Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Adjustments of Marrying into a Sports Family

This is the first picture I ever showed my mom of
 my future Husband
Growing up, my family wasn't what you would call a sports family. Sure, we would watch the Superbowl every year, and I do know the basic rules and terminology to most sports. We did play soccer and catch as a family, and attend the occasional minor league baseball games or local basketball and hockey games, but sitting down to watch Monday night football was not our thing. We didn't really have teams that we rooted for, nor did we have the matching fan apparel. In fact, I remember every spirit week at school becoming slightly stressed out at the prospect of "sports day" I never had any deep ties to a team to cheer for. 

My first football game with Mike when we were dating
I remember being asked my first week in middle school in Oregon “Are you a Duck or a Beaver?” Initially I had no idea what in the world they were talking about. When I learned about the great Oregon “civil war” and loving hatred between U of O and OSU all I could really think was “those are the lamest mascots I have ever heard of in my life!”

Then one fine day, I met the man of my dreams who would consequently change everything. My dear husband does in fact come from a sports family. They are diehard UT, Spurs, SF Giants and 49ers fans with partiality towards a few other local teams.
My first Giants game, and the day I became a full
fledged McNeil
Introducing my mother-in-law to the joys of
Real SL Soccer!

A Twins baseball game when
we were engaged
Starting Luke young as a Giants fan
I am always completely clueless when the conversation turns to sports at the dinner table with Mike’s family. In fact, I remember one of my favorite conversations with my father-in-law. After what I’m sure was a stirring discussion to an informed individual about the new Giants lineup, my father-in-law noticed I hadn’t added anything to the conversation. He wanted to make sure I didn’t feel left out. He turned to me and asked, “What are your thoughts on the Giants?” Without missing a beat I responded, “You know, I think all the important elements have already been mentioned”.  Everyone laughed and I was able to continue on listening to this foreign language that hopefully one day I will become fluent. 

Since being married to Mike, we have had the opportunity to attend numerous collegiate and professional sporting events in basketball, baseball, football, rugby, soccer, and hockey. I can’t say going to a sporting event is always my favorite thing to do, but there is something really exciting about wearing a team shirt and cheering with thousands of other people. I have come to realize when marrying Mike I was also marrying into his teams and they have now become my own. I feel a sense of pride watching games, knowing a few players and their stats and even owning some team attire. I certainly still have moments where 
The family at AT&T park during
Fedora day
I misinterpret the terminology and become very concerned when I hear of a team "not showing up to play" but I think I am learning well.

Sitting on the floor at a Duke Basketball game
We couldn't visit Barcelona without visiting Camp Nou
I am especially excited for today. We have the opportunity to live in Europe during the world cup. Everywhere I look there is Brazil 2014 and a rainbow of colors representing the teams around the world. Even the chocolate shops have joined in on the celebration by creating chocolate delights in the shape of cleats, balls and jerseys. I may not completely understand Mikes desire to buy an expensive soccer jersey everywhere we visit, but I think I am beginning to see the “no man is an island” idea it represents. Like the Olympics, the World Cup is about bringing people from different cultures and backgrounds together for some “friendly” competition. I’m thrilled to catch a glimpse of this culture especially living near Geneva where there are so many transplants from all over the world.


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