SportsChump and the The Wife Hates Sports talk writer’s block, Penn State football, Super Bowl predictions and the pros and cons of being single during football seasonJanuary 31st, 2013 by Chris Humpherys
He’ll e-mail me from time to time, asking me for ideas or ways to generate more traffic to his site.
I tell him I don’t have all the answers yet he’ll still invariably hit me up every couple of months asking for things other than power rankings and NASCAR updates to put on his website.
You guys know him as KSP. His wife hates sports.
I’ve actually known Kevin for quite some time, back when he, I and several others use to run blog central over at Fox Sports.com. Those were simpler times when none of us knew you could actually make money by running a sports blog. He and I now have our own successful websites but the block has once again overtaken my poor friend.
So, ladies and gentlemen, to help him with his little “problem,” I hereby present to you the first in a series of what may be several back-and-forths between KP and me, the Warren to the G.
KP is a happily married man and an avid sports fan at that. I am an even happier, single man and as avid a sports fan, the major difference between us being the teams I root for actually win and he’s a considerably better golfer.
For our first assignment, I thought it might be interesting to compare and contrast the lives of the married versus the single sports fan to see which lifestyle is more enjoyable.
Kev, here’s my typical Saturday/Sunday during football season. I wake up around noon, for as you know I work late, and I basically lounge on my sofa, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, flipping through the television channels to find the most attractive games. I watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it without the angst of someone sitting next to me, tapping her fingernails on the table and huffing not so subtly for me to change the channel to The Desperately Spoiled Housewives of This City or That. We all understand the Buffalo Wild Wings commercial where that guy is happily watching a football game with his hot, jersey-clad, blue-eyed wife is just a myth perpetuated on the average American male.
So am I right? Is that what married life is like, and if not, where can I find a woman that’s okay with watching nine straight hours of football with her only gripe coming when her team takes an L?
A typical football weekend is very much like taking on Vegas in Texas Hold ‘Em. Waiting for the flop, I could be dealt a big payday, or I could wind up stuck with Say Yes to the Dress, McDreamy or whatever other TV heartthrob you want to toss into the deck.
You see, a few years back, The Wife Hates Sports was chock full of material, considering the wife couldn’t stand sports on television. She never quite understood the desire to write as much as the two of us did when we borderline owned the Fox Sports community.
Later, when there began to be kickbacks, the wife began to tolerate sports ever so slightly, while still dating back to an occasional 24-hour span when a day of football was the equivalent of a full body dry heave.
There lies the predicament: what hand will I be dealt on that particular day?
So as the story goes, there are still days when the married man needs to complete chores in exchange for precious minutes of football time. There are also moments during the fourth quarter of a big game when she asks how a pillow looks, and if it matches well with the couch.
But, the one-man football party is very much alive, and it very well could rival that of your couch potato time. There just has to be a lot more, tender lovin’ care put into getting there, instead of just falling out of one’s bed at noon, shuffling over to the fridge for leftovers and beer, only to immediately bolt in the direction of the remote control.
But I ask you, as you munch on that cold pizza and crack open that cold one, wouldn’t it be more adventurous to have a rival trying to find ways to put a crack in your master plan that is 48 hours of pigskin pandemonium?
When you put another income into the mix, the methods in which you watch the big game significantly improve as well.
Oh, and as for that Buffalo Wild Wings girl, those are few and far between – and the majority of them still have the urge for McDreamy time, too.
Okay, let’s stop beating around the bush, shall we? The biggest sports story of the year and perhaps the biggest cause of your writers block were the atrocities at Penn State. You’re a Penn State alum. What was the wife’s take on what went down? Did you two ever have arguments/meaningful conversations over what happened and what was the most comforting thing she told as you details were made public?
How was watching Penn State football this season? Was it different than before?
And wait, there’s a show on television called Say Yes To The Dress? God help us all.
KP: Oh, that Penn State topic – the subject matter that I have frequently discussed – although each and every time felt like I was being forced against my will – while other times I did my best to ignore it, hoping that I would wake up from the nightmare that had fallen on the victims, as well as my alma mater
As you requested, I revisited the subject matter with the wife and she simply couldn’t remember some of the conversations over the past year. I asked and I asked again. There were numerous discussions and many opinions in my household, as well as amongst my circle of friends, but as the media continued to throw gasoline into the Penn State fire storm, the harder it got to really piece it all together, considering how many times the story changed, or new headlines broke.
