For Everyone Who's Ever Loved Someone Who Loves Sports

A poem about game day.

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His breathing was heavy,
his skin had a sheen
As he shouted "FUCK YOU, REF!"
at the television screen.
"Are you OK, dear?"
His wife poked her head in.
She knew there’d be fallout
if his team didn’t win.

"I’M GREAT! JUST LOVE SPORTS!!!"
he said, gripping his beard
With such force that
tiny blood droplets appeared.
"Good," she said,
glancing at the dent in the wall
Where he’d once slammed his fist
when his team lost the ball.

She didn’t like sports;
she always got bored
So on game day she was
used to being ignored
But it was important to him,
and so invested was he
She tuned out his yelling
and just let him be

"SPORTSBALL IS AWESOME!"
he was known to exclaim
But he never seemed happy
while watching the game
"HAVING A BLAST
OUT HERE WITH THE GUYS!"
He’d text from the stadium,
as tears filled his eyes.

It’s always the ones
who claim to be rational
Who come most undone
over the outcome of nationals,
“All women are crazy”
they say without shame
Then win, lose, or draw,
they set couches aflame.

"You seem so emotional,"
he was fond of noting
When they fought about issues
like politics and voting
"Yes, well, black lives matter,"
she’d tiredly point out.
And he’d agree
that black athletes’ lives indeed count.

"Sports is my first love,"
he’d told her before.
"It’s just something about me;
I’m a fan at my core."
"Sports isn’t real life,
but I am," she said.
"And the team’s losing record
is affecting our bed."

It was true; on the days
that his team lost badly,
He just wasn’t in the mood —
he’d tell her sadly,
"I’m deflated after seeing
that pisspoor defense."
And with each loss
the air in their home grew more tense

“Sports is how I relax!”
he’d profess
As his blood pressure doubled
from all of the stress.
And when his doctor asked him
if he knew a reason
Both men accepted
it had been a rough season.

"I’m feeling both sad and annoyed,"
said the wife.
And the therapist said,
"Men love sports — that’s just life."
Her mother-in-law backed this,
and went on to say,
"The men in this family
have always done things this way."

So though sports were not something
she really found fun
It now mattered to her
whether his team lost or won
For a loss meant no snuggling,
no loving, just pouting
So on game day, she watched with him,
swearing and shouting.

And no matter the outcome,
she was there by his side
As they did what they had to,
in the name of team pride
She’d strike up a match,
and late into the night
They’d make love by the glow
of the couch that burned bright.

Illustrations by Jenny Chang for BuzzFeed