How Sports Can Strengthen Your Relationship
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Millions of women are forced to endure the same pain Sunday after Sunday after Sunday –- and often Monday after Monday after Monday, too. Each week, millions of us become sports widows.

I understand the situation because I’ve been there. A few years ago, I was dating this really athletic guy. He was really into football -– a huge Notre Dame fan. I, being at the beginning of a possible relationship, decided that it would be a good idea for me to show an interest in his hobby.

One Sunday, in a moment of stupidity and loss of all reason, he invited me to watch the game with him.

And, in a moment of stupidity and loss of all reason, I told him I’d love to.

I’m pretty sure he never spoke to me throughout the entire game. We sat on separate couches. He stared at the TV, screaming as if he were the coach. During commercials, he called all of his friends to discuss their excitement and/or disgust with the game, the players, the refs, and the coaches. Then he returned to watching the game.

During the game, one thought continued to cross my mind: I wonder if there are women sitting at his friends’ houses, too. And I wonder if they’re also wondering if spray-painting the dog would get them any amount of attention. And if so, I wonder if he’d hand over the phone, so I could talk to them.

Throughout the years, however, I’ve actually become quite a sports lover. I love hockey. And basketball. Heck, I even love wrestling. Anything but baseball. I believe that televised baseball’s only purpose is to serve as background noise for a Sunday afternoon nap.

I do, however, understand the frustration of those of you who don’t understand your man’s love of sports. But instead of becoming ornery about his tuning you out during the game, you need to take advantage of this unique opportunity. By just paying attention to your man’s obsession with sports, you can learn more about him than you ever could by reading every single book in the Men are from Mars... series.

Most women will accuse men of being completely incapable of commitment. But please allow me to take a moment to analyze the guy who has maintained a constant, long-term relationship with the White Sox for as long as he can remember. He still has a paper cup from the first soda his dad bought him at his first White Sox game. He has baseball cards and pennants and shirts and ink pens and hats and boxer shorts with the team logo haphazardly placed on them. He has the team logo tattooed on his arm.

In the number of years that he’s been a White Sox fan, this guy can only remember a handful of games that the team has actually won. He can, however, tell you the exact date of each win, as well as the opponent, the final score, and any other important statistics.

Does this not demonstrate supreme commitment? If a man ever tells you that he has a difficult time with commitment, confront him on this one.

As I was sitting at my friend Dan’s house, watching the hockey playoffs, I asked him what it was about sports that turned guys into drooling vegetables. He wiped the spit from his chin and answered without the slightest hesitation.

“Competition,” he said with a grin.

“That’s it?”

“Yup.” And then he went back to his previously vegetative state.

From this, we can deduce that men love -– no, they need –- competition. They live for it. Consider softball leagues (or any sporting leagues, really). Guys get all riled up about these leagues. They dress like pros, and they pretend they’re real athletes who really know how to play real sports.

That’s when the trash-talking and ass-slapping begins. (I now refer you to point number three.)

So what does this need for competition mean for women? It means that we need to give them the competition that they long for. Make them compete for you. The more guys after you, the more they’ll want you. They’ll fight for you. They’ll pine for you. They’ll do everything they can to win you. They’ll do stupid things to get your attention. And they’ll spend a lot of money to impress you.

This will be an easy task for those women who actually do have other male admirers. It will, however, be more difficult for those who are a little more, well, desperate. But don’t worry. It’ll just take a little more creativity.

Just make up some suitors. Act suspicious. Tell him you’re signing up for some kind of art class or joining a health club or something. Those are always excuses that people give when they’re seeing someone else. Then start screening your calls –- and don’t answer when it’s him. When you call him back, tell him you were “out,” and suspiciously refrain from giving any details.

Within weeks, he’ll be overwhelmed with uncontrollable passion for you, and you’ll have football to thank for it.

Back to my friend Dan. After further thought -– or perhaps it was just the next commercial break -– he came up with another reason for men’s obsession with sports.

“You can see yourself doing it,” he explained. He pointed to a replay of an exceptionally fantastic play by Steve Yzerman. “I can do that.”

Sure, Dan’s a great guy. And he plays all kinds of sports. But I believe he’s broken more bones than records in his sporting attempts.

I never before realized that Dan was such an imaginative guy.

The lesson to be learned from this? Don’t be fooled into thinking that guys aren’t imaginative! Any guy who can convince himself that he can play like Yzerman will have no problem thinking of a perfectly creative, romantic night out.

At the next commercial break, Dan thought of one more reason why men’s lives revolve around sporting events.

“And it’s high-action,” he told me, adding, “Except for baseball. I don’t know why anyone watches baseball.” (See? I was right!)

Thus we learn about men’s need for action. But this is a special kind of action -– the kind that he can experience from his couch, without any physical exertion whatsoever. This is a challenging one for women. You’ll have to be creative. Maybe you could stage a duel in his living room.

You might want to take a little more time to think about this one. Maybe you could just be melodramatic a lot. Yeah… guys love melodrama. Make everything more dramatic and action-filled than it really is. Yell a lot. Cry a lot. Tell him about the excitement of driving to work. Or of the action and excitement of going grocery shopping. He’ll really appreciate it -– and he’ll love you even more for it.

Though men never mention it, I truly believe that there are a number of things that men do only because the activity gives them an excuse to eat. Take weddings, for instance. Men go to weddings for the food. I think some men actually throw their own weddings just for the food.

Pay attention sometime when you’re being ignored by a guy who’s watching some kind of sporting event. Peanuts. Corn chips. Pizza. Beer. Pork rinds. And it’s just not the same without the food.

So it could very well be correct that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But don’t bother cooking. It takes too long, and it could end with him eating something he doesn’t like and/or can’t pronounce.

Just bring pork rinds.

As you can clearly see, we women should be thankful for sports. Don’t think of it as an inconvenience. Don’t think of it as destroying your relationship. Think of it as your man opening himself up to you -– showing you who he really is. Think of it as an opportunity to get to know him better.

Think of it as a great time to steal his credit card while he’s ignoring you and do some shopping.

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