The Intimacy of Close Games
On Monday, I wrote a post listing five things I won’t do with a woman until I get married. One of the items included attending a Pittsburgh Steelers game in Pittsburgh. As I explained, such a momentous occasion could only be shared with whom I’m going to spend the rest of my life. A girlfriend can definitely take me to a Pittsburgh away game, but a home game would be way too intimate.
Women understand how important sports are to men, because for some women, sports are just as important to them. What I think is sometimes missed is the kind of effect sports can have on a relationship. If a man and a woman can bond over something sports related, fantastic. But they must be careful. Few things will bring a couple closer together and have a more lasting effect on their relationship than a close game.
Three years ago, my ex-girlfriend and I watched the now legendary Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots. My brother is a huge New York Giants fan, one of those die-hard fans who is easy to shop for come Christmas or birthdays because all the gift needs to be is something with the New York Giants logo on it. Ever since I moved to New York, I’ve always watched games at his apartment, my team and of course his team. The year my ex and I were together, she would join me and coincidentally, this was the year the Giants made their imprbable run to the Super Bowl.
With my team out of the playoffs, my ex and I were pulling for my brother’s team. Anyone who was following football during the 2007-2008 season remembers the drama surrounding that Super Bowl. The Giants were huge underdogs against a Patriots team that had yet to lose a game. Few people believed the Giants would even win, even though they had come close to defeating them just weeks earlier in the last regular game of the season.
For those who remember the game, I don’t need to explain how miraculous the Giants victory was. You saw it, and you probably still remember it. I know I do, and I remember two things specifically once the clock ran down and the Giants were declared Super Bowl Champion: The first is the image I have of my brother, totally inebriated and emotional, falling to his knees with tears in his eyes and hands raised in the air and all his friends, also New York Giants fans, jumping on top of him. And I also remember my ex-girlfriend running and jumping onto me, with a smile so big, you would’ve thought she was one of the teams cheerleaders (it should be noted, the Giants and the Steelers are the only two teams in the NFL who don’t have cheerleaders). I of course was excited too and for a few minutes, anyone who saw my ex and I would swear we changed colors from Steelers black and gold to Giants to blue and white.
The euphoria of such a dramatic victory didn’t leave when we left my brother’s apartment, for days her and I would be doing something and randomly one of us would say, “Can you believe the Giants won?” Then we would laugh and hi-five. Keep in mind, prior to her coming to New York to be with me, my ex had never watched a Giants game in her life. I don’t even think she watched an NFL game for all four quarters prior to moving in with me.
But even months before the Super Bowl, a similar thing happened to us when we watched the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Ricky Hatton. Once again, we were dealing with a sporting event that had a lot of buzz going into it. Those familiar with big boxing matches know HBO usually does a series called 24/7 where for a few weeks, they follow the fighters of an upcoming major match, and document their training and preparation. It’s quality television, whether you’re a boxing fan or not, and knowing this, I turned my ex-girlfriend onto the show because I knew when fight night came, she would be all in like I’m all in.
Sure enough, it worked like a charm. Remember how much Floyd dominated the fight, especially in the tenth round when he TKO’d Hatton? Those few seconds, when Mayweather was drilling Hatton, had me, my friends, and my ex standing up, yelling at the television, shadow boxing. When Hatton went down, headfirst into the turnbuckle, first thing my ex and I did was hug each other.
If my ex and I were still together, these memories would be great, but since we’re not, they can be bittersweet. This is the effect great, dramatic games will have on couples who choose to watch them together. I remember watching a regular season basketball game between the Sacramento Kings and the New York Knicks with another ex of mine back in 2005. This was a zero-stakes game, and I remember everything about it. Why? The game was close, and by the fourth quarter, that ex was all into it just like I was.
If a couple watching sports together is the equivalent of them sleeping in the same bed, watching a close game together is the equivalent of having sex in that bed they share; incredibly good, passionate, room-shaking sex. So this year, ith the NFL playoffs right around the corner, and my Pittsburgh Steelers one of the favorites to go to the Super Bowl, I’m relieved to not have to share the journey with anyone else but maybe a few friends, my brother, and his girlfriend. I’ve watched some very close games with some very important women in my life, and I don’t know if I like my memories mixing that way.
The Process: Today, I ran wearing my Under Armour gear, and let me just say, those clothes are WARM. Very wise purchase for those who workout outside in cold weather.
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