I can tell you this: it hurt through to my inner core. I participated in charity events for the Second Mile when I was in school, so the news hit very close to home. I feel the pain of those affected, but I have also felt the pain of my fellow alums, which had to absorb this story. I watched and participated in old and new charity events at Penn State, only to have ignorant people in the workplace (or on the street) make stupid comments, making me feel like I should store my Penn State pride away in my basement until they were caked in dust and covered in cobwebs.
In the end, there wasn’t anything comforting the wife and I could really tell each other. We both felt for all the victims. We both shed tears at various times and we both disagreed with portions of the sanctions, but knew (and felt) that there should have been some type of punishment.
And finally, tragedy aside, there’s the current Penn State football situation. It’s actually better than I could imagine considering the last year. The school has rallied and supported charities, while still going out and enjoying the traditions and a football season. People continued to come out and support the community. Bill O’Brien, as well as some of the senior players (like Michael Mauti), kept the team intact. Their performance was solid under the circumstances. I truly hope and believe that good things will continue to come to life. There’s really nothing that anyone can do to erase the past, but only positive things that can be built as a part of a new and brighter future.
Penn Staters will get through this. At least, the ones I know will – and I know a lot of them. We are a very close bunch.
As for me, it has been a major piece for my writer’s block, yes. Writing anything would lead to judgment, especially considering how closely I was affected by it. I never wanted any thought to come off as biased. That and maybe I just avoided it, while hoping it would go away, or knew how painful it would be to put it all into words. I actually tried on a few occasions, but the words never made it to The Wife Hates Sports.
Also, like many, I held good thoughts about the old regime at Penn State, and when you see a story break like this against something that you considered pure (or close to it, when it comes to sports), it’s hard to look at the game the same way again. And it’s hard to trust anyone and anything in sport. So, I have had to take a step back many times, and still have moments when I do just that.
As the saying goes, “this too shall pass.” Now if only I could say the same thing for that Say Yes to the Dress show…
SC: Well said, sir. See? I just think I cured your writer’s block. You can send the check for services rendered to SportsChump Manor, Tampa, Florida. No need for a zip code. My postal workers know to follow the sweet smell of sports knowledge.
Let’s move on to a more cheery topic, shall we?
Since you’re a Big Ten guy and I’m obviously firmly entrenched in SEC Country, how do Big Ten, football fans feel about what’s become the most dominant conference in college football? Do you resent us, respect us or a little bit of both?
And, assuming the wife let you watch, of course, were you secretly rooting for Notre Dame in the BCS title game or do you hate the Irish too?
KP: Let’s not go and get an injury while patting yourself on the back. Sure, the writing at TWHS is making a bit of a comeback, though if you recall my times in the Fox Sports community, there were a lot of creative humor and opinion posts, too. I still have more progress to make, but there’s certainly an appreciation from the man who resides at SportsChump Manor. So, thank you, kind sir.
Wait… are we calling Big Ten Football a cheery topic? It was an ugly year for the conference, if you ask me. The coaching of Bill O’Brien and Urban Meyer was exceptional, but neither team was bowl eligible. In “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” fashion, even Bret Bielema bolted for the SEC.
Speaking of the SEC, I wouldn’t call it resentment or respect. I also am not the type to focus solely on the Big Ten conference, however, as a football fan, it does get old when the same conference continues to find ways into the title game.
Then again, rooting for Notre Dame isn’t exactly the happy day scenario for a lot of Big Ten football fans either. If you were to ask me to root for one team in particular, I’d probably tell you that in comparison, I’d rather have a root canal or a colonoscopy.
As for watching the BCS National Championship, the wife had no choice, but I also probably won’t have much of a choice when it comes to letting her get significant TV time watching either American Idol, The Voice or Grey’s Anatomy.
SC: That brings us back to our original point of discussion: the fine-tuned art of marital, sports sacrifice versus the sports sloth of a single man.
I remember living (in sin) with ex-girlfriends. When a big game (or rather, any game) came on the telly that they weren’t interested in, they’d immediately scamper off to the spare bedroom where another television gladly entertained them. Of course, I could always tell how pissed off they were if the volume blaring from that set rooms away overrode anything I could hear coming from my own.
