Friday, October 02, 2009

The Most Important Anniversary

There are a couple of anniversaries I celebrate here: August 31 (the day was launched) and January 6 (the day the Daily Quickie launched) are the biggies.

But neither would matter -- would even exist, most likely -- if not for tomorrow's anniversary: October 3, my wedding anniversary.

This year, it happens to be a "biggie" -- 5 years. (Whoops: They're ALL big... this just happens to be the first nice, round-sounding number you get to after your wedding day itself.)

Everyone's marriage is special, obviously, but mine has a particular sports component:

If not for my wife, I would not be a Florida fan. And if I wasn't a Florida fan, I'm not quite sure WHAT I'd be, fan-wise -- probably the same aimless, rootless fan I was before I met her.

And it goes without question that my wife's own sports fandom -- that she was a fan at all, let alone a die-hard college football and college hoops fan -- was some sort of necessary attribute to our relationship working out.

One of my wife's biggest pet peeves is when people say to her "Oh, it's so nice you're a Florida fan with Dan" -- as if she glommed on to MY team. She brusquely corrects them (as she should).

She loves sitting on the couch all day on Saturdays, watching college football -- even when the Gators aren't playing. She particularly likes the NCAA Tournament. ("March Madness" was listed on her resume under "Interests.") Her skill in bracket-picking is prolific: Remember back in 2006, when my unborn son's bracket finished in the Top 10 OUT OF 10,000 entries in the Quickie Readers pool -- that was my wife, making the picks.

The weekend of October 3, 2004, our wedding was loaded with college footballish details: It was held on a Sunday in north Florida, and the day before was a Gators home game -- for those attendees who gave up their precious game tickets (a wild 45-30 win over Arkansas) to hang out with us, her parents put on a huge tailgate spread -- complete with custom plastic "stadium cups" for drinks, replacing the season schedule with big dates from our relationship. (I will take credit for the stadium-cup idea.)

Later that night, after the rehearsal dinner, worlds collided as my Northwestern friends watched NU pull off a stunning rare win over Ohio State -- the Florida fans were as loud in pulling for the Cats as the NU crowd.

I couldn't imagine a wedding weekend that DIDN'T pay at least some homage to college football -- as anyone who has held (or attended) a fall wedding can attest. It is one of the things I remember most about the weekend.

But let's wrap it back to this blog and the Quickie and and Varsity Dad and everything else I'm working on:

None of it would have happened or been possible without the complete support of my wife. She encouraged me to make the Quickie a reality; she encouraged me to dedicate the time I put into the blog -- now blogs, plural. She has been my biggest fan and my toughest (but fairest) critic and, frankly, the inspiration for all of it. Any success I have had is because of her influence and support.

And if I have any regret, it's that life is a zero-sum game: The hour you spend writing is an hour you don't spend with your wife or your kids or your friends or some other pursuit you care about. And I enjoy spending time with my wife so much, I miss those hours as much as I cherish the ones we do get to have together.

Ironically, there is no Gator game for us to watch together tomorrow, on the actual day of our anniversary. We will click on LSU-Georgia and settle in -- what more can you ask for that you get that kind of partnership for a BYE week. But, like I said, she's a bigger -- and better -- sports fan than I ever was. But you already knew that. And I love her for it.

(We will extend the anniversary celebration in two weeks when she comes with me to the Blogs With Balls conference in Las Vegas, where we'll have a reservation at the Wynn Sports Book to watch games all day Saturday -- if you'll be around town, I'd love to introduce you to her. She'll be in her Gators "Lucky Shirt," which -- speaking of which -- I'm not sure she was wearing last weekend when Tim Tebow suffered the concussion. Hmm...)

So to my wife: Thank you for the five best years of my life. For our relationship. For my kids. For my sports fandom. (Just to confirm: Yes, in that order...even if some mornings it doesn't feel like it.) I love you -- now more than ever.

-- D.S.

PS: Check out that Quickie link above, from the last column I filed before I took a few days off to get married: I had filed the Quickie for 447 consecutive weekdays -- an Ironman streak that I doubt is matched in mainstream media. I had nearly forgotten about that. Here's how I put it:
447 consecutive days. Not counting weekends and a handful of national holidays, that's my Quickie-writing streak, as of Wednesday morning. Not exactly Ripken or Favre, but hey ...

Who would put up with that kind of deviant behavior? The early mornings? The TV addiction? The obsession with awk. abbrev.? That would be devoted Quickie reader Margery, who -- assuming the rally caps work -- I'll marry on Sunday.
Five years after marrying me -- which was already a year and a half into the Quickie and three years into my Page 2 writing -- she still puts up with it.


Geo B said...

Great writeup Dan. Congrats on five years!

(19 for me, my wife tolerates my football habit but will watch our common school - Penn State - if the game is televised here in Houston)

Required wedding/football connection - The PSU/Texas game was moved for TV to be during our wedding. I got to watch the first quarter while getting dressed at my soon-to-be in-laws with my best man. Penn State lost (boo!) - glad the marriage turned out better!

MizzouHoops said...

I'm not implying we are on a cosmic collision course or anything... however Aug 31 is my birthday and Oct 3 is my wife's birthday.

Happy anniversary to you.

Unknown said...

I've read your column for about 4 years, and first time commenting.

Congrats. I get married today. As a college football fan, I salute your Sunday wedding.

As a Hokie, I ensured our wedding was going to either be a bye week, or Duke(hopefully not a jinx).

And my to-be wife is also a huge football fan, I've just steered her towards college. We exchanged loyalties (She roots for the Hokies, and I became a Pats fan on Sundays)

Anyhow, just thought I would send a congrats your way.


doublenickel said...

I was in a similar situation myself (convenientally enough with Florida also!) and was dragged into Gator-dom about 5 years ago. That lucky timing has allowed me to cheer for 2 NCAA BB and CFB Champions. That is still part of the reason I follow your blog (and your passion for Tebow) on a regular basis.
Congratulations on 5 and here's hoping for many more

Dave in Virginia said...


Congratulations on the anniversary and the true love you found. Your perspective on time and "your better half" was, as usual, spot on.

I have been reading your material for over two years, quickly ending up on my daily reading list.

As a lifelong UVA fan, I only wish us to be competitive and graduate great kids. And beat Carolina, Maryland, and now Tech whenever possible.

Take care.


Dan Shanoff said...

Hey, everyone: Huge thanks for the comments -- they made my day.

I love stories of how people's relationships with their significant others intersect with rooting interests.