Editor’s note: This article appears in the September 26 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
Know how Lou Piniella flips out during Devil Rays games? He seems calm compared with the Sports Gal’s reaction after she realized the NFL season had started again. “Didn’t the season just end?” she yelped. “It’s like one of those monsters that won’t die!”
I knew there was only one way to calm her down-by handing this column over to her. Jokingly, I offered her 800 words to describe everything she hates about me as a sports fan. She laughed, stopped laughing and quickly disappeared. Twenty minutes later, she returned with a long list carefully crammed onto a single page. I read through it, laughed a few times, then handed the paper back.
“You didn’t read the other side,” she said.
This seemed cathartic for her, but since she’s not a writer, I figured I’d do her the favor of paraphrasing her thoughts:
She hates that I’m always listening to sports radio in the car. She hates that I refuse to throw out ticket stubs, even though they’re not worth anything. She hates my WhatIfSports.com addiction (or as she calls it, “playing with dead baseball players”) and that I have as many as four or five fantasy teams going at once. She hates peeking over my shoulder when I’m “writing a column,” only to find that I’m actually changing pitchers on one of those teams. She really hates hearing me make trades on the phone, especially when I’m talking to a friend who is at work. That, she says, is “truly pathetic.”
She hates watching a TiVo’d program that I’d watched live, during which I flipped back and forth to a game, ensuring a weirdly edited version for her viewing. But not as much as when she’s happily watching a show and the TiVo changes channels to start recording a random NBA game from 1982. Wow, does she hate that.
She hates that I keep buying sports pictures for my office when I have 20 other pictures gathering dust in our garage. She hates that whenever we go to a game together I have to check the seats first before we buy food and drinks. She hates when I turn on Cheap Seats, because she can’t stand those guys, and she feels like I’m antagonizing her. She hates that I leave USA Today sports sections everywhere so she never knows which ones to throw out. She hates-hates-hates that my closet is filled with jerseys and T-shirts I never wear, and that every time she tries to chuck them, I react like she’s ripping my heart out.
She hates that I can’t find any of my own stuff, especially when I ask for her help locating my lucky Pats ski cap. Actually, that makes her doubly crazy because she hates
that I think my clothing affects the outcome of games. She hates when I want to scrap plans we’ve made after I belatedly realize there’s a good fight on (probably
because I pull the wouldn’t-it-be-more-fun-to-stay-home-together-followed-by-wow-I-didn’t-know-there-was-a-fight-tonight routine).
She hates when I gamble, hates that I scream at the TV and really hates when I sulk after my team loses. She hates that I play Madden on the treadmill and that I honestly care about my team’s record and stats. Last week, she happened to be watching when one of my guys intercepted a pass and streaked down the sideline for a sure TD, until I made him run out of bounds at the 2. When she asked why, I casually explained, “I’m trying to break the touchdown record with Dillon.” I can’t begin to tell you how much she hated that.
She hates when I yell for her to come into the room to watch a replay and make her sit through it even though she’s told me she doesn’t care. She hates when I toggle between channels, and she really hates when I then get sidetracked by a game and don’t return in time to the show she likes. She hates that I’m convinced she times her entrances for the biggest moments of games. She hates when my friends leave sports-related messages on my answering machine, especially the ones who don’t identify themselves first before ranting like lunatics. And she really hates when I’m excitedly talking to my friends about sports in what she calls the Annoying Voice, the one that is 50 decibels above my normal one. She really, really hates the Annoying Voice. She’d murder the Annoying Voice if she could.
More than anything, she hates that I wake up on Sundays and watch football for 14 straight hours without showering, changing or leaving the house.
Well, you know what? I’m throwing her a bone this season. Instead of pulling that routine every weekend, I’m cutting it down to every other one.
And she thinks I don’t care.
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine and his Sports Guy’s World site is updated every day Monday through Friday. His new book “Now I Can Die In Peace” hits bookstores on October 1st and is available right now on Amazon.com.