Starving an Obsession

My husband, Matt, spent Tuesday night at a bar watching the big bowl game for his alma mater, Virginia Tech. He was with a bunch of other Tech alums, and they all cared about the game. I stayed home with the kids that night, and you know what? I didn’t mind at all.

Matt’s obsession with Tech football is beyond my comprehension. The man is freakin’ crazy. So crazy that he talks to me about Tech ball all the time. He knows how little I care. I don’t even listen to be polite anymore but the guy just won’t get the hint. He even backs up game footage for me to see key plays.

I went to the University of South Florida and, though they have a pretty good team now, they did not have football when I was there. So I never watched college football – never cared, still don’t. He is constantly telling me “You guys beat Notre Dame,” and I say, “Who’s YOU?” Then he explains that “you” is “my” team. I’m glad they’ve got a good program now, but their wins mean nothing to me.

Back to Matt. When we first started dating, he took me to a Tech game. We met some friends down in Blacksburg, Virginia, tailgated and watched the game. The game was a blowout, the stands were freezing; the highlight was the fun we had spiking our sodas with smuggled liquor. But all in all, it was fun. And Matt jumping up and down screaming at the top of his lungs for his team was appropriate to the situation. Afterwards, we went to the book store to buy Tech gear. I was totally onboard. Matt was overjoyed that I willingly participated in his self-proclaimed crazy obsession.

I didn’t watch any other Tech games with Matt at the beginning of our relationship. We were both Dolphins fans, so when we watched football together, it was NFL. After about six months of dating, Matt’s apartment “allegedly” caught fire (but that’s another story) and he moved in with me. That’s when I saw his true maroon and orange. Every Saturday, and some Thursday nights, he’d watch a game, jumping up and down and screaming “COME ON REF! HOLDING!” or “BLOCK IN THE BACK! WHAT THE HELL?” Then he’d tell me, in great detail, how the officials cheated for the other team. This happened – happens — every single game.

So I went from liking the game experience to hating the drama every Saturday. The years went by. We got married and got a house so we didn’t have to be in the same room during games. Then we moved to Seattle. When we bought our house here, we specifically chose it because of its potential for a Man Cave. Matt created that Man Cave – bar at one end, maroon couch with orange pillows at the other. I told him that the Man Cave was his place to watch Tech games and he heartily agreed.

Well, Matt does not watch his games in the Man Cave. I think that in the three years we’ve lived in the house, he’s watched maybe four games down there. He prefers to watch games in my living room. And it makes me miserable. Instead of having his lunacy safely tucked away downstairs, it’s flagrantly displayed up here, where I could be watching “Sex and the City” if this maniac wasn’t taking up my space.

But I guess I should be happy about his personal interest in the game. One of the big issues in my last marriage was that my ex-husband had no interests of his own. He said he liked dressing up all medieval and sword-fighting, but he never made an effort to pursue it during our relationship. I hated carrying the burden of all of his social and entertainment needs. I had softball, and he had nothing to do with that. In fact, if he attended a game he’d read until I got up to bat. I finally told him not to come to games at all. And it was good to feel like I had my own thing.

Once I shooed my ex off the bleachers I enjoyed softball more, probably because it was mine again. And that’s why I have issues with Matt’s Virginia Tech obsession. He tries to include me in it even though he knows I’m not interested. And I don’t want to be included.

I love his obsession as long as he enjoys it without me. And that’s what happened this week. When we first moved to Seattle, he’d go to a bar every Saturday and watch games with other Tech fans. And I loved it. But once the kids came, he had this crazy idea that he needed to be home “for the children,” even though he’d wake them up with all of his crazy yelling. He has taken advantage of the time at home, though. This year he stained the living room ceiling while listening to games on the radio. And he does take the kids to the gym some game days, to give me time to write the blog. (He wanted me to say that. What he didn’t want me to say is that those times, the game’s not on TV here so it doesn’t really matter.)

So this week, when he asked if I’d mind his trip to the bar, I said no, not at all. I’m hoping I can encourage his outside interest to stay outside our home, but unfortunately, this is the last chance I’ll get until next season. I’m thinking of launching a campaign to make him watch “Sex and the City,” by backing up to key scenes and discussing the girls’ love lives with him at length, asking questions about “a guy’s perspective.” If that doesn’t work, I plan to redecorate the Man Cave as a writing room with my antique typewriter, bookcase and framed articles on the walls. Or maybe a dress-up room for Rose, complete with princess castle. If that doesn’t work, I’ll be the one to go to a bar during his games.