call in the end zone in overtime? Um, what was the question again?
Dr. Taylor: Your wife feels that you care more about football than you care about her. Care to comment?
Tim: About what?
Michele: ME! And put down your stupid phone. See, Dr. Taylor. This is what I’m talking about. Tim sits back in his recliner every Saturday and Sunday to watch his dumb football games. Tim, in a marriage, we’re supposed to be a team. Do you understand the problem our team is having?
Tim: I sure do. The Seahawks have absolutely no pass defense. They rank 25th in the league. That’s not gonna get them far in the playoffs.
Dr. Taylor: Tim, I don’t think that’s the problem your wife is talking about.
Tim: She could be right. Their pass blocking is equally suspect.
Michele: Tim, for God’s sake, can you hear yourself?!!? The problem is not the Seabirds’ pass blocking.
Tim: You make a salient point. I agree, their play calling is so predictable. But it’s not the Seabirds. It’s the Seahawks.
Michele: I don’t care if it’s the SeaWEEDS! You’re not listening to me. Every weekend, it’s like I’ve lost my husband to that stupid game. What exactly is so important about that ridiculous sport anyway?
Tim: You think football is a ridiculous sport? Might I point out that your parents love to watch curling? Now THAT’S a stupid sport.
Michele: Don’t change the subject. I’m talking about how on weekends you spend more time watching football than you spend with me!
Dr. Taylor: Tim, is that true? Do you even talk to her during these contests?
Tim: I talk with her all the time as I’m watching. I’ll say things to her like, “Did you see that incredible catch?” and “What a horrible call by the official. Can you believe that call?” And “Can you make me a grilled cheese, honey? More cheese than last time, okay?”
Michele: You just don’t get it! All you talk about during these games is football, football, football.
Tim: That’s because I’m watching football. Would you prefer me to provide a commentary on the finer points of Badminton instead? Why would I do that during a football game?
Michele: ARGH!! How about talking to me about something – ANYTHING – other than sports? Like the last book you read.
Tim: I could do that.
Michele: Really? That would mean a lot to me.
Dr. Taylor: And what book was that, Tim?
Tim: I just finished the pro football classic, “America’s Game”.
Michele: Unbelievable! What is so important about watching a bunch of over-sized men pound each other in pursuit of a little ball? I don’t get men’s obsession with this sport!
Tim: It’s football. Men like football.
Dr. Taylor: Tim, what I’m hearing from Michele is that, come weekends, you don’t seem to care about her interests. Am I understanding you, Michele?
Michele: Yes. Exactly. I mean, would it be so difficult for him to take a break from the flat-screen TV and go on a hike with me?
Tim: I hear you. The center really needs to work on his hikes on punts. Last week, he sent the ball over the punter’s head.
Michele: Dr. Taylor, see what I’m up against? He thinks any game on TV is more important than spending time with me.
Tim: Not if it’s the Dolphins – Bengals game. You can hardly call that football.
Dr. Taylor: Tim, I think you may be missing the point.
Tim: What point? Did someone score? Let me check my phone.
Dr. Taylor: No, Tim, you’re missing Michele’s concern, that you’re so engrossed in football that you forget to focus on her needs. What would happen if, just for once, you turned off the TV and missed a game?
Tim: I believe the answer is obvious. As you said, I’d miss the game.
Dr. Taylor: And so what if you did? Is that so bad? What if you went out for a walk with your wife instead?
Tim: Could I still listen to it on the radio with just one ear bud? She could listen on the other.
Dr. Taylor: Tim, are you willing to make any sort of compromise in your viewing habits in the interest of helping your marriage?
Tim: Okay, okay. I get it. How about I only watch football every other Sunday. And the other weekends, we do a fun outdoor activity together that Michele likes, say kayaking?
Michele: Well that’s a start, I guess. And I do like kayaking. Thank you, honey.
Tim: In fact, how about we start this new plan on February 3rd?
Michele: Let me guess. The Super Bowl is on the 2nd, right?
Tim: Wow! You know when the Super Bowl is?! I think you secretly like football.
(Michele leaps from her chair but Dr. Taylor intervenes.)
Tim: Nice block, doc. You’re a natural.
Dr. Taylor: Well, I did play left guard in high school. (Whispering to Tim) Say, who do you think will win the Super Bowl? I’ve got $100 on the Ravens. Their quarterback is unstoppable –
Michele: Not you too, doctor. Unbelievable!
Dr. Taylor: Uh, um, well. I think we made some progress. Unfortunately, I have to wrap up early. I’m catching the playoff game with a few friends of mine. Oh, and one last thing. Rest assured that everything we’ve discussed today will be held in the strictest of confidence. – that is, unless your husband decides to publish the details of this session in an upcoming blog post.
Tim: I would never do that. Why would you even think such a thing, doc?
Michele: Oh no…..
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
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 2020