My Life with a Football-Obsessed Husband

Sometimes you have to take one for the team.

photo by Phil Roeder

   Thank you to the sports Gods that after Feb. 5, Super Bowl Sunday football season is officially over for at least six months. Yahoo! I don’t know if I could have handled one more day. It’s not that I’m a hater. It’s just that this season has been rough on my husband, and I’m over his mood swings predicted on how his teams are performing.

   The absolute worst was in November when KU beat the University of Texas. The whole family was at that game, and I was almost 100 percent certain that my husband, the Longhorn, was going to have a seizure.

   The day started out all fine and dandy. It was a chilly Saturday in November, and due to the Jayhawks having a football season that was less than stellar — OK, it was heartbreakingly dismal — I’ve seen more people at the Nordstrom Rack on a Wednesday than in the stadium. But the folks that were there were enthusiastic and even hopeful, and that just stole my heart.

   I told my husband, “Sorry, dude, but this is the last game of the season, and I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy about this team. I’m thinking I have to cheer for KU.”

   That statement earned me an eye roll from my husband. So, I responded with: “Blame it on that cool wheat-waving thing and the school chant. Both total awesomeness.”

   “Oh, really?” he asked. “Better than Hook ‘em, Horns?”

   “Um yeah. Hook ‘em, Horns doesn’t give me goose bumps, but that chant does. Plus, I’m not a UT alum, so it’s not like I’m committing a treasonous offense by rooting for KU. Also, FYI: Our son goes here and therefore our money. So consider me backing our financial investment.”

   That got a snort out of him. Truth be told I love watching KU football. The stadium is a manageable size that doesn’t require GPS to find your seats; the bathrooms are exceptionally clean with what seems to be a quality 2-ply toilet paper and a mighty three cheers for the concessions.

   You know what happens when a college football stadium goes ginormous? Besides losing its charm, it eludes any kind of authentic concession experience. That day, I got two homemade caramel apples with an overlay of white and dark chocolate and festive sprinkles. Then I went back for some hot chocolate being sold by some guy who had artistry with marshmallow placement. It’s all very Mayberry, and I liked it.

   I’ve watched college games at some of those huge stadiums, and it feels like a Justin Bieber concert — lots of screaming and everyone is staring at the gargantuan screens instead of the field. The whole experience has a lot in common with being in the TV department at a Best Buy on a Black Friday. There’s nothing that feels remotely collegiate.

   The game, for the most part, was painful to watch. It wasn’t exactly stellar football, but thankfully my caramel apple chased with some popcorn kept me somewhat entertained. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that things got real. My husband — who had been confident that Texas would win, not because they were any good, mind you, but because Kansas hadn’t beaten the horns since 1938 —started heavily whisper-cursing.

   When the game went into overtime with Kansas winning 24-21, he turned ashen and I got scared thinking “Yikes. Am I going to have to put down my second caramel apple of the day and do CPR?” Well, that’s kind of a lie. At first, I didn’t care about my husband. I was too busy screaming and jumping up and down and doing my very own wheat wave, which my daughter described as both “scary and disturbing.”

   The whole spousal concern came much later, and when it did, I was alarmed. My husband wasn’t looking so great. I did the only thing that I knew might help him. I got out my phone and went to Burnt Orange Nation and started reading the tweets about the game. I figured my husband needed the fellowship of his tribe during this difficult time.

   The car ride home from Lawrence was brutal. The poor man was going through the five stages of grief and seemed to be stuck in the denial and anger phases. He made me keep reading updates from the Burnt Orange Nation’s Twitter feed. At first, I tried to be understanding of his anguish, but after we got close to Olathe on K-10, I was seething.

   My primary rage was predicated on the fact that I was jealous — yes,  jealous —of my husband’s passion for football. I had to let him have it. I started in with the time-worn phrase, “Oh my God. It’s just a game. Get over it. You should be happy for all of the KU football players who are seniors. They’ll remember that win their whole lives.”

   He quickly shared that he begrudged KU nothing. He was just gobsmacked that Texas football could be so lame. This was my cue to zone out for a couple of minutes because I knew what was coming: the speech about how UT has all this money and connections and yet can’t seem to field a decent team. (Total snoozer!)

   After he finished that rant, I floated the question that almost every woman in America, at one time or another during football season, has wanted to ask. “So, do you ever think you’ll love me as much as you do football?”

   Crickets. I’m talking total silence. Then finally I got this from him, “That’s just stupid.”

   “Stupid because your answer is, of course, football?” I quickly threw back.

   “No, stupid because it’s a ridiculous question.”

   “Hmm, maybe,” I said, “but I’m certain if men spent as much time obsessing over their spouses as they do football, the divorce rate would be zero.”

   “What are you talking about?” my husband asked, confused. “You love football. Lots of woman love football.”

   And right then and there I just gave up, replying, “Yes, I enjoy football” and then I began reading aloud updates from Burnt Orange Nation.

   Sure, I could have gotten into it over my husband’s long, all-consuming love affair with football, but it would have been a waste of time. There are some things you just have to accept about your spouse. 

  1. He will never grasp that perhaps I enjoy football because he enjoys it so much.
  2. I have to realize that football was my husband’s first love. Nothing is going to ever erase that emotion. Therefore, I stand before you today as my husband’s second choice for true love forever (Full disclosure, I’m guessing I was his second choice. Who knows? Maybe I’m the third string behind the Royals.)

   And I’m OK with all of that. Really I am. Primarily because his first love comes with really good food. Caramel apple, anyone?