I'm not sure that this is a talent I should be particularly proud of, but the fact is, at any given point during the day, I'm usually aware of almost every sports score going on in any game in the United States. It's almost eerie how I can do this. If someone were to ask me, on the spot, to name my age, favorite food, and what the Cubs' score is, I would almost involuntarily respond with 63, black-bean chili, and 4-0, Cubs, bottom of the 5th, with two runners on base and Lester working on a two-hitter. It's a trait I share with a lot of guys, I know: it's like most guys are built with an internal antennae that catches all broadcast waves that carry sporting events.
It's easier to be an obsessive sports fan in a digital age, but actually, I've always been this way; as a kid, I used to have a transistor radio glued to my ear whenever the signal was strong enough to carry the ball game. Of course it doesn't hurt nowadays that most restaurants and bars have TVs on all day and you can quickly scan them to get the latest scores.
It drives my wife nuts and so I've learned over the years to camouflage my sports fanaticism while we're out for lunch or dinner. Most times she doesn't even notice that I've stolen a glance at the television scoreboard while she's glanced down at the menu or looked through her purse. It's a bit of subterfuge in our relationship, I admit, but nothing that's caused any great rift or damage. And, I think I could even argue that it's probably been a benefit to us as well. At least once.
You see, after years of trying to sneak looks in public, I've learned to become somewhat aware of my surroundings, and this skill helped out when my wife suffered a mild fainting spell at an outdoor mall last summer. We were walking together and suddenly, she called my name softly, and wham, she started falling. I caught her before she hit the ground and quickly moved her to an outdoor bench. A young man came over to assist, and I told him to go to the Red Cross station--which I had noticed in my usual, scanning-the-area way--that was near the entrance and ask for help.
In just minutes paramedics were all around us, immediately giving my wife medical attention. As it turned out, it was nothing major, thank God, my wife was a bit anemic and iron deficient and the hot weather had gotten to her. We didn't have to go to the hospital that day, and a subsequent doctor's visit led to a supplement that, with some careful dietary monitoring, restored my wife to her usual vigor.
It was a scary situation, to be sure, but all's well that ends well, and I have to admit that I couldn't help but crow a bit to my wife about how cool I was under pressure. To my mild surprise, she agreed with me, and she also said that it probably helped that I'm like a kid with attention-deficit disorder and that I'm always furtively glancing around. Especially, she said, when there's a ball game on a nearby television that features a certain baseball team from Chicago's North Side. What could I say? It was humbling to discover that apparently, I'm not as good at hiding my insane sports addiction as I thought.
Until Next Week,