Thursday, March 29, 2012

March Madness, indeed

I don’t get men and sports.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’m the youngest of four girls, and spent most of my formative years ENJOYING sports, but not memorizing players’ stats, buying playing cards in search of that one coveted Nolan Ryan card, or sitting through an entire boxing match without asking, “Why are they hitting each other?”

Over the years various men would try to explain how boxing is a sport, and they’re not really “hitting” each other, but there’s an art to it yadayadayada. See? I don’t get it.

So last weekend, when Craig asked if I wanted to go with him to meet some guys to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes play the Syracuse Orange in the Big Dance, I said, “No, but you have fun.”

Sure I wanted to watch the game, seeing that we’re both Ohio natives, and by default, life-long Buckeyes fans (I’m pretty sure it’s in our DNA). But did I want to go sit for three hours and watch grown men become rabid over a slam dunk?


And yet Craig persisted, and being a dutiful and loving wife (quiet!) I agreed to tag along.

We met up with two of his friends and my plan was to sit by quietly, allowing Craig to watch his alma mater play. But I don’t do anything “quietly” for very long.

That’s because it started: The stats came out.

“Check me on this,” said Sports Fan #1, pointing to Craig, “…didn’t Wyoming win the NCAA championship in 1943?”

Craig, taking out his iPhone, furiously tapped in the information and pulled up the stats, declaring that Sports Fan #1 was indeed correct.

“And didn’t Oregon win the very first NCAA championship title in 1939?” asked Sports Fan #2, not to be outdone by Sports Fan #1.

Once again, Craig punched that factoid into his iPhone and discovered that, low and behold, Sports Fan #2 was right as well.

I was trying to sit by quietly and listen to their conversation, but the irony was killing me. We’re talking about men who can’t find their keys from one day to the next, and yet they remember who played in the NCAA championship in 1943? So I asked Sports Fan #2, “Quick, how much did your daughter weigh when she was born?”

He took a few seconds before he asked, “Which one? I have three. But I’m pretty sure they were all between 7 pounds 5 ounces, and 7 pounds 11 ounces.”

I had to admit, this guy was impressive if even baby stats made the cut.

I went back keeping my thoughts to myself. The conversation then turned to their picks for the Sweet 16. Sports Guy #2 began, “Well, when it comes to bracketology, I like to choose my teams based on …”

I couldn’t stand it: “Excuse me? Bracketology? I’m pretty sure that’s not even a word,” I said smugly.

Craig, immediately punching into his portable brain device (see: iPhone), said triumphantly, “Yes it is!” as he showed me the Wikipedia entry.

Show of hands, ladies … when is the last time you used the word “bracketology” in a sentence, in context?”


This is why I don’t get men and sports. They have their own language, not unlike Klingon, which we can all agree is very unsettling.

There is, however, a very definite upside to last weekend’s experience. I don’t think Craig will be asking me to tag along to these sporting events again anytime soon.

Score one for me.

Eileen Burmeister lives, works and writes in Roseburg. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

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