FRANK MURTAUGH | JUNE 11, 2007
Im celebrating my 13th wedding anniversary this week, and at the risk of
mixing institutions many would say are mutually exclusive, Id like to offer
13 sound reasons being a married sports fan beats cheering from the single
A true sports fan never ages. No man brought to tears by a missed field
goal has ever qualified for social security. Keep your marriage young (if
not vibrant), by default.
You have a partner to play catch with, every day, all year. The saddest
sight in any park is a person -- alone -- with a baseball mitt and ball.
(Precisely, you NEVER see such. Its that sad.) The first step my beloved
took toward becoming a Murtaugh was stinging my left hand with her fastball.
The true measure of a wedding vow. Real commitment has nothing to do with
sickness or health, wealth or poverty. Commitment is seeing the woman you
love in Little Rocks War Memorial Stadium on a Saturday night in November
when the wind chill hits 25 degrees. Bundled as best she can, surrounded by
Hog fans in camouflage, there only so you can see Peyton Manning throw one
more college pass . . . she told you this is for life.
Breakfast in bed . . . at Wimbledon. There are rare cases when sports
allow you to go above and beyond, to show that, yes, you care . . . even
with a championship on the line. Every July, men in the central time zone
get up early on a Sunday morning to watch the mens final of the greatest
tennis championship in the world. Perfect opportunity, gents, to heat up a
bagel, cut some strawberries, pour some OJ, and deliver a tasty surprise.
Just get the tray delivered before the end of the first set.
There is ALWAYS something you can get right. What do you mean, the
checkbook isnt balanced this month? Laundry not in the hamper? No gas in
the tank? Well, well . . . I know the infield fly rule!
Analogies are easy. Honey, you cannot have the first slice of cake you
cut. Thats like an onside kick! Mary Jane Baby-sitter isnt available?
We gotta find a pinch-hitter, darling. That is a total exaggeration!
Sweetheart, if you were on a basketball court, youd be guilty of flopping.
Or try this one: I know I didnt help get the kids ready for bed tonight.
But you have to remember, Im this teams ace. And an ace gets four nights
off for every night of action. (Be careful, though. This one can come back
and bite you.)
When the in-laws call, you can always be watching the game. With my
wifes family, it could be 11:00 Tuesday morning, and this would work. If
you have sports fans for in-laws, be sure and pick your distraction
carefully. (Theres always the backup, too: a game you recorded earlier.)
The breakthroughs -- while rare -- are golden. I told myself Id never marry
a woman who couldnt define a sacrifice fly. When my beloved actually broke
sports news to me -- it was Darryl Strawberry signing with the Dodgers in
1990 -- I was hers, for life.
You develop your own language, devoid of sweet-nothings. My wife has a
quaint, quick way of ending a conversation before I get into ERA, field-goal
percentage, or third-down efficiency: sportssss. She hangs on that last
s like Sir Hiss from Disneys Robin Hood. Sportsssss. I get it.
Stuck in a press box, the home team down by three touchdowns before
halftime, you develop an acute appreciation for what really matters in life.
Yep, rub that ring finger.
It can be hard as a sports fan these days to retain faith in the American
family. Children out of wedlock has become the norm among the NBA set.
Domestic abuse is an annual item on the NFL rap sheet. So be an example,
both to yourself and to the code of decency so many of our millionaire
heroes have forsaken.
The hugs are Hall of Fame material. Last October 27th, when Adam
Wainwright struck out Detroits Brandon Inge to win the World Series for St.
Louis, Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina enjoyed the SECOND biggest hug
in North America that night.
You think losing that final playoff game hurts? Imagine life without that
teammate at the dinner table. You may love sports. But she, for some
magical, mysterious reason, loves YOU.