Behind Every Good Church Baller, There's A Good...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

On March 20th I wrote a post about church basketball and mentioned the fact that most men have a playing style that falls into one of eight categories (Uncle Rico, Oliver Granger, Break Glass In Case of Emergency, etc.) I remarked in passing that not only can the men be categorized, but so can the women who come to watch their husbands/boyfriends embarrass themselves on the hardwood. A few of you have commented that you would like to see the women’s categories, so I’ve come up with a few of them that I have seen over the years.

Please feel free to post comments as to which category your wife falls into (guys) or the one that best describes you (ladies). Please also feel free to comment with other categories that I may have missed. I have a feeling that the ladies will have some good insights since they see and hear all of the behind-the-scenes wife/girlfriend stuff that takes place during the game. We men are too focused on how bad the officiating is or sulking over the fact that our jumper isn't falling tonight.

-The Ankle Bracelet: When a convict is sentenced to home confinement or given some other sort of geographic restriction, many of them are forced to wear an ankle bracelet monitor that alerts their probation officer when they cross the restricted boundary. As discussed in my “Hoops Heaven” post, there are some men who on occasion lose their temper when playing church basketball. The Ankle Bracelet only comes to the games to watch her husband like a hawk in order to prevent him from throwing a punch and sullying the family’s good name. At the first sign of her husband expressing his frustration, the Ankle Bracelet makes eye contact with him and sends a perfectly clear non-verbal message to settle down or face the consequences.

-The View: This wife attends the game not to watch any of the action, but to huddle with five of her Relief Society confidants to talk, laugh, cry, give/receive advice, and schedule dates for swapping baby sitting. The group of women resemble the cast of The View more than a row of sports spectators (with the exception that the LDS mom cast is normally made up of more of the Elizabeth Hasselbeck types than Joy Behar). In fact, these women see very little of the game, if any at all. After the final buzzer their husbands will come back and excitedly inquire, “Did you see my reverse layup in the third quarter?” or, “Can you believe I hit five straight free throws to ice the game in the last two minutes?” The responses usually sound something like this, “Oh, I think I missed that, but did you know that Jessica and Max are expecting TWINS?! I am so excited for them! They have been waiting so long for this. She hasn’t even told her parents yet because she’s going to totally surprise them by…” Meanwhile, the husband is listening with one ear, nodding and saying, “uh-huh” and “really?” at the appropriate times, all while mentally re-living the sweet reverse layup.

-The Analyst: Is normally the daughter of a basketball coach, she played in high school, and knows the game well. She does not get distracted by The View, her unruly kids, or her Young Women’s lesson that she still hasn’t prepared. The Analyst is the wife who occasionally yells helpful tips like, “Fight over the pick!”, “Swing the ball”, and “Who’s on number 21? Man up! Man up!” She has been known to track down her husband at the drinking fountain at halftime and remind him to stop rushing his shot or that he could get a couple of cheap layups by cutting back door. (Side note: Why is it that church water fountains normally do one of two things - 1) Launch a huge arc of water that clears the back edge of the fountain and soaks the carpet, or, 2) Produce a tiny trickle of water that requires us to put our lips directly on the metal and suck the water out? Am I alone on this, or does this happen at other meeting houses? And do not get me started on how soaked you get when you are drinking from the huge arc of water when a Primary child suddenly starts drinking from the adjoining kid-sized fountain. The adult stream of water is reduced to a trickle, so you bend over and start drinking, only to have the Primary child stop drinking at the same moment. The result? Your tiny trickle of water resorts back to the huge arc of water that soaks your face and shirt. Has this ever happened to anybody else?)

-The Little Bo Peep: Bless her heart, she comes to every game with all five kids in tow. She does her best to watch her husband make a few buckets while holding the infant, keeping the toddler from running on the court, and resolving fights and distributing snacks between the other kids. You can tell who the husband of Bo Beep is because when he goes to shoot a free throw, he hears a chorus of “Let's go, daddy!” coming from the uncomfortable metal folding chairs on the sideline. (If he listens real close he can also hear, “Nu-uh! That’s my coloring book! Moooooom!”, “Mom, I don’t want a granola bar. I wanted Goldfish!”, and other priceless gems that Little Bo Peep gets subjected to for an hour while showing her support for her man.

