Football addiction: a family's hidden secret

I'm pretty sure my long-suffering husband, Bruce, will be glad when football season is over. And it's all my fault: He's begun to complain about being a "football widower."

Now, lots of men would probably find having a wife who's really into NCAA football a glorious thing. I'm pretty sure Bruce doesn't. He indulges my obsessive desire for the South Carolina Gamecocks to assume their rightful place in the pantheon of great teams, but he doesn't share my passion for college ball (unless he has money on the game).

I think it's because he graduated from the University of Texas. Really, I do. He's so used to his alma mater being a contender, he doesn't fully appreciate it when the Longhorns win. I, on the other hand, savor Gamecock victories like some people savor fine wine. To me -- and to thousands of other USC faithful -- a win is a gift wrapped up and tied with a fancy bow.

My friend and fellow Gamecock Roland DuBay recently mused about what it would be like to support a team whose victories are as easy to come by as Starbucks coffee.

"Ahhh, to sit back sipping Mint Juleps and chatting about nonsensical things while our favorite team soundly trounces the opposing forces. No stress. No worries. I wonder if Florida fans feel that way," Roland pondered.

Well, Roland, I'm pretty sure those Florida folks are drinking keg beer like the rest of us -- but I can tell you for a fact that their stress level is pretty low. I know this because the walls in my office are thin, and the guy on the other side of my divider is a Florida graduate. For weeks now, I've been hearing him talk about how great his team is, how fantastic Tim Tebow is, how they're going all the way again. When I mentioned that I attended USC and was hoping for a great season, I saw a combination of smug superiority and pity in his eyes.

Anyway, back to Bruce. We attended a concert in Atlanta this weekend and the opening act was mid-way through its set when we arrived. Why? Because I was dithering in our hotel room, glued to the LSU-Georgia game. And then, at the concert, I obsessively checked my iPhone for the latest Carolina-South Carolina State score. When the main act took the stage, Bruce turned to me and asked if I was ready to put the iPhone away and pay attention to the band. I just looked at him.

"I guess that's a 'no,' " he said.

He was right. I checked the score every few minutes until the game was over, even though it seemed that a win was a done deal in the third quarter (we Gamecocks regularly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, so we can never let our guard down).

The truth is, marriage is about compromise. I've made plenty for Bruce. I endure his passion for cable-television political programming, his affection for Bob Dylan and the way he hogs the car stereo.

He puts up with my Internet addiction, the fact that I'm late for everything and, yes, even my love for college football (in part because -- as he says -- my USC sleep shirt is kind of hot).

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