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Jewish Journal

Ohio sports and my Marriage vows

by Julia Bendis

January 6, 2011 | 3:04 pm

Most people know, I am not a big sports fan.  Sure I like to watch an occasional basketball game, only because every TV in the house has been hijacked to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers get their asses handed to them, yet again, by every single team in the NBA.  But, that’s for later…

Until I met my husband, I didn’t even know what baseball was.  I saw it on TV a few times, but had no idea what the hell was going on, or why men would wear such unflattering, tight pants and run around in a circle every single fricking time.  I had no idea that straight, gorgeous men could have such a fascination with balls.

Unfortunately for me, I met my husband during the World Series of baseball in August of 1997, and him being from Cleveland was even more unfortunate (as I learned later)!  After dating for a couple months, he told me that he was going to visit his parents in Cleveland, which was a little strange since we had just started dating.  He did say that he was mostly going because the World Series games were to be played there.  First of all, I didn’t know that going to “the World Series” meant going to watch a baseball game.  I heard the words “world” and “series”, and assumed it was some kind of a international TV show or competition.  Him working in the entertainment industry, somehow it all made sense to me.  Second, when he tried to explain to me (for the fifth time), that it was a very important baseball event, and each team had to qualify to be in this event over the course of the season, all I kept hearing was: “Blah, Blah, Blabety Blah, Cleveland, Blah, Blah haven’t won Championship since the 1700’s.”  And to tell the truth, that’s as far as I cared.

I never really understood what the big deal was about.  I came from Russia, we didn’t have this obsession with sports unless you were the one actually playing for the Soviet team!  And of course if Russia was playing United States, then we cared.

But as the time went on, and he would tell me stories about his 80-year-old Grandma screaming, and cussing at the TV when the Indians were loosing, I started to get the feeling that he was no ordinary sports fan.  He was a Cleveland Fan!  You know what that means?  That means that no matter what is going on in your life, whether your wife is about to give birth to your first child or not, you plan around the Indians schedule!  That means that if your wife is going to the hospital on October 31st, and the Indians are still in the World Series, you bring the radio with you, you find the closest waiting room with a working TV, and in between contractions you tell her that you’ll be back, because you have to check the score.  And apparently, as the wife of a Cleveland fanatic, I have agreed to accept the part in our marriage vows that said: ” I agree to leave my husband alone when any Cleveland team is in the Finals, and never be upset if he ONLY answers those questions that have to do with sports.  Any other questions will be asked, and answered after Cleveland has lost.”

I truly do get that never-ending love for your city, that undying love that makes you stick by your team even if they haven’t won a championship since you were minus one.  I really do.  Every time I visit Cleveland, I am still amazed at the amount of team t-shirts, sweatshirts and jerseys that are so abundant everywhere you go!  Everyone is wearing some kind of Cleveland or Ohio paraphernalia, the young, the old, even babies come out of the hospital wearing their first Ohio State jerseys. They are truly the best fans any city has ever had!  That’s not to say that here in L.A. we don’t have great fans, they just come in the form of transplants that lost their faith in their own city, so they decided to pick a team out of a hat and Wuala, L.A. was the one.  But not the Cleveland fans, they stick with their teams til the end!  They take it to their graves, sometimes literally.

Thirteen years later, I have finally come to terms that with now 3 boys in the house, I am better off getting a new hobby during baseball season, renting a small apartment down the street, or learning to sit next to them while they watch sports, with giant headphones and my laptop, of course.

So, as they say in Cleveland, “wait until next year” to see if my boys suddenly become un-interested in sports…

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