As a child, I was the antithesis of “athletic”. I participated in two years of gymnastics, which ended with me lying flat on my back with the wind knocked out of me by the balance beam. I then did a summer of swimming lessons, in which I found myself stuck on the edge of the diving board, hovering over deep water, terrified to jump but forbidden to walk back down the steps. After that came softball, in which I spent many an afternoon standing in right field, praying for the ball not to come anywhere close to me, lest I be ridiculed in front of my peers and their parents.
Yeah, I don’t have fond sports memories.
After the softball season, I started in the school orchestra, and found myself much happier playing with a bow than with a bat. I happily put sports behind me, and successfully avoided nearly all athletic endeavors (both as a participant and as an observer) for my remaining adolescent years. I was sports-free, and perfectly content with that arrangement.
Then I married a boy.
And my boy is into sports. Big time. He was in athletics as a youth, and now plays a variety of sports year round.
And, he likes to watch sports too. Lots of them.
Over the nine years my boy and I have been married, I have picked up quite a bit of sports knowledge from him. He shares random sports facts and trivia from time to time (but always in the context of an appropriate conversation; he’s not a Cliff Claven-type), and during our second year of marriage I asked him to teach me the rules of football. (In understanding how the game is played, I thought I might enjoy it more; and if I enjoyed it more, I thought I might like Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings more. All of those things held true.)
But tonight, I got to see exactly how much my boy and his sports have influenced me over the past decade. We were discussing sports streaks, and I knew the positions that both Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken played! And when NFL game time rolled around, I found myself looking forward to watching the game with my sweetie, knowing that 1) I would understand what was happening, 2) I would be able to engage in meaningful conversation with my boy about the plays and the game overall, and 3) my sweetie would appreciate my interest in the game, and be happy to have someone to share the experience with.
Tonight I got to see how daily living with my boy has slowly affected me. Changed me. Improved me.
Tonight, I’m ready for some football!