The New Seasons

Throughout my entire life I have encountered four seasons every year. Oklahoma isn’t crazy helpful for a lot of things, but it does have four pretty distinct seasons, and for that I have been grateful. Yet something happened when I chose to marry this man. Somehow the universe opened up and swallowed about nine other seasons whole. Enter: sports.

Sure you’ve got your main seasons- football in the fall, baskeball in the winter, baseball in the spring. And then, just as you think there’s a break in the clouds, summer intervenes. I initially (naively) believed that summer was a time off from organized sports. Everyone is out of school, no major sporting events happen to my knowledge, though the World Cup debacle from our honeymoon stands to prove me wrong. Alas, I have discovered that summer isn’t actually a time off from sports, but a season during which you can play any sport you want. Then there are seasons I haven’t quite figured out yet. When, for example, do tennis players stop playing tennis? Soccer seems to last all year. Then you’ve got golf, lacrosse, hockey, the Olympics… and probably things I don’t even realize my husband watches.

One of these seasons came to an end last night, and I must admit it hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I expected. It could be the fact that I’ve convinced him we don’t need a television (mostly because I don’t need a television) so that keeps our game watching (or at least our mindless game watching) to a minimum. For us, watching football this season usually meant being with friends at a tailgate or at their home. And from there, any sporting event looks a lot more enjoyable. I’ve learned the names of some players (three to be exact), learned some new phrases, and actually won money by picking bowl teams. I still haven’t figured out what a blitz is, though a girlfriend told me I should use the phrase during games to appear more knowledgable in football. I’m working on it.

So to these new seasons: I think I can live with you. But let’s keep the food and friends flowing- and may every game seem like merely a half.

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A Letter

Dear God,

Yesterday at church I was helping out on the parking team and I watched a girl get out of her Infinity and walk into church wearing her TOMS shoes. The girl is probably a really sweet girl with a much bigger heart than mine but for a moment she was the object of my own self-aggrandizement. I patted myself on the back, not because I don’t have an Infinity (I can’t afford it) or a pair of TOMS (I look like a clown in TOMS), but because I don’t want them.

Then I realized that I don’t want a new house either, my 600 square-foot apartment will be just swell, thank you very much. I realized I don’t want a limitless gift card to the Nike and J. Crew outlets or a lifetime supply of Southern Tide or Vineyard Vines shirts. I realized I don’t need a new iPhone, in fact, God, I don’t even want a new iPhone.

I realized that as much as I would love to watch Oklahoma State go 12-0 in football some year and play for a title, it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things.

God, you made some really intelligent people who created this thing called the iPad. Apparently it makes Bible-reading much easier, but I don’t want one.

I got to thinking about it and I don’t really think sports are all that important either, which implies that fantasy sports are even less important. I realized I love sports, but sports don’t love me, and sports don’t actually matter eternally.

Oh, one more sports note, thank you for making that tract of land us humans named “Augusta” but I guess it’s not really that wonderful, you know, relatively speaking.

I realized that I don’t really want to be wealthy someday, or famous, or even moderately well-known. I don’t really care about those things. They’re vices, mostly. I don’t have much desire for power or what our depraved culture labels “success” for my marriage or family.

I realized that all I have any yearning for is you and my community of family and friends. I patted myself on the back a few more times at church last night for all these realizations. I’m so holy.

After I realized all that, I realized something else:

Every word I speak and action I take…
Every Tweet I proclaim and ‘like’ I click…
Every email I send and website I visit…
Every magazine I read and meal I eat…
Every phone call I make and conversation I have…
Every TV show I watch and thought I think…
Every single day I live, my life…

Says something vastly different from what I wrote above.

We’re worlds apart, you and me. Thank you for relentlessly shattering me with your grace.

Your son,
Kyle

P.S. Thanks for my wife Jen, she’s pretty cool. And she’s always reminding me of how unworthy I am before you. Do you think you could maybe, you know, get her to be a little less sweet about it though, it makes getting mad at her pretty hard. Thanks.

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SportsMentor #2

SportsMentor2 from Marriage Project on Vimeo.

It’s a lengthy little flick but you won’t regret watching it. If you only have a few minutes fast-forward to the 4:22 mark where you get Jen’s first NFL/gambling moment ever. If you only have a few seconds fast-forward to the 7:47 mark where Jen just dresses down the entire world of sports because of one guy’s name.

Oh, and if you missed the first one, it was a classic.

*Correction – The Cowboys play the Bears this weekend, not the Bengals as I stated in the video. My bad.

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Football Season…as a Married Man

Well my perspective has changed, marriage and such. As a mid-20s single “adult” male the first week in September used to mean 18-weeks-too-soon in-depth Heisman analysis. It used to mean watching College Football Live so much I actually wanted Lou Holtz to have a medical “accident” debilitating enough for him to not be on the air anymore but not serious enough to threaten his life. It used to mean waking up at 9 AM, riding my bike with my friends to our tailgate, and not riding it home again until at least 9 PM. This year? Things are a little different…

The 5 reasons I’m fired up for my first college football season as a married man (in reverse order of course):

5. Waking up at 11 AM for the obligatory Wisconsin vs. Northwestern game on ESPN2. I’m excited for this because I can’t wait to watch two unathletic Big 10 teams that have a 293:4 run to pass ratio “battle” to a 9-6 “thriller.” I’m also excited for this because I know my new wife of 3 months will faithfully cook and serve me smoked Brazilian sausage and freshly imported Norwegian eggs for breakfast as I turn my body into a corpse and stare at games for 19 straight hours.

