Whew, that’s a relief.
With the NFL lockouts over and football now a sure thing, Lee and I won’t have to find something new to fight about to keep the spark in our relationship.
Like many, I never really doubted that there would be a football season. Maybe I couldn’t wrap my head around the owners and the players actually being willing to give up that much revenue. Or perhaps I was just in denial. I mean, without football consuming so much of my time and brain cells in the fall, I might actually have no excuses for not meeting my self-imposed weekly word counts. I’d definitely have nowhere else to lay the blame for the equally self-imposed hangovers and sore throats that are just around the bend.
Yes, I’m one of those. A screaming-herself-hoarse football fanatic. A Steelers football fanatic, to be exact. A Steelers football fanatic who lives in Baltimore and is in a relationship with a guy who is, if possible, even more insane when it comes to the game than I am. A guy who unlike me, cheers for the hometeam.
This basically means that from late August through the end of the season, we are arch-rivals who happen to be in love. A Ravens fan and a Steelers fan holding each other’s hearts and sharing a home. If you don’t care about football, you’re probably like “so what?” If you know the game, though, you realize what insanity that entails.
I can’t really think of an analogy that compares to help those who don’t do the football rivalry thing to understand. Cats and dogs doesn’t really cut it. I once had a cat that used my dog for a pillow. I’m thinking it makes us more of a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. They’re both awesome alone, but put them together and the tastes are bound to clash.
One of the first things he told me about himself when we met was that he was a “die-hard Ravens fan.” I warned him that I was a Steelers girl all the way. That warning was only fair, since in Baltimore it is an unexpected trait. We starting dating early in the summer, so we had a few months of relative peace before we embarked on our first football season together. And oh, what a ride it was …
By October he admitted that he’d underestimated my fandom and hadn’t really known what he was getting into. He was used to being with women who either liked football in passing or who avoided it like the plague. So when I said “I’m a Steelers fan,” he didn’t think that meant “I’m as loud and stupid and crazy and into the game and my team as you are.” He was thinking more along the lines of “She wants hair care tips from Troy Polamalu, or thinks Hines Ward has a cute smile.”
It only took a game or two to teach him otherwise.
Several years later – including two trips to the Superbowl and one Superbowl win for the Steelers – we’re still going strong. And so are our teams.
And now, a little stroll down memory lane …
That’s us in 2008, getting ready to watch a Ravens/Steelers game. I went to a Steelers bar with my mom and some fellow Steelers fan friends. He watched the game at my family pub, which is a Ravens Haven. Yeah, it gets so bad sometimes that we don’t watch our rivalry games together.
And, since turnabout is fair play, this is us on Halloween of 2009. I was Troy Polamalu. Hey, with a little work, I almost have the hair. He was the fictional “Steeler Peeler,” a psychotic Baltimore Ravens fan who went around looking for Steelers to slash up.
We went to the family pub. He went first, and kept his face in the mask. Everyone loved the costume, but no one was sure who he was. I came in a little later. He paused in drinking his beer and fixed me with an evil look through the mask. He then raised the cardboard scythe and slowly and deliberately approached me. Everyone knew I was me – I don’t look THAT much like Troy, after all.
They were all torn. The “stranger” had an awesome costume in the eyes of these die-hard Baltimore fans. I was someone they knew and loved, but also a serious dumbass for being so Steelerish. Should they let him mess with me, or not?
As you can see, no one in the background is overly concerned with me being mauled by the Steeler Peeler. OK, that’s a staged pic. They wouldn’t have let “the stranger” kill me – just rough me up a little.
That was a great night.
Lastly, here we are in 2010:
This last one is just a picture we snapped while we were outside checking out the Christmas lights we’d put up earlier in the day. But even on such a tame and homey night, our rivalry is obvious.
I have to admit it. The NFL has been one of the defining things in our relationship. Some couples fight about money or the way the guy checks out other girl’s butts or who didn’t do the dishes. We fight about football. Well, ok, dishes too now and then – but not much .
Oh sure, we have a hell of a lot of fun with it. It is a gold mine for Halloween costumes and weekend entertainment. And for the most part, we’re never truly harsh with each other. Although that gets harder for him when my Steelers keep going to the Superbowl.
Football is our healthy outlet. Every couple needs something to keep that feisty spark alive. Without it, Lee and I usually get along like peas in a pod. Every duo needs a chance to be more like a pickle-and-peanut-butter sandwich to keep the fires burning, right?
So yes, I’m glad the lockout is over. Glad because I can’t imagine fall without the game. Glad because I wait all spring and summer for another season of smashmouth Steelers football.
And glad because without it, we’d have to find something else to bicker about, and I can’t imagine that squabbling over who forgot to pay the electric bill or who mismatched all the socks is anywhere near as entertaining.
Just to make this year even more of a blast, the opening game of the regular season is a Ravens/Steelers matchup.
I’ve been whining about the heat a lot lately, but its about to get hotter here in Baltimore.