Tournament time creates a new March Madness at home

March 23, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

I've come to realize that I am in a mixed marriage.

Easy now, this isn't a statement of social implications. It's more of one of wedded reality.

I think this is the time of year that most guys realize there is an imbalance in their relationships. It's the NCAA Tournament ... and if you are married, sometimes it gives a different meaning to the term March Madness.

I live in one of probably many households where total happiness and harmony are considered "remote" possibilities.

Now, I love my wife JoAnn dearly. I can say the same for my stepdaughter, Brianna. But this is the time of year when it becomes evident that we don't drink from the same cooler of Gatorade when it comes to our mutual likes and dislikes.

I have to face it. I married into a house where two out of every three people don't care for sports. And if you are counting, I'm the third guy.


I'm not as rabid as I used to be when it comes to watching televised sports, but I like to stay up on what is going on. I could be considered one of those "men" women hate - I flip from sporting event to sporting event, just to see a score or catch a highlight.

I like to think of myself as a modern man, though - at least when it comes to TV viewing. If I'm in the room with JoAnn and Brianna, I let them have the remote to control what we watch.

I sacrifice the drama of a good ACC game to watch the latest Lifetime someone's lost, sick or cheating movie of the week.

While some guys are watching their favorite teams building leads, I relax with a hard-hitting episode of strangers going into people's houses and remodeling rooms while they are gone.

And as for getting down to the reality of watching sporting idols surviving a grueling basketball test, it's a dose of reality TV's American Idol or Survivor.

I'm not bitter. I just know my place.

All the world is buzzing right now with this little NCAA basketball tournament. I go to work or meet someone on the street and they are talking about brackets, seeds and strategy.

I go home and the same terms mean replacement windows, gardening and planning dinner.

JoAnn isn't unreasonable when it comes to sports. I know watching games for her is about the same as cleaning the bathroom for me. In both cases, we call it a victory when the other complies just a little.

For me, I love commercials, but they are pressure-packed.

The family will be watching a universally accepted show until the latest Geico ad comes on. In 90 seconds, I must get the remote from JoAnn or Brianna, ask nicely to switch to a game to see a score and try to figure out what is going on as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, JoAnn and Brianna might as well be donning referee shirts. They sit there with their arms crossed, like refs do during basketball timeouts, and let me have a first warning when it's close to the end of a commercial. That's my one-minute warning.

Our buzzer is, "Hey, the movie is back on," - which means, "Give me the remote back or I'm going to hurt you."

I try to get some "added seconds" coupons wherever I can. That's simply the nice guy I am ... I just hope JoAnn and Brianna don't see through it.

I reminded Jo that the lineup of CBS soaps she tapes every day were pre-empted this past Thursday and Friday because of the tournament. I tried to convince her it would allow her to sleep 15 extra minutes in the morning instead of racing through hours of tape to see what's happening on the Young and Beautiful Turning Worlds with Guiding Lights.

She didn't buy it and couldn't understand why basketball was more important than Victor's eighth marriage to a rich alien who is carrying Jack's love child.

I told her Survivor was on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I thought I was being nice so she wouldn't miss the episode. Basketball almost got me voted off our island.

Note to JoAnn and Brianna - the soaps are back on this week, but Survivor is still on Wednesday. This will all be over in the next two weeks.

I'm not complaining. It really isn't all that bad. I like trying to make what little time I have with my girls enjoyable for all.

I think I have Jo convinced being a sports fan is like having flat feet or being nearsighted. It's an affliction that some of us have and everyone tries to cope with. She realizes there is no cure for my "disease" because sports is the reason I get a paycheck.

Somehow, that makes it all slightly more acceptable.

I still have my work cut out for me. Things might be better if I could get the girls interested in one facet of the tournament - like the cheerleaders, the mascots or the fashion statements of uniforms.

That's not working. Hmmm. I got it.

"Honey. Did you know all the baskets at these games are sponsored by Longaberger?"

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at

The Herald-Mail Articles