AN ESSAY

Men have offered themselves up to me from time to time in the last five decades,
assuming a role I have not wished upon them: they offer to be my very own Sports Interpreter.
The first time this happened I was taken to a Penn State football game by a fellow grad student.
He chose not to hear my protestations, nor notice indications of boredom, nor entertain any other outcome of our first date other than my emerging a born-again sports aficionado.
I swear I made an effort to concentrate, distinguish one team from another,
grasp the scoring rules but . . .
I’d grown up in a household with a sports enthusiast. Dad would watch any sport on TV.
He claimed he’d been a mighty pitcher. And he never failed to win a free turkey for Thanksgiving
when his bowling league prevailed in the yearly tournament.
However, his enthusiasm for sports did not make it down to his three children.
Was this because Mom insisted he watch his games with the sound turned off?
Now married to a diehard Yankees fan,
one year I decided to appease him by hosting a super bowl party.
The afternoon went off without a hitch—I was in and out of the kitchen, arranging the appetizers,
heating up hors d’oeuvres, serving platters of hot food—until I asked, “What inning are we up to?”
To this day, they’re still teasing me. Really? I’d like to quiz them on the last five books they read,
live music concerts they went to, mountain hikes they attempted!
Back to my husband. He’s pretty hard core re sports, into statistics,
and this little old baseball game he drags out of the basement.
He plays imaginary baseball with dead players!
He accuses me of being un-American! Of thwarting his love affair with sports!
Of stubbornly refusing to learn about sports. Well this is both true and untrue.
Literally, true. But what about my sports? Scrabble? Yeah, I’m a serious threat.
Miniature golf? Bring it on!. Ping-pong? You’re talking to a one-time Women’s Ping-pong Champion!
So what’s the effect on my marriage? Two TV’s are a lifesaver.
Mine plays a foreign movie; his, a game naturally.
He threatens to take me to an actual game someday. Fine.
Meanwhile, he’s learned how to play a mean game of scrabble.