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.
***** MY COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR COMMENTS *****
(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.