…life on the synaptic firing range

Location: Los Angeles, United States

Bent but unbroken Southern California native seeks understanding, companionship, and resonance along and off the beaten path. Teresa plays well with others and makes every effort to perform to her potential. Usually. *processed in a facility that processes nuts and nut products

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

be my…sports fan?

There was a fair amount of yelling coming from the bedroom this morning while I was getting ready for work. Toweling my hair I went to investigate and found my partner sitting on the edge of the bed, positively riveted by an Olympic curling match: Sweden v. Canada. Most of the yelling was coming from the guys on TV, but occasionally she'd let loose an "Oh!" or "Nice!" I tackled and pinned her to the bed in my own homage to sport, and once she had affected a suitable look of mock-terror I rolled off to the side and watched the match for a minute.

"Oh!" she yelled as the broom guys scuttled toward the target with the big pucky thing and it knocked some other pucky things out of the way. Gauging my blank look, she asked whether I wanted her to explain why that play was so extraordinarily cool.

My partner revealed her true self to me close to 11 years ago, only a few weeks into our relationship. I was in the impossibly small kitchen of her studio apartment and she was in the bedroom/living area. "THREE!" she yelled gleefully, and I couldn't imagine what that meant. I went into the other room and found her watching a UCLA basketball game. Good God, I thought. She's a sports fan.

We were both attending UCLA at the time, and, as I was quickly made to understand, it was a playoff game, a really big playoff game that, if won, would get them into the championships, so I was willing to chalk her enthusiasm up to school spirit, in which case it was really kind of endearing. Rah! Go team! I could get behind that.

But I was deluding myself. Her love of sport revealed itself to me in fits and starts over the next year, becoming fully manifest once we moved in together. And though that playoff game served as my early warning sign of the many athletic diversions to come, she’s not much into basketball as a rule. In fact, of the "big four" U.S. sports—which I would soon learn include football, baseball, basketball, and hockey—the only one she pledges allegiance to is baseball. Not that she's some fanatic who runs around thrusting a big puffy number-one hand in the air, but she grew up rooting along with her family for her hometown boys, an underdog Atlanta Braves team in its fallow pre-'90s period. A kind of passion resulted from that long courtship, followed at last by victory. I could relate to that, having grown up within spitting distance of the Anaheim Angels.

Other than baseball, her taste veers off the beaten base path: English soccer, women's billiards, sheep dog trials. Seriously, she used to watch a show called "One Man and His Dog" on BBC America—when the BBC was still trying to figure out what British shows Americans might cotton to—and it was like watching paint dry. Oil paint. On a hot day. But she loved it. And she has this talent for absorbing information in practically osmotic fashion, such that watching a man in a plaid tam play with his border collie for 30 minutes makes her an instantaneous expert in sheepherding skills. It's uncanny.

I took a shine to bicycling a couple of years ago, and within a few months' time she knew more about the sport of cycling than I'll ever know—even if I were to apply myself. The first time we watched the Tour de France together she quickly committed the team names to memory and gleaned the roles of the various riders, from sprinters to climbers to domestiques. Her zeal makes me a little lazy, because I know that I can just watch all the colorful jerseys and beautiful bikes fly through the French countryside while she keeps track of what's actually going on. I expect to tap her talents next week when we go to the South Bay to watch a leg of the inaugural Tour of California. I haven’t so much as glanced at a roster or route map, but my partner, if asked right now, could rattle off every European team committed to attend, along with the name of each team's star rider—"captain" in cycling parlance—and the distances they’ll be riding each day.

It occurs to me sometimes that she deserves someone with whom she can share her vast reserves of idiosyncratic information, someone who would feast on her knowledge of curling rules like a dog alone at last with a honey-baked ham. And while I really do try to digest why that curling play was so cool, what I'm really thinking, what I can't help thinking while she's explaining it to me is, You're so goddam cute when you're excited about something.

Happy Valentine's Day, sweet fan of mine.


Blogger bryduck said...

You're wrong, Scout. She deserves someone like you. Exactly like you. You, in fact.

8:25 AM  
Blogger sporksforall said...

Let'e see...the UCLA games was during their 95 championship run, One Man and His Dog=brilliant. I just looked up the Tour of California teams and I had totally forgotten about Saunier-Duval Prodir. The others are: T-Mobile, Gerolsteiner, CSC, Phonak, and Credit Agricole. Disco is riding too, but they're a U.S. team. Does it help that I don't intend to memorize the minor teams? Ok, now that I'm done with all of that...

I love you too, sweetie.

9:12 AM  
Blogger sporksforall said...

See and then I looked again and Davitimon-Lotto is riding too. :)

9:12 AM  
Blogger treecup said...

Oil paint doesn't dry on a hot day? I didn't know that. Gosh, I'm dumb.

But when it comes to dumbness, I excel in sports. I'll never forget my horror when I first got together with my college boyfriend: It was basketball season, or baseball season, or one of those seasons with a ball in it, and he was transfixed. "Don't worry," he'd say, "basketball season is almost over." I completely failed to realize that there were no breaks between seasons if you were a sports fan, just continually overlapping endless seasons. The relationship was clearly doomed.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous g_lou said...

I can so relate! I love a sports fan, too. When we moved in together, it was clear that we would be a two television household, because a war between which is more imperative to watch, Stars vs. Red Wings or Antique Roadshow, could spell relationship disaster. (Well, to be completely honest, the two televisions are really so I can play the latest Final Fantasy on Playstation and he can simultaneously watch sports while playing Tiger Woods Golf on his PC. I'm surprised I was ever allowed a subscription to the New Yorker...)

10:44 AM  
Blogger Slangred said...

Hey, Sandra? Yeah, I got your back on the -ball seasons just bleeding on into each other. No breaks, no visible seams, no respite for the -ball weary. Because my permanent honey is quite serious about sports, even about the ones he says he really doesn't care much for, and because there is deep emotional meaning and attachment in that seriousness such that he wouldn't be bryduck without it, I have finagled things so we spent the last 3 Super Bowl Sundays with sporksforall and scout, where I can enjoy myself mightily, eat chips and chili, and only be vaguely, slightly, peripherally aware that the reason for gathering is a championship football game. BTW--baby J is just beutiful. Congrats!

11:58 AM  
Blogger Slangred said...

Oops, I meant "beautiful." Congrats again. And, scout, thanks for lending me sporksforall for lunch and library tours on V-Day. Her ability to know stuff osmotically came in handy for my nefarious purposes and it was delightful to spend time with her one-on-one which I haven't really ever had the chance to do. Sporks- thank you!

12:01 PM  

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