Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why You Should Let Her Into Your Fantasy League

"Touché, FVG. Touché."
For me, the most incredible story of this year’s NCAA tournament isn’t VCU, nor their Cinderella dance partner Butler. It isn’t even my UConn Huskies, who somehow made the Final Four in a year I thought they’d finish under .500. For me, the most unbelievable part of all this Madness has been just how much of it I’ve been able to watch. It’s absurd. I’m right up there with Digger Phelps.

For this, Lindsey certainly deserves credit: I’ve made it clear this is my favorite sporting event, and she’s been totally understanding. But this “event” isn’t just one game. It’s sixty-three.

Understanding only gets you so far.

No, the real reason why I’ve watched more of the tournament than most boyfriends could dream of is this year is because Lindsey was invested: She (and two of her best friends) played in my annual NCAA basketball pool. And from there, we never looked back.

You should’ve seen 'em: Watching, cheering, checking standings, texting, tweeting, commenting, mobile uploading, and everything else one could possibly do during a game. Real Housewives and Millionaire Matchmakers everywhere had their hands on their hips in shock. Women may never love sports the way men do, but they do love playing games, competing, and winning. And let’s be honest, everyone loves a little gambling.

Come fantasy football season, these are things worth remembering.

Now, to be clear, Lindsey would never WANT to be in my fantasy league. She’d rather have Marc Jacobs, DSW, and Target blow up at the same time. But if your wife or girlfriend does show interest (and many do), don't be an idiot. Let her in.

This isn't about gender equality, it’s about smart boyfriending. Lindsey and her friends' participation transformed my March Madness experience entirely. I watched more. We watched more together. She even watched without me. That kinda stuff just doesn't happen.

So if you’re in a pinch and need a 10th or 12th player (we've all been there), and can get your league-mates to ease up on the vulgarity (ummm…), and she really, really wants to play, the potential benefit to you is off the charts. You’re foolish not to consider it.

If she commits to playing, she will get into it, she will work at it, and she will want to watch on Sundays, whether you're there or not. She has to. She can’t win if she doesn't.

You just better hope she doesn’t beat you.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flowers. Duh.

We were in Costa Rica for Lindsey’s birthday this year, and that morning I surprised her with breakfast in bed...and flowers. She loved the french toast, of course. She always does. But she couldn’t take her eyes off the flowers. She mentioned them upwards of ten times that day, and lamented that she couldn’t take them back to New York with her. It was Kirk Gibson pinch-hitting in the 9th against Oakland.

It was a home run.

I’m almost embarrassed it’s taken me so long to truly understand the usefulness of flowers. Men love football, eating, and spilling on themselves. Women love flowers. Women always love flowers. They’d be fine getting them every day. Yes, women like surprises, but flowers supersede surprises. If it’s Valentine’s Day, she KNOWS she’s supposed to get flowers. Doesn’t mean you should surprise her and get her a desk lamp. 

I think the problem is that women are typically so difficult to understand, it’s hard for men to trust how idiot-simple this is. Or maybe it’s that men just don’t have the same kinship with flowers. I know I don’t. Sure they’re nice, and even beautiful sometimes. But you can’t do anything with them. And then a few days later they die. You get more mileage out of a goldfish.

If you want to see more of Brandon Flowers, get Daisies.
I’ve also found there’s levels to getting flowers. If it’s for no reason other than to tell her you love her (which you absolutely SHOULD DO), something simple from the corner store will do. But if it’s a special occasion (Valentine’s Day, Birthday, etc.), call up a florist (I find the less arranging I do myself, the more Lindsey likes it). And don’t get cute: Send ‘em to work. She doesn’t care if you’re there when she gets them: All she wants to do is show them off to Jen and Amelia when they come by for 1:30 status.

Got a game you need to watch, for reasons you know you won't be able to explain? Don’t bother trying. Just pick up a bouquet on the way home. And if you really want to knock it out of the park, think ahead, hire a pro, and get her something you know she won’t stop talking about.

Sometimes, it really is that simple.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"I Don't Envy the Committee"

"It's not easy watching sports all day, Dan. Let me tell ya."
Has Notre Dame's late-season surge earned them a 1-seed?
Has Colorado played themselves off the bubble?
Does Lindsey truly know how much basketball I'll be watching next Thursday-Sunday?
Do employers really think we're sick/have family engagements when we don't show up next Thursday or Friday or both?

With March Madness finally upon us, there's lots of questions to be answered. But one thing's for certain: At some point, when discussing which teams the Tournament Selection Committee should or shouldn't put in the tournament, a college basketball analyst will look into our eyes and say:

"First of all, let me tell ya: I don't envy the committee and the job they have to do!"


The committee's "job" is to watch as much college basketball as possible, perhaps take a few notes, and then meet with their fellow committee members to collectively make basketball decisions the rest of us eagerly salivate over. If at any point their girlfriend were to walk into their "office" and say, "Are you really just gonna sit here and watch basketball all day?", they could respond, "Sorry, honey, now isn't a good time. I'm working."

Stop me when I get to the part that isn't awesome.

Now, I have no idea who these mysterious committee members actually are. Maybe they have another job on top of this one. Fine. But I'm guessing that one ain't too bad either. You don't qualify to be on the Selection Committee because you did a really good job roller-skating to people's windows at Sonic. Any way you slice it, these are people who spend their lives designer-suit-deep in college basketball, and get paid handsomely for it. Which brings me to my next point.

Look at the people saying they don't envy the committee. What do they have in common? That's right -- their jobs are awesome too! Dick Vitale presumably spends his days watching basketball, ordering room service, talking about basketball, and waxing his head. It's hard to imagine him envying anybody. This is like one Senator saying they "don't envy" the job of another. Guess what -- you both got it pretty good.

All I'm saying is this: No matter what Dickie V or any other talking head says in the coming days, I do envy the committee.

And I'm guessing I'm not alone.