Thursday, February 16, 2012

You've Gotta Be Kidding Me!

     I happen to be married to one of the world's biggest Detroit Red Wings fans. If Spartacus were to undergo a functional brain MRI, I think we'd see that a significant portion of his cortex is devoted to vital processes required for maintaining instant recall of the DRW's players and stats, when and where they are playing next, and whether the game will be televised. Even on, his username, "dethockwings", was Red Wings-related. He is incapable of sitting during DRW games, especially if we're watching them in the Stanley Cup playoffs. No, he instead stands mesmerized, a few inches in front of his recliner, feet spread hip width apart with arms extended and hands clasped in front of him, as if he's standing at attention for a high school football photo: no eating, no drinking, and only as much small talk as necessary to help me understand what's happening. This fervor extends to all other sports as well, in varying degrees. I am constantly amazed at his capacity for understanding all the rules and strategies of different games, which player got drafted or switched to which team, how many home games the Red Wings have won, how he always knows what's going on and who's winning at any given point in a game. It's nothing short of impressive.
     I, on the other hand, am not a sports fan. I never played any team sports, and I despised PE class in junior high and high school. I distinctly remember being in 8th grade, dressing out in the locker room, and having other girls point at the blonde hair on my legs, tittering amongst themselves about the fact that I hadn't started shaving yet. Horrors! I immediately went home and asked my parents if I could start shaving my legs. What I received was a lecture from my Polish father, who by virtue of his European-ness, didn't have a problem with axillary or leg hair on women. He assured me there was nothing wrong with this "soft, downy hair", wondering why I would want to get rid of it? I took matters into my own hands, borrowed Mom's razor, and de-fuzzed both my legs and my armpits that afternoon. Unfortunately, having smooth legs did not solve my basic underlying problem with PE, which was the fact that I didn't understand how to play volleyball or basketball, the only two sports we ever seemed to play. Oh wait, I forgot about dodgeball. That was where the aggressive, mean girls took all their hormonal rage and frustrations out on nerds like me, after we'd suffered the humiliation of being picked last by the team captain. What fun! I honestly don't recall receiving formal instruction in the rules of any of these games, and it became apparent to me that our coaches just expected that we already knew how to play, like any other good American kid.
     My friend, Julie, is the epitome of the soccer mom, although I don't think either of her kids played soccer. When DJ and Kiah were in grade school, she managed to travel with them on most weekends for their various tournaments, attend their seemingly nightly home games during the week, and still work full-time as an anesthesiologist. Both DJ and Kiah now play college basketball on full scholarships, and are excellent athletes and students. The other night, Julie TM'd me, and told me she was about to watch her daughter, Kiah, who plays for UCONN, in a game against Oklahoma. Knowing that I'm not a sports-fan, she hinted that Spartacus might enjoy watching it. We tuned into ESPN2 at 9 p.m. to watch Kiah play. During the game, Spartacus fed me information about which position Kiah plays (center and power forward) and other specifics about the game and her teammates, which I covertly translated into intelligent-sounding text messages to Julie, "cracking her up" with my newly acquired knowledge of the game. This made me feel pretty good about myself, sort of like learning basketball by osmosis. At one point, right after UCONN had scored two points and were still hanging out under the basket, I turned to Spartacus and asked him if UCONN could continue to make more baskets, provided no one took the ball away from them. The look of disbelief on his face was priceless. It reminded me of the night, not too long ago, when we were both in our pajamas watching the Red Wings, and I asked him if he would walk down to Honeymoon Bakery before it closed to get me a caramel cupcake. His response was, "The only thing that would get me up outta this chair right now is if you needed a Kotex or something." Ba-da-bing! After his shock over my stupid question had dissipated, Spartacus gently informed me that, no, a team cannot just stand underneath the basket, scoring points, because that would be "a real clusterfuck." Gotcha! Nevertheless, I did enjoy watching Kiah play, and am planning to keep up with her games. It's fun seeing someone I actually know on the court.
    I think Spartacus is starting to relish these "you've gotta be kidding me!" moments. He's always told me how smart he thinks I am, how he could never be a doctor, an observation which typically elicits my standard response: "There is no way I could understand IT or sports like you do!" For instance, when he shows me his Visio diagrams for mapping out a network, I see lightning bolts and flying saucers and pretty colors, instead of routers and voice-over IPs. The Cisco books he has to read and comprehend are mind-boggling; what the hell do all those acronyms mean? Sports are second-nature for him; he's always been an athlete, and was born with a ball in his hand. It's intuitive for him, whereas for me, it's a real struggle. Maybe this is one reason we get along so well: the playing field really is level between us. Common sense and intuition are aptitudes that can't be measured by an intelligence test; we are both intelligent in our own ways. We each contribute our unique set of skills, knowledge, and interests to our relationship, fitting together like pieces of a puzzle, instead of repelling each other like magnets. Most of the time, we like learning from one another. Now, if he can just help me understand what the heck "icing" means and why ice hockey has "periods" instead of "thirds"!


  1. I was going to comment on the previous blog about nature vs nurture, but now after reading this one, I can include all my thoughts in one comment.
    First of all, I think we may need to keep Oopsie and Brayden apart...Brayden, in his ripe young age of nearly 14, has all of that knowledge that Oopsie has about the Red Wings, except Brayden's knowledge is about ALL athletes/teams except Hockey!!! It truly amazes me the useless knowledge he possesses when it comes to sports related topics. And not that I'm not used to it, my dad had the same knowledge and I cherish Brayden because I'm so used to it from dad and I miss him so very much, I think Brayden's knowledge is my gift of having dad live on just a little! LOL
    Brayden was only 8 when dad passed away and that's pretty young so I find it hard to think that dad had a huge influence on his love for sports. Brayden's dad, Kevin, is also a huge sports buff, Brayden and him don't agree on most of their favorite teams, but maybe that's where he gets it. Although, Kevin hasn't been a huge part of Brayden's life so it makes me it in his blood??
    I know that I am a sports fan, but I like to watch and enjoy it I do get pretty involved and excited, but I also like to look at the hot guys! I know that I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to sports but I have no interest in knowing all the mind numbing stats!

    1. Shannon, Oopsie and I need to make a trip up there soon! I am sure he and Brayden would have a fantastic time together...Oopsie is still a pretty good ball player, and I am sure he would impart some of his wisdom about hockey to Brayden. According to Mom, I got Dad's non-sport genes, but I am trying to be enthusiastic about hockey and other sports because it brings so much joy to Brad. When he explains it to me, it's actually kind of fun!