When Maryland’s football schedule came out this winter, the first home date against James Madison immediately caught my eye. My wife is a JMU alumnus, and three of her bridesmaids went to school with her. We’re all pretty close, and I’ve said a few times over the years that it would be great to take them to College Park to see what football at a big school is like. With my wife’s consent, I sent a note out to the group in February inviting them to come to the game with us on September 12th. I even offered to “give you all a campus tour of the libraries and classroom buildings that I never visited.” Man, what a funny guy! Spirits were high on that February day.
The game is now two days out and I’m asking myself, “What the hell was I thinking?” When I sent that note out in February I was unaware that my wife was, at the time, already pregnant. It was too early to tell. She is now seven months pregnant. I can tell you firsthand that there is nothing a third-trimester pregnant woman loves more than being in a tailgate for three hours with a horde of drunk fools bumping into her and spilling beers at her feet, or sitting through a two hour football game in a hard stadium chair, or waiting in a twenty minute bathroom line. Did I say “loves”? Oh, I meant that she hates that, and any false move by drunk freshmen will be attributed to me and my stupidity for setting this thing up.
Just to shake things up a bit, there are news reports that the swine flu has hit College Park hard, with the Baltimore Gazette reporting that Maryland has over 250 potential active cases of the virus. I think our risk of exposure is limited based on the facts that we will be outside the entire time, we won’t be making out with any of the students, and we won’t be sharing a bong. I communicated this to my wife and her friends via email today in an attempt to ease their nerves and avoid a tailgating experience filled with medical respirators and hand sanitizer. By giving this clinical opinion, I have now set myself up for future accusations of malpractice should any member of the crew contract the swine flu at the game. If my pregnant wife gets the swine flu at this game, then I don’t think I’ll qualify for the “#1 Dad” tee when the baby comes. Instead, I’ll have to go on the lamb for a few months, lay low, change my name, and make some scratch toiling at manual labor. I’m not built to toil. I have very soft hands.
Now for the worst case scenario: MARYLAND COULD LOSE! Do I think they’ll lose? No. I’m predicting a three score victory with Da’Rel Scott doing a Heisman pose sometime in the second quarter. But there is a chance they could lose. JMU is a legitimate DI-AA program, and despite their well documented shortcomings on both sides of the ball, Maryland also has well documented shortcomings on both sides of the ball. The Terps almost lost at home to Delaware last year, and the CAA has started a strong 2-1 against the ACC this year. If Maryland wins there is no upside for me in bragging rights. The Terps are expected to win. If the Terrapins lose this game, I will spend the rest of my life hearing about it from my wife’s college friends. I don’t know how I could deal with the loss. It would make me a bitter man. Very bitter.
Pregnant wife… swine flu… potential for loss… this game presents many dangerous scenarios for me and my marriage. Like many Maryland sporting events, I don’t know if I’m even going to be able to enjoy it I’m so nervous about the outcome. I’m just going to apologize to my wife in advance.
Honey, I’m sorry. I don’t know what for yet, but I know I’m sorry. We can get past this. Do you forgive me? Yes? Great. There, now we both feel better. Let’s just relax and enjoy the game. Here’s a stadium seat cushion. Can I get you some boardwalk fries? It’s such a nice day out. I love this time of year.