I’ve never really understood the whole sports obsession. I mean, I don’t hate sports — or at least I didn’t used to — but I’ve never really understood why people loved them so much. It just didn’t make sense to me.
Growing up in a military family meant that my dad was deployed. A lot. I have a very feminine mother and two older, feminine sisters. This meant that, with the (oftentimes) absence of a male presence to balance things out, my house was very girly. As a child, I played with Barbies, baby dolls, and cheap makeup my mother purchased for me at the Post Exchange. I was a little girl, and I liked little girl things. Pink, sparkles, Lisa Frank, Disney Princesses, ballerina slippers, and fancy costumes that allowed me to transform into Scarlett O’Hara or Holly Golightly. Sure, I played team sports — because of the valuable life lessons they teach youngsters — but I never really got into them. I’d arrive to my coach pitch games with red fingernails and a giant bow in my hair and spend the games sitting in the outfield making Dandelion bracelets. Honestly, I just didn’t enjoy the competition or the fact that I was one of twelve. Call me not a team player, that’s fine. I wasn’t. I really just preferred activities like tennis and gymnastics, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.
When I met my boyfriend last year, I knew he loved sports. And I don’t mean that he enjoyed watching a game every now and then or that he loved tailgating, I mean that with every season came a sport that he was absolutely, no kidding, obsessed with. Every. Single. Season. At first, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I mean, I’ve dated guys in the past…and all guys love sports, right? If it wasn’t a big deal with those guys, then it wouldn’t be a big deal with this guy. Or at least that’s what I thought. But as it turns out, those guys only kinda liked sports, but this guy? This guy lives for them.
At first it wasn’t an issue. Maybe it’s because he hid it well or maybe it’s because I was simply so enamored with him that I overlooked it. Sure, we’d watch football and basketball a few nights a week, but we were spending time together. He’d sit on the couch and chat with me during commercials, and I’d cook or do laundry or mess around on my computer. I kind of liked what we had going for us. He’d come over, I’d pour him a drink, he’d watch the game. It was like we were married, like we were playing house, like we were perfectly playing the gender roles that God had assigned to us. He liked boy things and I liked girl things. And it worked perfectly…at first.
But then ever so slowly, I noticed that we were watching sports every single night. Whereas before, we watched maybe four nights of sports and three nights of HGTV or Bravo, it slowly became five nights of sports, six nights or sports…every night of sports. I began voicing my opinion.
This isn’t fair.
We never do anything I want to do.
You’re being selfish.
But he didn’t get it. He doesn’t get it. But then again, I don’t really either.
Our “every night of sports” phase has been about 6 weeks long, and that’s because the Kansas City Royals are doing well for the first time in…29 years? Maybe more? Maybe less? I don’t know. But it’s been a long time — or at least that’s what I keep hearing. With six baseball games a week plus a Saturday college football game and a Sunday NFL game, we’re averaging about eight games a week — and it’s a lot. But I put up with it.
I put up with it because it makes him happy. Because that’s what you do when you love someone. I put up with it because he has waited for this his entire life. I put up with it because his entire, wonderful family loves them, too. I put up with it because there is a baby picture of him where he is proudly wearing a Royals uniform and gleefully hitting a ball. I put up with it because I don’t think I’ve ever loved something (not someone) as much as my boyfriend loves the Kansas City Royals — and I will never get it. But I’m trying to.
He left our apartment last Tuesday night at 11:30pm, with 20 minutes notice, to make the eleven hour drive from where we live to Kansas City, Missouri so that he could go to the game the following day. The game that the Royals won — and the game that means they are now going to be playing in the 2014 World Series. But I was still mad when he left.
This was the second time in two weeks that he’d left last minute for a game. A game that was a thousand miles away from where I would be. But it wasn’t about me. And this is something that I’m finally realizing. He wasn’t leaving me. He wasn’t picking them. He wasn’t making a choice. If I ever gave him the ultimatum, it would be me. I know that. And that truth in my heart is enough. You’re allowed to have two loves in your life. For my boyfriend, it’s the Kansas City Royals and me. And I can deal with that. I’m learning to deal with that.
He returns from Kansas City in about three hours from now, which means I have a lot of laundry to do and dishes to wash and Housewives to watch. We have tonight and tomorrow with no baseball, and then the World Series begins. And honestly, for the first time in my life, I think I’m excited to watch a game. Maybe because it’s such a big deal, maybe because he’s happier than I’ve ever seen him, or maybe it’s because I know there is an end in sight. Seven more games. Just seven more games.
But starting Tuesday, October 21st, you’ll find me at the bar, next to my boyfriend, wearing my Royals t-shirt. I’ll be cheering. I’ll be smiling. And I know that I will be truly happy. If you can’t beat them, join them. So that’s me, the Royals’ newest fan.
Though, if we’re being honest, I’m still dreading the start of basketball season..