Why My Husband Scares the Crap Out of Our Kids: Football

"I have been rather naughty"

My husband Tom is a pretty mellow fellow. Nothing fazes him much. He has the kind of job where everyone calls him when something goes wrong and he’s the guy who has to find the right person to fix it. If that right person flakes out (which happens often) Tom is the murdered messenger. Yet he still rarely loses his cool.

Tom didn’t get mad at me when I broke a hole in the bathroom sink, or yell at Jake when he drew all over our coffee table in Sharpie, or chew out Mary when she cut her own hair, or lose his patience when Emily comes up with yet another ridiculous teen angst comment. But there’s one thing that really gets his blood boiling enough to scream bloody murder:


Tom spent all day yesterday watching football. Apparently there were two playoff games – the Ravens vs. the Patriots and the Giants vs. the 49ers. As a sports novice, I imagine that it would be a no-brainer. With everyone abuzz about the Republican primaries, Patriots would certainly squash any bird (definitely Ravens, but probably not Bald Eagles) and I picture someone akin to Jack in the Beanstalk’s 100 foot Giant stomping out a bunch of old men with bad backs panning for gold.

Tom was rooting for the Ravens, and although he usually goes for the Niners (apparently this is the lingo for Forty-niners), he likes the coach for the Giants. (If you’re reading this blog, Tom… see? I do listen to you sometimes. Or did I get it backwards?).

He has been warning the family for weeks that during the playoffs we’d better stay out of the living room and not bother him. This was going to be his day to park himself in front of the tv and enjoy the games.

I need a new definition of the word “enjoy.”

Throughout the afternoon, Tom was screaming. “Go! Go! Go, dammit!” He was also dropping the F-Bomb a lot. Correction. Not dropping the F-Bomb. He was literally hurling it through the air like a cannonball exploding from Big Bertha. Not just once. Several times throughout the day. This from a guy who seldom curses.

When we were first dating, the girls and I were invited to a Superbowl party at his house. Emily was 8 and Mary was 4 and they didn’t know Tom well yet. He had offered to help Emily with a class project during halftime.

Everyone in her 3rd grade class had to build a musical instrument and Emily decided on a harp. God help me. I didn’t know the first thing about how to construct a harp. Tom was handy with tools and had his own power saw. He told us what kind of wood and screws to purchase at Home Depot, so while other guests walked in with chips and seven layer dips, we entered with extra long 2x4s and a baggie filled with bolts.

Superbowl began, and I immediately realized that the sweet man I had been dating was magically transformed into a madman just by adding football to the mix. Tom spent the game pacing and squirming uncontrollably like a dog about to give birth to a boatload of puppies. Then with no warning whatsoever, he jumped up screaming and cursing at the television set.

“Go! Go! Go, dammit! Move, you f@%$ing tool!”

I had heard about such men, but I’d never seen one in action.

My girls were terrified, and frankly so was I. How could a bunch of steroid-laden goons in helmets and padding bumping into each other at great speeds have such an effect on my beau? Would his maniacal anger continue through halftime? Could I trust him in the garage with power tools and my little angel when he was threatening to murder an entire team?

I shouldn’t have been concerned. As soon as the whistle blew for halftime, Tom was back to his normal sweet, mild-mannered self. Which was comforting because Emily and I were literally shaking in our boots.

Flash forward to 7 years later. We’ve been married for 6 years and have added our 5-year old son Jake into the family. Tom still shrieks at those football players for not doing what they’re told – as if he has a direct line from our little house in LA straight to a megaphone on the San Francisco football field.

The kids are used to the screaming by now, and know that it only happens on Sunday afternoons (and Monday nights, and occasionally Thursday nights. Apparently football is on way more often than I would like). The decibel level of Tom’s caterwaul seems to be directly proportional to the number of athletes on the field who are on his fantasy football team. If the kids’ friends come over, we have to warn them in advance that Tom will not be killing anyone, and he’s probably not yelling at them. That is, unless they wander in front of the tv set.

I know there are other men and women out there who spend Sundays screaming at their big screens, just as there are non-sports-loving spouses and partners who invest in either earplugs or an afternoon excursion far, far away from the game. For us, what is our football equivalent?

I am the dialogue editor for the television show Once Upon a Time on ABC, Sunday nights at 8:00. I’m also a big fan. What would be the reaction of our sports-obsessed mates if we all started screaming, “Just kiss her, David! Mary Margaret is your true love!” or “Don’t make that deal with Rumplestiltskin, Emma! The price is too steep!” or “C’mon, Storybrooke! Can’t you all see that the mayor is really the Evil Queen?”

From my experience, the spouses won’t have any reaction. They’ll be too busy screaming at the game that just went into overtime.


Filed under Anxiety, Humor, Husband, Parenting, Public Schools, Teenagers

13 responses to “Why My Husband Scares the Crap Out of Our Kids: Football

  1. Very very very busy husband

    You kind of got the games and my allegiance confused. I was rooting for the Baltimore Ravens over the New England Patriots. I am not a fan of the San Francisco 49ers. I do like their coach, Jim Harbaugh. He was good player and seems to be a great coach. I like the NY Giants and would normally root for them. I actually never yelled in this game because I would have been happy with whoever won. The Super bowl is a rare occurrence in player’s careers and I like seeing good players win a Super Bowl. Ravens have a few players near the end of their career and I would like to see them have that experience. It was a shame to see their dreams slip away in the last seconds. I hope Harbaugh’s coaching career does not go like Dan Marino’s career, be a great, but never win a Super Bowl.

  2. I now view my son in law in a different light. Another entertaining blog, Cathy. You continue to outdo yourself! i wonder what the next step up from perfect is.

  3. Very very very busy husband

    There are a comple points left of the article. One, I never hang on to the resenment of defeat. Dispite what happend during the game, when it is over, it is over. Dispite me living up to the true meaning of fanatic, I did during the halftime of a Super Bowl make a harp for a 9-year old girl. Thank goodness Super Bowl half shows are longer than normal games. I might not have had enough time to put on the strings.

  4. Very, very, very busy husband seems very calm in his comments. I laughed out loud when he reminded us about the harp.

    I only started watching football when my daughter joined her university band (the single best parenting tip I have – never let your kids drop band), and I have donned a rain poncho more times than I care to admit.
    Initially, I was only hooked on college football, but then you have to follow the players as they move into the big time.

    I shocked myself by screaming “S**t” twice on Sunday. I’m a 49er fan – VVVHusband will know what I’m talking about.

    • Very very very busy husband

      I feel bad for that kick returner. I may get animated during a game, but when it is over, I carry the frustration afterwards. That poor 49er play has been receiving death threats to himself and family. I remember a Packer’s running back fumbled in a playoff game. The fans killed his dog. Some people take sports way to serious.

      • Joanne Taylot

        My husband is BIG Dallas Cowboy fan he usually watches the game alone.But you would think there’s 20/other guys watching the game with him,I mean the noise,clapping,yelling I mean he’s completely out of bteath.He gets out of control when Dallas play.Lord help me Joanne Taylor

  5. I love reading this blog. LOL.

  6. Funny post. The thing is, while I put much less energy into it than your average sports fan, I do talk to the characters on my favorite shows (that includes Once Upon a Time, which I still love). It’s not unusual to hear me say”Oh come on.” Or “Jackass!” Or the pathetic: “No, no, no… don’t you dare.” But they never listen. They never listen.

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  9. Abc123

    Thank you for the commiseration. I thought I was the only person out there whose partner turns to Mr. Hyde when a game is on. It feels nice to laugh about it because it’s so intense sometimes!!!

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