-The Chameleon: Chameleon lizards have the ability to use their eyes completely independent of each other and rotate them 360 degrees. They can look to the right with one while simultaneously looking behind themselves with the other eye. Chameleon wives can keep one eye on the game and another eye on the kids while participating in The View conversation. At the end of the game she is happy that she got the kids out of the house, saw two of the four plays her husband told her about, and heard about Jessica and Max’s twins.

-The Wanderer: Comes to the game but has ulterior motives for doing so. She may watch the first two minutes of the game but then suddenly disappears from the cultural hall to do something calling-related, like decorating her Primary room, counting the number of table cloths missing from the Relief Society closet, or practicing the organ. After about forty five minutes of doing what she needed to get done, she heads to the parking lot and drives home thinking to herself, “Am I forgetting something? Nope, my purse is right here.” Unfortunately, the game is still in third quarter and she and her husband drove to the church in the same car.

-JUST ADDED: The I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That): When the opportunity arises to refer to a Meat Loaf power ballad, you've got to seize the moment. This new category is credited to a comment from "Acte Gratuit" for a segment of women that I originally overlooked - those who refuse to go to the games in the first place. Acte Gratuit pointed out a few good reasons for skipping the games, which were: "1) It's past the boys bedtime, and 2) I like to think of the men in the ward as the polite gentlemen who say hi to me in the hall at church. Not raving lunatics who develop anger issues and Touretts every Tuesday night, and 3) If someone yelled at my husband I'd be forced to egg his house later." (I did pick up on the irony that men were accused of having anger issues while it was a comment by a female that made a direct reference to pre-meditated house-eggings. And we are the raving lunatics?)

Regardless of which category the female spectators of church basketball fall into, your presence alone makes a huge difference to us. Regardless of how old or out of shape I, and probably most guys get, we know when our wife/girlfriend is watching us. We want to impress you and look as studly as we can for you on the rare occasions that we have to sweat and crash into other men. When we make good plays, many of us sneak a peek to the sidelines to see if you were watching. When you do see us make a good play and give us a thumbs-up from the sideline, it makes us feel proud. So thank you for noticing my third quarter reverse layup, now you can feel free to keep talking about Jessica and Max's twins.


(On occasion a comment gets posted that deserves to be highlighted or instigates a response from me. In order to help these side conversations not get buried in the usual comments section, I'm going to post about them here. We'll see how it goes.)

-Wendi and Tom - You asked, "Do you mind if I post an excerpt from one of your posts on my blog? Would you feel I'm violating copyright? I'd reference the excerpt." After heated debate among the 12-person NMH corporate legal team, we have decided that you may, in fact, post excerpts from this blog on your blog. Thank you for asking permission in the first place. If you are LDS you would make a great Ward Music Director due to your sensitivity to avoiding copyright infringement. Our Stake President, who is a wonderful man, is an attorney and repeatedly reminds the Bishoprics to never, ever, ever, ever allow copies to be made of copyrighted music. When a Ward Music Leader is released he or she can write in his or her journal, "I magnified my calling by providing uplifting music while protecting the church from being sued on the basis of copyright infringement."

-On a Personal Note - Two of my long-lost friends, Rebekah and Candice, got back in touch with me through their comments to this post. I've been happy about this all week. I have lost touch with almost all of my high school friends, most of whom have remained in Utah, or at least out west, and I've spent the last five years in North Carolina (which might as well be Venus when it comes to friends just dropping by to see you.) Rebekah's family provided me with some of the best memories of my teen-age years by giving Rebekah and me their two tickets to the Jazz-Lakers game each year. I have always been a HUGE Lakers fan and watching Magic, Kareem, Cooper, Rambis, Byron Scott, A.C. Green, etc. in person is one of my all-time favorite sports moments. I do not think I have ever sufficiently thanked the Homers for their generosity, so THANKS GUYS! (Not to push my luck or anything, but if you happen to have any Charlotte Hornets vs. Lakers tickets next year, I know a guy in NC that wouldn't mind going to the game...)

