Having two young sons means securing three straight hours to do just that is all but impossible.
Three hours? In a row? For myself? Might as well imagine Scarlett Johansson demanded I play the romantic lead in her next movie.
Scarlett … you have my head shot, right?
Leisure time becomes as rare as a gold doubloon when you have children. And you treat blocks of free time with care, bartering with your wife when needed, or stockpiling fatherly deeds to be used at a later date. We really should have an app to handle these transactions.
I won’t lose any sleep if our Denver Broncos lose this afternoon. I’m technically a New York Giants fan, but living in Denver gives you an obligation to root for the locals. Missing the Broncos’ playoff games, win or lose, still comes with a price I’d rather not pay.
I’m no chest beater, but there’s something intrinsically male about football. The sport is all about manly attributes, from playing through pain to staring down three-hundred pound men and not running in the other direction. What if my friends start talking about today’s game come Monday, and I’m left piecing plays back together from the ESPN game recap?
Football watching has a secondary benefit – it could infect my young sons and become a lifelong habit. So far, that hasn’t happened. If Curious George threw on some shoulder pads, my boys would be glued to the television set. Professional football isn’t as appealing, at least not yet.
So even if I find the time to watch some of today’s playoff action, it could mean straining to hear the play-by-play announcers over, “do we hafta watch this? Can I put on ‘Ice Age?’ C’mon, Dad, this is boring.”
None of this is meant to portray my wife as someone unwilling to give me time when needed. We’ve worked out a great, unofficial system in our marriage. I’m always telling her to hit the town with her girlfriends, and she’s often suggesting I should do the same with my mates.
It’s just that sitting down, by myself, to watch a game, any game, will incur waves of guilt I won’t be able to ignore. First, I’ll start thinking about what I could be doing with the time spent watching Peyton Manning burnish his legacy. Then, I’ll hear my wife scolding our children upstairs, knowing I should be by her side, ready to help or offer a glance that says, “hey, you’re doing the best you can.”
That means I’ll have to whip out my fatherhood playbook to make today’s game happen. I’ll spend half time cooking, cleaning or otherwise being a good husband. I’ll do my darndest to sell the X’s and O’s of the sport to my sons.
And, if all else fails, I’ll connect my wife with a genuine football widow and hope she sees me in a more charitable light.