Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sports Commentary from Wife of a Sports Junkie

Welcome to my writing blog.

I’ll begin this with a review of my credentials as wife of a sports junkie.

I don’t play competitive sports and never will, unless forced to.  The last time I participated in competitive sports was when I was around twelve.  I swam in the city swim team because my older brother swam.  He was really good.  I sucked.

I was further traumatized by junior high school physical education.  Not only was I lousy at everything and shocked by others exulting in things like batting basketballs away from me, but the forced communal showering reminded me of being in a concentration camp.  Did I mention I hated PE?

I was one of the geeky Asian-American kids usually found in the library studying or reading, or practicing violin or piano.  By the time I was in high school I discovered Doctor Who (the Tom Baker era) and started wearing a very long scarf and an old wool coat to show my geeky enthusiasm for the Fourth Doctor.  I might have just gotten a tattoo on my forehead reading, “GEEK".  (To my fellow geeks, there's this cool site on the Doctor Who scarf, with instructions and everything.  But you probably know about it already).

Needless to say, my interest and awareness of competitive sports at any level was minimal to nonexistent.

My husband, on the other hand, discovered basketball, in addition to baseball and football, when he was about six or seven years old, began playing all of these in and out of school, and also started playing tennis when he was thirteen. He was and always will be a confirmed jock.

When we first began dating, I was aware that he still loved playing basketball and tennis.  Or maybe I should say he was obsessed.  He played basketball in his work and the city league (he proudly reminds me he won city league championships one year), and pick-up ball at the community center.  When he wasn’t playing basketball he was playing tennis.

He also watched a great deal of sports, though he kept the extent from me until it was too late.

I also noticed he spoke what sounded like English but was filled with strange phrases, things like “missing the bunny,” being in “someone’s poster,” shooting “from the parking lot,” and filled with references to certain historic sports events and athletes I was completely unaware of.

How we managed to even tolerate each other and eventually marry might seem far-fetched, but I have to add that, despite being a jock, my husband was also an English-History double major in college and quoted Sartre on one of our early dates.  That won my heart.

The longer I have been with my husband, spending quality time with him, me knitting, him beside me watching ESPN or some sporting event, the more I’ve come to appreciate that he belongs to a subculture that I can only partially comprehend, but which I find rather fascinating, much like an anthropologist might.  That is the world of competitive sports.  He’s been my window into this strange, often baffling world.  He patiently listens to my observations and commentary, and answers my questions.  Of course, I’m often seeing things he doesn’t, like the fact the ESPN commentator, Digger Phelps, always holds a highlighter pen that matches his tie, or the fact that Tim Legler carries a passing resemblance to the rapper, Vanilla Ice (“Ice Ice Baby”).  His response to these things is typically, “I didn’t notice.  I – uh – don’t really care.”

I find that even though I’ve now watched a good deal of sports with my husband, learned a great deal about basketball and tennis in particular, as well as begin to understand, and, God help me, use, sports vernacular, I still feel like an outsider, never quite getting the accent right, as it were.  I think this is because I still don’t play competitive sports, and, if my husband isn’t around, I’m watching a period drama, not ESPN.  The incongruity between my non-sports way of thinking and the sports junkie, though, continues to fascinate me.

So my credentials include my ignorance and geekiness, and having a husband with expertise as both jock and sports junkie.  I thought it would be fun to post some of my observations and commentaries on sports.  To be continued...

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