By Nancy Gabriel
Peace In The Dawg Pound
I remember a time when I looked forward to Sundays -- an entire day of opportunity, of choices, of pajamas. Those were the good old days.
Then I fell in love with a football fan, and not just any football fan. A Cleveland Browns fan which I’ve come to understand means a Sunday filled with disappointment, discouragement, and a whole lot of beer. Those Sundays held zero appeal to me, so I made plans with my girlfriends or my mom, and generally escaped for many hours.
Sundays were fairly uneventful until the Great Man Cave Debate of 2012. In case you were living on another planet and therefore unaware (although I cannot fathom how you could have missed the mayhem), I’ll briefly describe an attempt by my husband to turn our guest room into his Man Cave. Since that guest room was mainly used by my elderly mother, a woman who lives for “Little House on the Prairie” reruns and anything on the Hallmark Channel, I was not on board to paint the walls orange, nor okay with adorning the bed, nightstand, and dresser with all things Cleveland Browns. There were a few shouting matches followed by a few days of the silent treatment, before he gave up.
I may have won the battle, but I don’t really think I won the war.
After that ugliness, we entered into an era of peaceful coexistence for the next five years. My “Dawg Pound” husband was happy (more or less), and I found creative ways to be less and less resentful about Sundays from August through early February.
But then, our daughter started sitting next to her daddy on the couch. My one ally! I felt betrayed, and worse, I felt jealous of a little girl. My eight-year-old daughter! All my fantasies about future Sundays going out to lunch with my daughter as she grew into a young lady, taking her shopping for a prom dress, and having her confide in me about everything and anything were going in the same direction as pretty much every fourth quarter of a Browns game.
One day not too long ago, I confided in a new neighbor about this situation. I was pretty honest with her – told her that I was legitimately jealous of my young daughter because she’s becoming a sports fan – and instead of sympathy, I got a lecture. At first, I could barely listen because I was busy thinking of how I could convince her that I was right and she was wrong. But then, some wise words began to sink in.
She told me that she, herself, was once that eight year old girl who planted her butt next to her father on the couch every Sunday. At the time, she just thought of it as an opportunity to have her daddy all to herself for a few hours. And then she explained that it turned into way more – a lifelong passion for the NFL, the ability to use her sports knowledge as an icebreaker with colleagues in the business world, and a joyful way to spend Thursday nights, Sundays, and Monday nights in NFL heaven.
And then she confessed that she wasn’t a Browns fan. Her heart belonged to Green Bay.
Makes sense now.