Or guy, I guess. This is 2012, right?
But for the purposes of this column, as I’ve spent the last twenty-five years wooing women, I’m gonna stick with what I know best ... Valentine’s Day is in August, right? ... uhh ... let’s keep this moving.
Now, sometimes you get lucky. My last lady was from Indianapolis, her dad was a gigantic Pacers fans, and I actually (somehow) converted her to a Bulls fan. She was obsessed with the NFL, to the point of actually winning her fantasy league as the only girl (with the help of yours truly, of course). She played sports too.
These are the sports significant others you dream about.
But then I started dating a lady who isn’t really into sports. And the ones she played, just happened to be gymnastics, dance, etc.
And we’re definitely not in the heart of gymnastics season. Or dance season. And I don’t even know if that’s true, or if dance even has a season, but that’s part of my point.
The NBA playoffs are in full steam. It’s your favorite time of the sports year. There are games every night. You’re lovin’ it. You’ve watched every minute.
But you’ve also run out of ideas of how to get out of the house.
Your lady is starting to find out that, regarding your nights out, you don’t exactly know enough plot points of “100 Years of Solitude” in order to partake in a four hour, nightly book club (eight on Sundays).
And that being said, three rounds still remain. Lots of exciting roundball to lay your eyes on. KD’s hitting game-winners. Clips are making 27 point comebacks. Players are dropping like flies.
And don’t even give me that “I don’t want to watch the playoffs. The Blazers are a hole right now. The sight of orange shaped spheres currently make me vomit.
I’m a Bulls fan. Bye Derrick. Later Noah.
I’m sick to my stomach. But the sport is bigger than the team. Basketball is glorious. And you gotta figure out a way to stay on your lady’s good side until mid-June, while catching every moment. Otherwise, she’s gonna lock you out, and it’s gonna take more skilled negotiators than the geniuses who handled the NBA debacle last summer to get you out of that one.
So, how do we soak up as much basketball as possible without losing that special lady?
Let’s start with...
Connect her to the game. Talk to her about how you’re John Lucas III’s height, and he’s what you’d look like scurrying around the court amongst the Red Woods. Talk to her about Steve Nash Foundation’s “Green the Earth” initiative. Mention to her that you’d like to visit Memphis or LA or Denver or wherever. Or talk about how much you dislike those cities. Maybe she digs Khlomar? Easy in, for sure.
Just find something. Some way to connect her to the game which will distract her from the idea that basketball is pretty much just a bunch of sweaty dudes bouncing off each other. Make them human. This could probably work with kids too, except the most interaction I’ve had with kids lately is making funny faces at them at the Cinco de Mayo festival on Saturday. Might have to go to a more veteran sports writer for that advice.
When step one’s backfired, in flies la musica. Start watching the game as usual. Enjoy it however you normally would. Then, halfway through the game, when you get the “Ugh. Basketball? Again?” talk, say nothing, simply mute the TV, and put on her favorite record. Do a little dance with her at halftime. Sit her down on the couch, game in the background, her jams rocking as well, and multitask, letting her talk about whatever her heart desires while watching Pau catch another pass in the act of shooting a lightening quick layup.
She’ll dig it. Music makes people feel good. Her favorite music will make her feel really good. And you’ll still have the game on in the background. Chances are, it won’t be coming down to the wire, so you don’t really need the sound, and if it does, put the sound back on for the last two minutes.
Warning: Actually listen to what she says. No explanation needed.
This step obviously takes a mature fan. A bit of sacrifice. But suck it up. Nobody else is gonna make you tilapia on a bed of rice pilaf any time soon ya slob.
Going to a Show
The next step up would be to take her to a show that also has a TV or two. Throw the bartender a decent tip to grab control of what ends up on the screen.
And once again - make it her music. Invite a bunch of people too, couples especially. Hang out with the ladies for a while, but sneak off and do the man thing with the other guys, watching the game, in hopes that your other halves will be enjoying the music and each other, and even if they catch you all away for a bit, might just laugh it away with a “Oh, your man’s hibernating in sportstopia, too?”
Tiny caveat though: Look out for the Argentinian guy with Don-Draper-neat hair, an eight pack of washboard, and hips that sway like legs of red wine when he walks. You might just spend too much time oogling Timmy D’s fundamentals, while your lady may be shortly thereafter learning Senor Roderigo’s Tango fundamentals... of the mouth.
Having an awesome lady and being a sports fan is a double-life struggle whose situation only rivals that of Superman.
A keen sense of when to be Clark Kent and when to pop into that phone booth could make or break whether or not you have somebody to pluck that gnarly back hair every week.
Also - apologies if I’ve given away any of your tricks here, but if your lady is an avid reader of the OSN, then you probably aren’t gonna need these tools anyway and we all hate you.
And please, use these sparsely. Don’t overwear. There’s still plenty of ball left to play, and we wouldn’t want the collective gathering of the others to figure us out.