A man's life stops when his team is playing. The children could be running with scissors
or playing with matches, but the father is completely oblivious to anything but whether the umpire's call is fair (and whether the mother can get him a beer in time). The girlfriend could walk in front of the TV in the most stripperiffic
lingerie known to man, but all the guy wants is for her to get out of the way so he can see the instant replay of the game-winning one-handed catch.
Sometimes the girl, in the interest of not losing her man for months, will attempt to follow his team. She will either be obnoxiously ignorant or pick up on the game so quickly that she will become a far more rabid fan than he.
The term is usually written as sport-specific - "football widow", for example. And can be extended to any fanatical hobby that the spouse doesn't share, such as "gaming widow" for Tabletop Games
or "WoW widow" for World of Warcraft
- In a commercial for McDonald's, a woman tells her boyfriend that her sister's boyfriend says that Sundays are only for watching football. Since he [the boyfriend we see] is so intelligent — evidence of which is that he ordered off the McDonald's dollar menu — he's able to come back with, "He's a jerk."
- Both versions of Fever Pitch. In both cases, the female lead starts falling for the male lead, who completely changes personas when Arsenal/the Boston Red Sox season starts.
- Several of Dave Barry's columns illustrate this phenomenon. In one of the illustrated ones, two bar patrons angrily yell at the owner to change the channel back to the sports game instead of the young woman prancing around in her underwear.
- Home Improvement: Jill knew that Tim was basically useless when the Detroit Lions were playing.
- Sex and the City: One of Samantha's Guys of the Week would refuse to have sex while his basketball team was playing. Sam tried to indulge his fandom, but when he turned out to have a team for every season, she walked away.
- In one episode of My Name Is Earl, the Karmic Restitution of the Week is fixing a relationship Earl ruined by making a guy obsessed with golf and getting dumped after turning his partner into a golf widow.
- The League: Ruxin's wife Sofia knows to leave him alone when he and the rest of the league show up to watch. Averted by Kevin and Jenny: she's a bigger football fan (and better team owner) than he is.
- Ricky and Fred on I Love Lucy get this way when watching a boxing match on television.
- Married... with Children: Not exactly this but Al Bundy has a specific way of spending his holidays - totally isolating himself in front of TV. Otherwise he might snap.
- An episode of Step by Step featured this, with Frank and Rich watching a basketball game and completely ignoring Carol and Dana, their wife and girlfriend, respectively. They finally snap out of it when Carol's French friend Jean-Luc shuts the television off and convinces them to have a formal dinner with their ladies.
- Debra Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond is a professional sports widow; husband Ray is a staff sports writer for a newspaper and is paid to go to sports events, watch them at home on newspaper-funded cable TV, and to write about them afterwards. He also plays a lot of golf.
- In Damn Yankees, Meg laments that she loses her husband to the Washington Senators "six months out of every year." Her voice is joined by a chorus of other baseball widows (and their umpire-berating husbands).
- Cindy and the other club wives in Larry Leadhead, who are in various degrees resigned to coming second to their husbands' obsessions with toy soldiers and models.note
- Nikki & John Pranksters in Love: Nikki is a victim of this in the gaming sense when John is playing video games on his X-Box. Naturally, this is the basis of numerous pranks by her to him. She destroyed his X-Box with a baseball bat, then switched out his new X-Box's hard drive with a new one to make him think she deleted everything on it, and then hid his copy of Modern Warfare 3 a day after it came out in stores.
- Futurama flips the genders. Fry's mother is a hardcore Packers fan, and his father is too busy preparing for the latest conspiracy to give a damn what anyone else is doing.