-Shelley - You mentioned that you are an absentee wife right due in part to the fact that the loud buzzer freaks out your daughter. Not only are church buzzers loud enough to puncture an ear drum, but the volunteers who operate the clock rarely know how to shut it off the first time it goes off. It's not rare to have the first quarter horn sound for thirty seconds before the poor person running the clock figures out how to shut it off. In the process of finding the button to reset the horn, they normally manage to somehow erase the score, which results in a five minute delay to get the time and score back up. I've seen this happen a hundred times.

-Earl & Vicki - In the example you gave of the wife saying, "That's the last time HE plays church ball!!!" after her husband got a technical, the case could be made that the wife actually WANTED him to get the tech. If she would have been more Ankle Bracelet and less of The View that evening, she would have seen the warning signs of his imminent outburst and she could have intervened. All it would have taken is one frigid, intimidating look and he would have simmered down. I think she actually wanted him to get the technical so that she didn't have to go to anymore of his games.

-A Good Husband - I'm glad I salvaged you as a reader since you are one of the few males who actually posts comments. I am saddened, however, that you have not gotten much out of this blog since you subscribed two weeks ago. Because customer satisfaction is our priority at NHM, we will refund the cost of your subscription back to you. You should receive an envelope full of air within the next 6-8 business days.


Carolyn said...

Looks like I'm Little Bo Peep.

9:48 AM
Earl & Vickie said...

LOL, I vividly remember, back in the days when I actually still PLAYED church ball, hearing one embarrassed wife say, right after her husband got a technical, "That's the last time HE plays church ball!!!"

9:49 AM
Sandy said...

I'd LIKE to be the chameleon, but am most definitely a Bo Peep at this stage of life!

10:41 AM
Megan said...

Somewhere between the Analyst and the Chameleon. Frankly church ball is so exciting that I'd rather not have my kids in tow... I definitely coach/referee from the sidelines.

12:26 PM
A Good Husband said...

You know, I subscribed to NMH because I was curious and I hadn't gotten a lot out of it the last two weeks - but this post was worth it. Consider me a convert! Absolutely hilarious. Thanks!

1:27 PM
Jon-Michael said...

My wife is the chameleon, with just a hint of The Wanderer in her (mainly when she is a Primary President). For someone who played basketball in High School, she rarely is calling strategy out at me like she's Pat Riley.

1:30 PM
Erika said...

Hahaha, I would probably belong to the VIEW. Although, I'd like to believe I am the chameleon. :)

5:25 PM
Amy said...

Ha, I think I would be the Chameleon, because if I don't keep one eye on my child disaster would happen. If not for him, I would be the View.
Also, I am totally with you on the whole water fountain discussion. Even worse is trying to hold a pre-schooler up to the shooting arc water fountain and getting water all down the front of him cause he hasn't mastered drinking from a fountain.

5:56 PM

I think the NMW is a chameleon, but it's hard to tell because I get so focused on the game. I normally see her sitting and laughing with a group of her friends, she sees 1-2 good plays of mine each game, and my kids have never run out on the floor moments before being stepped on by the FLWTH.


8:43 PM
Bartimaeus said...

Do you have a category for absent wives?

I'd be lucky if my wife even knew where to find the church basketball game. Rarely has she watched one of my basketball games. If she comes her category would have to include disgust at the many sweaty "men" as well as wondering why she is there instead of watching Law and Order:CI.

LOVE does not = attendance

5:31 AM
acte gratuit said...

That is so unfair! I do not skip Church Ball to watch Law and Order. I have it Ti-voed so I can watch it any time.

I don't go because
A) It's past the boys bedtime, and B) I like to think of the men in the ward as the polite gentlemen who say hi to me in the hall at church. Not raving lunatics who develop anger issues and Touretts every Tuesday night. AND
C) If someone yelled at my husband I'd be forced to egg his house later.

6:10 AM
normal mormon wife said...

I might be too kind to myself, but I think I'm a chameleon, too. I get some great socializing time in, catch a couple of great plays, and keep the kids in control...most of the time. I might convert to Little Bo Peep next season when baby #3 is in the mix.

10:08 AM
Megan said...

