I met the woman who is now my wife when I was a freshman at The GLORIOUS Ohio State University. No it wasn't love at first sight (we didn't start dating until our sophomore year and didn't get engaged until we were about to graduate) but humble beginnings, right? I love my wife for all of the same reasons that every other man loves his wife, I assume. But there is one thing about my wife that really gets me going. Something that really presses my buttons, if you catch my drift. Something that most sorry schmucks out there can't even fathom. I'm not even sure it's legal in all 50 states!
My wife is a Buckeye Football Fanatic. Cue my Happy Dance...
It's true! Fanatic is the only word to describe her. And she's not just putting it on, either. You know what I mean - you've all met that woman that shows up with her husband to a tailgate. There is still a tag on her jersey. She tries to have conversations about the game but can't identify a single player. She giggles when someone says "tight end". She messes up the OH-IO chant. She "hopes that we score a bunch of homeruns! Woo-hoo!!!" This is not my wife.
I don't know very many men that can honestly say that their wives are their favorite people to watch football with. Common football-watching atmospheres involve a bar with a bunch of bros or the man cave while the little lady tends to the children upstairs. Not at my house folks. My wife is right beside me, jersey on, buckeyes around her neck, screaming at the television in angst and joy. She's the real deal.
I can't say that watching football with my wife is the equivalent of watching it with, say, my old high school football buddies. But it's not far off. As a fellow alumni, she knows the thrill of Ohio Stadium and the all the traditions that come with it. She prepares for each season by asking me to quiz her on the roster and the coaches and the positions. For the first time this past offseason she actually paid attention to recruiting. And what she lacks in knowledge of the game she makes up with genuine, unadulterated love for the Buckeyes. Her emotional ties to this team and university are as authentic as the Beanie Wells autograph in my basement. She boos and swears at the other team when we are fortunate enough to make it to a game. She gets nervous and looks away from the TV when the games are too close for comfort.
She hates M!ch*g@n.
A few months before I "popped the question" I went with her to her Uncle's house in Bexley to watch a TTUN game with some of her family. Now her uncle was a fan, but a casual fan at best. He was the kind of guy that was OK with flipping stations during commercials to see what LSU and USC were doing. This infuriated me. I had BEGGED my wife to let me stay behind. The Game was too important to chance it to the likes of low definition televisions and channel-flipping-uncles. She assured me that everything would be fine. I noticed a look in her eye every time her uncle picked up the remote or stood in front of the TV to smear some garden vegetable cream cheese on his flatbread cracker. She was fixin' to snap. It wasn't long before she went off - ON HER OWN UNCLE - and let him know that if he "picked that remote up one more time, he'd be wearing it for a permanent hat." True story.
I know this may sound crazy, but it was at that moment that I knew that I was going to propose to this girl. We had a very good relationship without any major quarrels up to that point... so I was sure something was bound to implode before too long. But right then and there, I realized that there wasn't going to be some massive argument or fall-out. Here was a woman that was more invested into being a Buckeye than I ever could have imagined. And it just so happened that being a Buckeye was one of the most important things to me in the world - as crazy as that may seem.
My wife and I just celebrated our third anniversary in August. This past March she got her first tattoo. Her right foot now reads "How Firm Thy Friendship". Almost every Saturday from late August to early January, we put on our jerseys together and watch our Buckeyes take the field. We cheer and boo and she even wishes injuries on the other team occasionally. (I'm telling you, she's cutthroat!) People at work don't believe me when I tell them about her. I've been asked to meet at bars to watch the game with coworkers or friends and I always decline. I want to watch Buckeye football with someone that cares about it as much as I do. That someone is my wife.
I can't say that I know the secrets to a happy marriage. But I can say that, from the explosion at her Uncle's house in Bexley through every autumn Saturday since, I've learned that there is one line not to cross when it comes to my wife.
Do NOT mess with her Buckeye Football.