4. Road trips to Stillwater to watch OSU go 7-5 for the 29th year in a row (I just erased the Bob Simmons years). I can’t wait to hear things like the following:
“Ugh, Weeden’s eyes just aren’t as pretty as Zac’s were, do we HAVE to go to this game?” “Jen, he has 29,302 passing yards through 4 games…let’s cut him some slack.”
“Wait, why are there eleven teams in the big twelve next year?” “Um, because Nebraska hates the forward pass and wants to run the ball a hundred times a game with the likes of those Big 10 teams I mentioned in #4.”
“Is there going to be food this time?” “Yes Jen, there’s always food.”
“How old is Gundy this year? He has such weird hair.” “I know he does, and he’s 43, let’s get over the “I’m a man”  thing, please.

3. Because we’ll undoubtedly have the “will you choose your love for me and take me to Canton for antique searching or your love for this barbaric event of sport and stay home and be numb all day?” conversation. And I’ll probably feel bad and give in and while I’m gone Ryan Mallett will throw for 900 yards as Arkansas beats Georgia in 9 OT in the greatest college game of all time and Jen and I won’t talk for 2 days. The part I’m looking forward to is 10 years from now when we look back and laugh about it (although mine will be one of those nervous “nobody knows if I’m a lunatic or not” laughs because I’ll still be a little bitter about it).

2. Conversations like this:

Jen: “Why are you holding a magnifying glass up to the computer screen so you can illegally watch Villanova and Miami (OH) play a meaningless game in September?”
Me: “Because I’m in a fantasy football keeper league and there’s a guy ‘Nova has that I might want to draft next year. I’m checking him out, is that a problem?”
Jen: “I thought you had your draft for that yesterday”
Me: “I did but my team stinks so I’m already looking forward to next year.”
Jen: “You’re already giving up, that’s awesome. Didn’t that cost us $40?”
Me: “Yeah…sorry…except that I’m not since you DON’T HAVE A JOB!”
Jen: “That’s mature, that was my CRAFTING MONEY FOR THIS MONTH!!!”

I promise we’ll have that conversation at some point this season. Promise.

1. We live 10 minutes from the Cotton Bowl. You can bet your fried stick of butter we’ll be killing the Texas State Fair that weekend. I’d rather stab myself in the forearm than go to that game and cheer from either team but we’ll probably eat our weight in fried foods. Can’t wait.

My Picks:

Title Game: Florida over Boise St. (that pick is about to get real on Saturday when Boise plays VT…oh and John Brantley is a better QB than Tebow…yeah, I said it)

Heisman: Jake Locker, Washington

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Why Girls Look Forward to Football Season

We’ll be doing a little 2-part college football “preview” today and tomorrow on the blog. I say “preview” because it’s basically nothing more than a snapshot into both of our (sometimes disturbing, usually entertaining) perspectives of sports. Without further adieu, 5 reasons I (as a girl) am looking forward to college football:

1. Looking Cute – As a twenty-six-year-old married woman, I’m a little bit past this stage, though some would debate if I ever actually took part. But I’ve seen other girls do it, so here goes. Football season means dressing up in your school colors with as many cute accessories as your earlobes, neck, and wrists can handle. For those from the south it means cute dresses with cowboy boots, big curly hair, and anything you can find in direct contrast to the game of football itself. It means sitting with your girlfriends and talking about anything but sports, or sitting by the cute boy you have a crush on and pretending (or not having to pretend) that you need him to teach you everything he knows.

2. Cookouts – Otherwise known as “tailgates,” this tradition finds many a girl cooking up her favorite meal for the boys or, again, talking with her girlfriends about anything but sports. It marks the beginning of a new season (I’m talking autumn, not football) and enjoying the out of doors and the clean, crisp air. It means new possibilities (no, not for the Heisman- don’t kid yourself) and a time where friends and family trump everything else. The holidays are approaching, and with them, another new year full of opportunity and blessings. Fall is great indeed.

3. Perfect Weather – There’s the old saying about the “fair weather fan,” but I, my friends, am truly a fair weather fan. My body can only enjoy football when the temperature finds itself between the degrees of 65 and 75. Anything beyond that on either end of the spectrum and I’d rather watch indoors. Or sometimes I’d be okay with not watching at all. This leaves me with about two games per season that I can enjoy without complaining. Which means two games that Kyle can enjoy. Period.

4. Boys Being Boys – Yes, we roll our eyes when you try and throw the football further than your friends and get it stuck on top of a campus building, but we secretly find it kind of cute. We make you behave in public every other day of the year, and this is the one time we can let you be yourselves. It’s actually pretty fun to watch you run around like children and rattle off sports stats, even though we tune them out. So enjoy it. Because as soon as we get in the car, the fun is over.

5. Football Players – Yes, we notice them. Usually only the quarterbacks because they’re on T.V. the most and they get the ball every play. And because they’re the cutest. We may pretend we don’t care about football, but sometimes the quarterback is the only thing that gets us through the game.

My picks: (I just looked at Kyle and said, “What am I picking?)

Title Game: Alabama and LSU. I have no reasoning for this. But LSU will win.

Heisman: Brandon Weeden. Because he’s literally the only football player I know this season. And I probably would have misspelled his name if I hadn’t looked it up. See #2. I’m my own worst nightmare.

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