I think I am a wanderer. Although, by the end of the season, I turned into The View.

10:53 AM
Shelley said...

I used to be the view, and now I am the absent wife. I will say it's very isolating to be the absent wife. I think last season I was the only one NOT at the games. Hopefully next season Shaelyn won't be scared of the buzzer (why does it have to be SOOOO LOUD in a not-full-size-court stake center?!?!) so I can join the view again.

7:58 PM

I am definetly the chameleon. I secretly love to go to the game, but would never let my husband know, he just thinks that I go to socialize. I think they are great entertainment, and it is fun to get in on the good gossip! Love your blog! I don't know if you remember me, but I am Demaree's sister. Small world!

9:01 PM
Wendi said...

I haven't seen a church ball game for years. My man is a soccer player, and stakes I've been in haven't taken us up on the idea of a soccer league... Thanks for checking out my blog (Barrels of Merrells). I'm not sure about 8 kids, though. Two is a handful. I'm planning on/hoping I can make it to 4. Thanks for the great reads!

9:21 PM
Natalie said...

I fall into "The View" category. Having a 'break the glass in case of emergency' husband my man never plays, and sometimes isn't even at the game. Many people come up to me and ask, 'Where's David?', 'Is he playing?'. My response it usually I don't know, no he isn't, I sure hope not, or he is still at work. I come to chat it up with the girls and guak at their cute kids since I don't have any. What can I say? I am a social butterfly!

7:35 AM
Jana said...

I guess I would fall into the "I would do anything for love (but I won't do that)" Category which I realize is a little sad because the question I ask my husband before the game is "who's wives are going to be there?". and if my cast of the view aren't there, there ain't no way I am sittin' through church B-ball. Maybe I will next time, now I feel a little bad.

P.S. I found your blog through the world famous Twilight post... Great stuff, I just couldn't stop reading!

10:14 AM
Jami said...

Ah now I fit a category! "The I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" That's me! 'Cause if I went I'd be Little Bo' Peep with her six darling sheep and it just ain't worth it!

Your blog is the only blog my husband has ever chuckled at. The BBall posts hit him where he lives. :)

4:05 PM
Wendi and Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author. 8:14 PM
A Good Husband said...

Okay, I'll be checking my email for that envelope - although I can't believe that it takes 6 - 8 weeks to deliver an envelope full of nothing. ;)

My wife freely admits to belonging to the new category, but she still hates meatloaf - especially the kind my mother makes.

8:55 PM
Michelle said...

I'm another "I would do anything for love (but I won't do that)" wife. Not only is it late and past my sons' bedtime, but I tend to get a little too...competitive. I'd rather the ward know me as sweet Sister Knight, not the raving lunatic shouting at the ref over a bad call.

6:23 AM

i love your sense of humor! i've realized i can only read your blog when my baby is playing otherwise i'll wake him up from my laughing.

thanks for making my hubby and i laugh... :)

11:19 AM
Tami said...

Let me be the first to admit to being an "Ankle Bracelet" wife. Sometimes it's for the best.

Thanks for you great blog!

12:45 PM
Rebekah said...


Rebekah (Homer) here. Mom came home from Monday Night Bowling the other night and said you had a blog that made Gary N. giggle, so I had to read. Great to hear you're doing so well. I thought of you when Matt & I were watching the Jazz lose to your Lakers a while back. Good times!

9:03 AM
Lindy Lou Norman said...

Andrew -
Add another "old" friend from home to your list of blog readers. Gary and I went out to dinner and a movie with Barbie & Dennis last night. Old friends are the best friends. You keep many of us Norman's chuckling. Congratulations on your upcoming third child.
P.S. I fit into several of your categories at various times of our basketball playing lives with Gary.

Love ya lots!

3:21 PM
Pappy Yokum said...

My wife would be a combination of the analyst, the view and the chameleon. She played high school and college ball so she knows all the ins and outs but she definitely analyzes the game in her mind - very little vocalization. She always ends up chatting with a group of RS sisters and gets plenty of stories, and she doesn't let the kids out of her sight, except when it's time to go and they have slipped off somewhere and we spend the next 10 minutes trying to round them up.

11:35 AM