But there was also a time, back in college, where I once again cohabitated with a member of the opposite sex whose tolerance of sports I once again pushed to the limits. There was only one set in the house back then and sacrifices needed to be made. Of course, that was so long ago, I can barely remember but I assure you they were color TVs and I’m pretty sure I was the one making most of the sacrifices (revisionist history).
So when it comes to walking the fine line between the wife and the game, I’d like to think I was once a seasoned pro. Probably out of practice now, though.
Is finding a long-termer who will tolerate your affinity for sports something one brings up on a first date or does one wait until wedding night to spring the lucky beer coozie, monogrammed bean bag and collection of decade-old, pit-stained game day t-shirts? Or was that so long ago for you that you don’t recall?
KP: If you are talking about the existence of color televisions, then you are really dating yourself, my friend.
But let’s get to your question, shall we?
From this side of the fence, that indeed was a long time ago and the memories of when the sports challenge came into play are quite fuzzy. Still, there are two instances that I recall.
First was March Madness, which goes way back in my family, as we each make our picks, looking to earn family bragging rights. To make THE WIFE feel included, of course I wanted her to make picks for the NCAA Tournament, only, she had never done it before. I taught her tournament basics, the rules of the bracket, like how a number one seed has never lost and how at least one twelve seed advances past the first round.
It took some time and led to some laughs (see the term “Gorgonzola” in the “Wifetionary” at The Wife Hates Sports), but in the end, THE WIFE picked a solid bracket and won the family pool. Because of her picks, watching the tournament brought some interest, but she would never admit to it. It was there and I was hopeful it would remain.
Since that year, her bracket picks have faltered and her interest has dwindled.
The other clear example has been Penn State football. This is mainly because we met through close friends, each of which is a Penn State grad, just like me. We have taken multiple trips back to State College, where we watched the Nittany Lions live. On top of that, we get together to eat, drink and be merry during every game on TV.
She often strays to a book or a magazine during the televised games, but you will see her occasionally cheer during the live contests. Oh, and by the way, the Nittany Lions are 8-0 when she visits Beaver Stadium, leaving the core group of friends to joke that we should ship her to home games we can’t make.
SC: What if I just came up with a fictitious wife, a la Manti Te’o? She could love sports, let me watch what I want to watch and I could e-mail her periodically telling her how much I loved her.
In retrospect, maybe Te’o was on to something.
KP: For all you know, that’s what I did!
SC: The big game is on Sunday, KP. What’s your take?
KP: The Baltimore Ravens have been thriving off of the raw emotion coming from Ray Lewis and his recent retirement announcement, while Joe Flacco has arguably been playing better than any quarterback during this year’s playoffs. For these reasons, among others, the Baltimore Ravens have earned a berth in Super Bowl XLVII.
But distractions from each could also derail the Ravens by the time the big game arrives. Flacco is taking heat from a poor choice in wording when discussing next year’s Super Bowl in New York while Lewis is fending off banned substance rumors.
These distractions could hinder Baltimore’s success come Super Bowl Sunday. Combine that with the multi-dimensional talents of Colin Kaepernick and the ferocity of San Francisco’s defense, and the game could easily sway into the favor of the 49ers.
Count on it. Baltimore keeps this one interesting, but San Francisco wins by an antler, er… a nose, 24-20.
SC: I’ll take your distractions and raise you some. I’m taking the Ravens in this one for a few reasons. I think the distractions on the opposite sidelines finally catch up to San Fran. Randy Moss claiming he’s the best ever, Chris Colliver’s gay-bashing, Michael Crabtree eventually reverting back to his former self and a dejected Alex Smith sitting the sidelines counting down the days ‘til he’s traded. Nothing against Colin Kaepernick but a quarterback in his eleventh career start against one of the best leaders and linebackers to play the game just shouts advantage Ray-Ray to me, deer antler spray or not.
Ray Lewis has come too far and will not be denied. He’ll end his career on a positive note, just like Jerome Bettis did in Super Bowl XL, riding off into the sunset with a Super Bowl victory. The Ravens offense will ride Ray Rice who the Niners will not be able to stop. Look for a boatload of carries and multiples touchdowns for kid Rutgers, leading to an eventual Super Bowl MVP.
Ravens 33, Niners 17.
Always a pleasure, sir. Here’s hoping the wife lets you watch the game… and not just the commercials.