It is most every man’s dream: a woman who not only accepts your passion for sports, but shares it. A wonderful, beautiful, loving and caring partner who can look at NFL rosters and tell you what college the players went to.
Someone who wakes up on Saturday morning during football season and hands you a cup of coffee, and then tells you what time and network all of the games are on that day.
Be careful what you wish for.
Cindy is a loving wife and an LSU fan. She lives in Ohio where her husband (me) is a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Cindy drives (by coincidence?) a scarlet and gray SUV with Ohio plates, a Buckeyes license frame, and an LSU Tigers sticker on her rear window (I tell her it just makes her look like she lost a bet).
Her brother, also an LSU fan, is married to a Kentucky woman, which only made things interesting there after her team beat his in last year's regular season. You cannot survive those defeats without a heavy dose of humility.
When Ohio State and LSU played for a national championship, it was a matchup we "hoped" for all season, but for good reason prayed wouldn't happen.
No matter who wins, in a house divided, the title matchup isn't just another game.
It is a bragging right that forever finds its way into conversations—a bruise that will not heal.
I already knew what was coming. I have experienced it every year since 1995, when her Atlanta Braves beat my Cleveland Indians in the World Series.
So from experience, here are some helpful tips to survive college football season in a house divided.
1. Buy a really, really, really, big, cozy, comfortable couch. She may not kick you out of the bedroom, BUT after your team loses to hers, you might just voluntarily choose to sleep where there's less sarcasm.
2. Raise your kids to be fans of YOUR team. It helps a lot to have more of you in the house.
3. Remember, YOU are the master of the remote (after you pry it from her tender, loving hands).
4. Use baseball season to do chores around the house. Wash the dishes, fold laundry, send flowers, buy jewelry, walk the dog...because after football season starts IT IS ON. Accumulate all the brownie points that you can before September.
5. Believe in your heart that she respects you (even if it isn’t true) for being as big a fan of your team as she is of hers. It will give you more courage to do something like decorate the side of YOUR garage that she parks on with Sports Illustrated covers from your team (for example). There’s nothing wrong with living the fantasy.
6. Have more than one TV in the house and make sure they are on different floors...just in case.
7. Use YOUR money to buy her something small with her team logo on it to show how much you love her in spite of your differences.
8. Use what’s left of YOUR money to buy something really big with your team's logo on it...and tell her it's for the kids.
9. Stay up on timely topics, so that if necessary, you can change the subject.
10. Become fans of an NFL team you can both support on Sunday, which mercifully follows Saturday.