(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
Tomorrow is a very special day. It’s the best day of the entire year, so I’m going to deviate from my normal column and spend a few hundred words breaking it down for you, my fearful readers.
It’s not special because it’s the anniversary of ex-Razorback Alvin Robertson registering the NBA’s second quadruple-double for San Antonio in 1986, or because it’s the same day that Boston traded Cy Young back in 1909.
And although softball pitcher Eddie Feigner’s striking out six major leaguers in 1969 was pretty impressive, that’s not why we’re here either.
We’re here (or more succinctly, I’m here typing) because February 18, 1979 is the day the world changed forever. And it has nothing to do with sports.
In the words of the Shirelles, “This is dedicated to the one I love”.
You see, tomorrow is the day my extremely gorgeous wife Maggie was born.
Before I met her, I was certain that the woman I settled down with would have to be into sports. Because then and now, the sporting world dominates my life.
I’m always watching or going, and ESPN is always on. SportsCenter is on when I’m getting ready for work in the mornings, Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption air when I get off work and there’s usually a game on in primetime.
Not to mention the nights I’m attending games because of work, and the weekends when I get to veg out on the couch and watch the Tigers are whatever other ‘important’ game is on.
But when I met Maggie, none of that stuff mattered anymore. For a while I lost touch with salary caps, trades, rankings and who won or lost on any given night. Commuting back and forth from Memphis to Heber was sport enough for me and getting to see her and my future stepson Isaiah was like sitting in the winner’s circle or going to Disneyland after winning the Super Bowl.
(I remember the first time she called me in Memphis. Afterwards, my friends were slapping me on the back and high fiving me. I felt like Lou Gehrig when he said, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”)
So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that she didn’t mind if I watched sports. I was mildly shocked because a lot of the girls I had been involved with tried to change me. Not Maggie. She was attracted to who I was, not who she wanted me to be.
So, I slowly reinundated myself to sports. And to this day she has never complained.
In fact, she has helped ease the losses that I used to take so hard. Once upon a time, if the Tigers lost, my whole day and part of the next would be ruined.
Now if one of my teams suffers a loss, I don’t have to get upset. I just turn around and see her beautiful face and realize there’s always another game. The only exception to this is when Tampa Bay thumped Oakland in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. But instead of destroying the house, which would have been my recourse before, I just went outside and committed assault and battery on one of our trees.
She even feigns interest in this here column, which would be like me pretending to be interested in the monthly nursing newsletter she gets.
Sports have often been referred to as the ‘other woman’. For some relationships that’s probably an accurate metaphor. But for mine, nothing could be farther from the truth.
There is not, and never will be, another woman that will hold a candle to Maggie in my eyes.
Basketball and football are sports I have a passion for, but it doesn’t come close to the desire I have for the most wonderful woman in the world to just smile at me.
Happy Birthday Maggie. I love you more than anything in the world.
Even more than the Tigers!