A wife's guide to surviving playoff season

If you don't know how to handle your partner's obsession with sports, particularly during playoff season, this article offers two philosophies to help you keep your cool when sports rule.

A wife's guide to surviving playoff season

If you don't know how to handle your partner's obsession with sports, particularly during playoff season, this article offers two philosophies to help you keep your cool when sports rule.
  • Whether it’s March Madness, NBA playoffs, the World Series or BCS bowl time for college football, if your partner is a sportsaholic, there’s always a big game to watch. As I see it, there are two ways to deal with the latest playoff season. Choose which one is a winner for you and your relationship.

  • If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em

  • This is the approach I take most often. In high school I had lots of guy friends who played sports, talked sports and watched sports. I was more of a violin and ballet girl myself, but their ESPN education helped me when I met my husband. Now I’m almost as big a fan as he is. Here are the good things about this philosophy:

  • Enjoy the sports together

  • We love to watch our favorite teams, discuss strategy and add our own commentary to the game.

  • Share child supervision duties

  • He understands I’m interested too, so we pause the game to put kids to bed or get them snacks. I’m not the only one pulled away from the action.

  • Team camaraderie

  • Our family bonds together as we enjoy watching sports. We often watch with other families, particularly during playoff seasons or important games. Our littlest children enjoy cheering along, and the bigger kids get as excited as we do.

  • Become more active

  • When you’re interested in sports, you might end up wanting to play them as well. This is the case for my family. It’s fun to go outside during halftime and toss the football around, or take a bike ride after watching a game. We don’t just watch sports, we play them too.

  • You won’t get left behind

  • I am more likely to be invited to go to a sporting event since my husband knows I enjoy them. We took a trip to a basketball tournament and had a great time together cheering on our favorite team.

  • Learn something new

  • If you don’t know a lot about sports, your partner might enjoy teaching you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what’s happening or who’s playing well.

  • Grin and bear it

  • Sometimes I’m not interested in the sports my husband watches. Baseball is a little too slow for me, and recently he started watching darts, which is way off my radar. Since I understand playing and watching sports is his main hobby, I try to be supportive. Here are some strategies that have worked for me:

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  • Trade off

  • If he watches a big game and I supervise the kids, I expect some time off to do what I like. I try not to feel resentful, but respect that everyone needs down time and recreation.

  • Multitask

  • If you want to spend time with your partner, but aren’t interested in the sport, do a project while he watches. Sometimes I’ll read a book or make jewelry. It’s nice to be in the same room.

  • Concession stand

  • If you’re feeling really generous, make some special snacks and serve them to your husband and his friends while they watch. He’ll appreciate your enthusiasm and know you care.

  • Send him to the game

  • My husband’s been lucky to attend some great sporting events. I’m happy for him when he gets to go, and I try to make things as easy as possible when he returns.

  • Say, “see you later.”

  • Occasionally I’ll leave my husband home with the kids to watch a game while I go run errands or do something fun. I like the time alone, but I have low expectations for the house being clean when I return.

  • Set boundaries

  • Make sure your partner isn’t ignoring everyone and everything when he’s caught up in playoff season. Having a discussion before it starts will help both of you know what the other expects. I expect my husband to help with bedtime, be at the dinner table and attend important family events regardless of who’s playing. He uses the DVR or watches after the kids are in bed as needed.

  • Playoff season can be a win-win situation for both spouses. Get your game plan ready and enjoy the next big sporting event, whether right by your spouse or from the sidelines.

Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.

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