For some people, sports are like soap operas. Watching one or two games makes their brains turn to mush and all they can think about is the next episode. Unfortunately, my wife has become one of them. The few pennies we have go to Mercury tickets and when she’s not at a game, she pulls up a chair, 18 inches from our 52″ TV set, and acts like she’s in the first row.
It’s a progressive disease. First it was just women’s basketball. Now it doesn’t matter who’s playing or what game it is. If it has “ball” at the end of it, she’s interested. I stood at the stove, preparing rice pilaf and asparagus tips for friends who were on their way to our house with thick steaks to grill, when the phone rang.
“Hello! This is Angela from One Community. Congratulations! You’ve won two tickets to the Mercury Playoff game.”
“This is a joke, right?” It’s a well-known fact that I have as much interest in sports as a centipede has in shoes.
“No joke,” said Angela. “We just pulled your card out of our fishbowl.”
“Really?” I vaguely remembered dropping cards around town to advertise the publication of my novel, Rose’s Will. “Thank you,” I said, trying to sound as grateful as a sports-o-phobe could be when she’s told that she’s won the equivalent of a coffee enema. “Do I have to pick them up, or will you mail them?”
“Well, it’s tonight,” she said in a tone that clearly indicated the answer should have been obvious. “The tickets will be at the window.”
“Oh, no!” I said, this time sounding genuinely excited instead of sadly disappointed. “Not tonight! We’re expecting company for dinner any minute. Can we exchange them for another night?” a night when Carol can go with somebody else, I thought.
She paused. “Um, this is the playoff. If the Mercury don’t win, there might not BE another night.
“Oh boy,” I said, “this is the worst good news my partner is ever going to hear.”
Carol was standing in front of me listening to my side of the conversation and doing what she normally gets mad at me for doing: “What? Who is it? What news?”
I asked Angela to hold on for a second. “We won two tickets to the Mercury game,” I paused for effect, “tonight”. Her face turned from happy clown into a horror mask. I knew that she knew that we couldn’t leave our friends standing in the doorway with four enormous T-bones while we scampered off to the game.
“I’m sorry Angela (I really wasn’t sorry), but we just can’t.” Carol groaned loudly in the background.
I was right in the middle of saying “thanks anyway” when Angela said the dreaded thing:
“We could give you FOUR tickets instead of two if your friends want to go with you.”
“I don’t know about that,” I said. “I’d have to ask them.”
Carol stopped groaning. “What? Ask who? What did she say?” I ignored her.
“Listen, take my number,” Angela said. “Ask them and call me back.”
Our friends were avid sports fans and as I wrote down the number, I realized that our plans were about to shift drastically. So, yes it’s true. That was me on the JumboTron, sitting in the 3rd row eating peanuts while four perfectly delicious steaks sat in fridge.
Sometimes you just have to give in.