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Sports Widow

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The other six months out of every year
We are hardly ever seen apart
But then the Washington Senators take over my place in his heart
Six months out of every year
Meg, Damn Yankees, "Six Months out of Every Year"

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. And this behavior isn't exclusive to men, either- a soap-opera-loving Housewife may be more invested in the relationships between soap opera characters than her relationship with her husband, and a Yaoi Fangirl may be more invested in reading or writing sexual fanfiction than actually having sex with her boyfriend.

Compare Appointment Television, which is simply about the need to watch programs on TV, such as sports games, the moment they're broadcast. They aren't mutually exclusive, but there is a lot of overlap between "someone who must drop everything to watch TV the moment their team is playing" and "someone who ignores their significant other when their team is playing".

Not to be confused with Kathleen Chapman, whose husband Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians was fatally injured in 1920 when a pitch struck him on the head (in the days before batting helmets), or with Sharon Hughes, whose husband Chuck Hughes of the Detroit Lions died in 1971 of an in-game cardiac arrest.


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  • 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."
  • Similarly, this 1984 Sony ad for their Trinitron TV sets; with the husband watching the game with his friends on the Trinitron while his wife and kids are stuck watching a set that based on the very poor picture and the son having to adjust the antenna constantly is clearly on its last legs.

     Fan Works  

  • The Discworld of A.A. Pessimal sees Heidi van Kruger settle the issue of not doing her National Service, once and for all, by marrying Danie Smith-Rhodes. note . Danie, however, on emigrating to Ankh-Morpork, found his community among like-minded expatriots, in the bros and the okes of fifteen-a-side foot-and-hand-the-ball. Heidi accepts that on Saturday afternoons and training sessions, the Springboeks come first. Danie is seen reflecting on the inconvenient fact that women, for reasons known only to themselves, have a distressing habit of scheduling weddings to happen on Saturdays. He is seen wondering if he can persuade her to have the wedding first thing in the morning, so as to have his afternoon free for the game. He considers this a wholly reasonable thing to ask for. Her reaction is not recorded.
    • A few years later, their niece Rebecka Smith-Rhodes meets a pleasant and engaging guy who she really likes. But his Saturday afternoons - and Sundays - and the occasional five days in the week - are devoted to Crockett. She realises where a lot of her summer Saturdays are going to be spent. With the added kicker that the Morpork Crockett Club (M.C.C.) rules have a lengthy sub-section about the proper role of the distaff side in the genteel sport of Crockett. Which is to uncomplainingly be present in the pavilion to prepare and serve cake and sandwiches. And to pour the tea. To her great surprise, Bekki finds herself doing this. As a Witch, this irritates her somewhat.


  • 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.


  • Isaac Asimov's
    • "The Martian Way": Dora Swenson complains to her husband that she hates the way he would spend months away from home, wishing that he would find employment in any other job, as long as it was on Mars, so that they could actually live together and he would be present to help her raise their son, Peter.
      "You can make a decent, honorable living right here on Mars, just like everybody else. I'm the only one in this apartment house that's a Scavenger widow. That's what I am- a widow. I'm worse than a widow, because if I were a widow, I'd at least have a chance to marry someone else-"
    • Opus 100: Dr Asimov describes being married to a writer as a fate worse than death because he is "physically home and mentally absent". This book was published while he was married to his first wife, Gertrude Blugerman, who disliked his decision to write. Janet Jeppson would have a different opinion.
  • 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.

     Live Action TV  

  • Home Improvement: Jill knew that Tim was basically useless when the Detroit Lions, Tigers, Red Wings, or Pistons 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 premium cable TV, and later satellite TV (both of which were still in their infancy at the time), and to write about them afterwards. He also plays a lot of golf.

     Tabletop Games  

  • In the 5th Edition of Blood Bowl, the background material for banshee Star Player Gretchen W├Ąchter mentions that she was, in life, a widow to her husbands' obsession with the game and developed an intense hated for it as a result. Gretchen was so incensed that her husband buried her wearing the strip of his favourite team, her spirit returned to torment him in death. When the necromancer Dirk the Abhorrent was forming his experimental ethereal Undead team, the Falorn Phantoms, he summoned Gretchen to terrify opposition players and the banshee finally found something she enjoyed about the game.


  • 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).

     Video Games 

  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery has "Face Paint Kid", a member of the player character's house at Hogwarts who is also a huge fan of Quidditch. Nobody knows his real name, and he's always decked out in face paint flaunting the house's colors to show team pride; he's also only involved in questlines or events that deal with Quidditch, although he finally broke out to participate in a Festival event... which took place on the Quidditch pitch.

     Web Comics  

     Web Original  

  • 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.

     Western Animation  

  • 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.