Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sports Fan = Man

I am married to a sports fan. A Boston sports fan. This means that my husband lives and dies for the Boston Red Sox, the Patriots, and to a lesser extent, the Celtics and the Bruins. He wakes up in the morning and, first thing, reads the Globe's sports page. He listens to sports on the car radio. He stays up long enough to watch the sports report on the 10 o’clock news. “Sports” is like a river that runs through his life, day in, and day out. There is always “sports” to think about, to talk about, to worry about.

And now we have spawned (to stay with the water metaphor) a new little sports fan. My seven-and-a-half year old son has become completely enamored with football this season. He knows the players' numbers, the quarterbacks of every team, he knows what a 'down' is, what ‘special teams’ means. He is obsessed with Corey Dillon and Tom Brady.

This is wonderful for my husband and my son. They are bonding over football. However, it leaves me completely and utterly in the dark.

You have to understand, my husband and the rabbi who was to marry us (we were having a fall wedding) had a really fun time talking about baseball when we were supposed to be discussing our wedding arrangements. The rabbi even mentioned the Red Sox during our wedding ceremony! And my husband threatened to cancel our honeymoon to France if the Red Sox were in the playoffs. Luckily, I didn’t have to find out what would have happened since they didn’t make the playoffs that year. But I think he was half-serious.

Sometimes, I’ll catch my husband quietly watching TV.
“What are you watching?” I ask.
“Golf,” he replies.
“Do you even like golf?” I query.
“It’s a sport, I like it!” he responds.

My son doesn’t seem to enjoy golf, but every other sport is getting his attention these days. Now that football season is over, he is interested in hockey and basketball, and is starting to get excited about the upcoming baseball season. “Dice-K,” the new (and expensive) Japanese pitcher for the Red Sox, is his new interest. And spring soccer is about to start at school(once the snow melts).

My son can talk sports with the best of them. I mean, with grown men. We have been at several social events during which he has carried on adult-sounding conversations with adult men about football. Adult men seem to find it fascinating and endearing to have a “little man” to talk with about football. They like quizzing him on his knowledge of the player’s numbers, and they like to talk about famous plays. “Do you remember during the playoffs how so-and-so did such-and such?” And my son actually knows what they are talking about…

As one friend announced, with pride: “he’s becoming a man.” Well, I guess so. He’s seven and a half. And he’s into sports. That makes him a man... kinda.


Anonymous said...

I am married to a man who is not into sports. And I have 2 sons who are also not into sports. Most kids that I know who are really into sports have a father who has the same obsession, leading me to the conclusion
that it is an environmentally learned habit. One of the things that endeared me to my husband was the absence of sports in his life. And I think it is great that my boys don't give a hoot about sports - they don't play them, don't watch them, just don't care - it is not part of their onsciousness. But, I have another side that wishes my sons to be people who fit in to our society, have lots of friends, and are comfortable with themselves socially. Sadly, it is very true that a boy who isn't into
sports is looked upon as different, unusual and perhaps less masculine, and this makes me mad. So, I felt compelled to respond to Adena's essay. I just want to say that becoming or being a man has nothing to do with skill in and knowledge of sports, nor should it. It has to do with
learning to be responsible, making sensible choices, and becoming
comfortable with who you are. I say Sports Fan = Sports Fan and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

Adena....I can't believe Arnie actually wait until he gets the newspaper in the morning. Paul is listening to the sports report before his feet even hit the floor.