I should clarify that it’s not actually football that’s the problem. I have nothing against the hallowed American tradition of men chasing a ball up and down a field to score points. More specifically, it’s the New York Jets that are the problem and I even feel badly that I am holding a grudge against them. After all, it’s not the team’s fault - and it’s especially not cutie quarterback Mark Sanchez’s fault – that my husband cannot watch football like a normal person.
It all begins about a week prior to the season with not one but two fantasy league drafts. Then comes the long awaited Eve of the First Jets game. My husband lays out his Al Toon Jersey (handwashed by yours truly because it’s falling apart after all these years) and his lucky cap. Then he proceeds to toss and turn all night long with because….it’s almost time for football season. Every year, he is certain that the Jets will be Super Bowl bound for the first time since 1968. You have to admire that kind of optimism.
The optimism seems to disappear with the first snap of the ball. I don’t believe he even enjoys watching the games very much anymore because he is a nervous wreck until the game is officially over. The hat is frequently thrown to the ground. He cannot sit on the couch and watch the game but rather stands about six inches from the television, arms folded like a coach. There is a good deal of yelling and pacing. I encourage him to watch the games outside of our house because I don’t enjoy all of that negative energy. In fact, he is a New York Jets season ticket holder. “But honey,” I’ve said again and again over the years, “we live in Virginia.”
It goes without saying that he watches every game, mentally preparing and studying up on the opponent in the days leading up to the game and brooding over losses for at least a day when things don’t go well. We have to plan Sophia’s October birthday party around the Jets schedule every year. Two years ago, when the Jets quarterback stopped shaving during the playoffs out of superstition, my husband did the same. It wasn’t a good look and yes, he does have a professional job. And no, the Jets didn’t get to the Super Bowl that year either. Before we had a child, I thought this devotion was kind of endearing and would actually watch the games with him. We are a little busier on the weekends now.
During last Sunday night’s dramatic Jets victory, I gave my husband an earful about how I want things to be different this football season. I carried on about him needing to be more available on Sundays for family time, errands and grocery shopping. I’m pretty sure this all fell on deaf ears. I’m also pretty sure that I heard my mom give this same speech to my dad for most of my childhood. It’s fascinating the way I keep hearing her words come out of my mouth.