Saturday Reflection: Why We Don’t Have ESPN

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Every Saturday, I reflect on my own marriage. Some of the Saturday reflections may be serious. Others may bring a tear to your eye. Most of them will be silly. Silliness is an important ingredient to committed relationships.

Thursday evening’s foot-deep blizzard led to a Friday vacation. Okay, so I get most Fridays off, especially as I build up my caseload, but my wife joined me as her office was kind to close down because of the snows. We generally lounge around, read, and write on vacations (and Saturdays), although yesterday involved an hour of snow shoveling in single-digit degree weather. I lost her for an hour, an embarrassing feat considering the coziness of our apartment; she was organizing her desk in our guest room while I studied in the living room.

2014_College_Football__BCS_Championship_20131208182330_320_240Upon our reunion, she asked if I was watching any college bowl games. My dad and I spent many January 1s glued to the TV to watch the Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Sugar Bowl, but my New Years priorities have changed since getting married. “No,” I told her, “All the bowl games are on ESPN this year.”

There’s a reason that we don’t have cable.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to watch Sox and Bruins games on NESN, or follow the college football and basketball seasons on ESPN. For that matter, I’d love to watch out-of-network Rangers games on MLB Network or catch Tottenham Hotspur games on NBCSports Networks. I’d be an excellent sports blogger.

But I value my marriage more. It’s bad enough that I’m on this computer as much as I am, sitting on one love seat while my wife lounges in the other, individually reading blogs, New York Times, or ridiculous Facebook and Twitter posts for an hour at a time. My wife tolerates my sports passion; she’s gone to several games at Fenway with me, and we have a date at a Celtics game in a couple of weekends. Three hours a night of getting involved in the unpredictable drama of ESPN would be catastrophic to our marriage; even three or four nights a week might be crossing the line.

I have much to learn about committed relationships, but I’ve learned that commitment involves setting checks and balances on myself, especially my driven, hyper-focused parts. Sometimes that involves halting a promising career path. Other times, it asks me to find other ways to decompress, ways that involve presence with those I love.

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