17th June 2024 – (Hong Kong) “I love how into sports you are, and how loyal you are to your teams,” a woman gushed naively in the early days of the courtship. Little did they know that those very qualities would soon become a source of constant tension, as the schedules became inextricably linked to the game-day calendars of Ohio State University, the Cleveland Browns, and the Cavaliers.

Now, with professional football teams facing off on Thursdays too, it means that on any given week, six days could be completely compromised by the sports obsession. If you, too, have found yourself head-over-heels for a sports fanatic, let’s commiserate together on what life with them is really like.

First, let’s establish a key distinction: there’s a noticeable difference between a sports fan and a sports fanatic. In this case, we’re talking about the game-or-die latter variety – the type who will choose watching the big game over attending a wedding ceremony, without a second thought.

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will stop them from watching the game. One of the dearest friends is married to such a man who, when faced with the choice between his beloved football team and a wedding, opted for both. He watched the game on his smartphone from the church pew as his wife shook her head in disgust. This level of unwavering devotion is both admirable and, at times, utterly infuriating.

These men aren’t afraid to show their emotions, either. Even the toughest of guys will wail over hard-won victories and bawl like babies over crushing defeats. The tip: Whatever you do, don’t trivialize their tears. If you can cry with them – or at least commiserate the happy or sad occasion alongside them – you’ll earn major points.

The way to this man’s heart is not through his stomach, unless you’re baking wings for the big game. No, you’ll win them over with your sport-specific knowledge, willingness to don their favourite team’s jerseys, and ability to sit through a game (or let’s be honest, a dozen) without a single complaint.

When you’re not annoyed, you’ll find their passion for sports endearing. Because even if it’s interrupting the schedule, affecting the wardrobe, or caused the person to gain 10 pounds in greasy food weight, there’s something really awesome about seeing someone love anything that much. If they love you just a quarter as much as they love LeBron, you’re a lucky person!

However, the harsh reality is that dating a sports fanatic can be a losing game. Their unwavering devotion to their teams often comes at the expense of meaningful quality time, shared experiences, and emotional availability. The scales are heavily tipped in favour of sports, leaving little room for the relationship to truly thrive.

One of the most frustrating aspects is how their sports obsession can hijack your plans and schedules. Forget about spontaneous date nights or weekend getaways – everything is planned around the game calendar. Even important life events can take a backseat, as witnessed with the friend’s husband choosing to watch the game from the church pew during their wedding.

This lack of flexibility and prioritization can be incredibly isolating. You may find yourself sitting alone at home while they’re glued to the TV, or attending events alone because they refuse to miss a game. The constant rearranging of your lives to accommodate their sports schedule can take a toll on the relationship, leaving you feeling neglected and resentful.

Beyond the logistical challenges, the emotional toll can be equally draining. These men are deeply invested in the outcomes of their teams’ performances, and their moods can swing wildly based on the results. A heartbreaking loss can send them into a tailspin of depression, while a nail-biting victory can leave them euphoric for days.

As their partner, you’re often expected to be the emotional support system, comforting them through the highs and lows. But what happens when you need that same level of emotional availability and support from them? It can feel like an uphill battle, as their focus and energy is so heavily skewed towards their sports allegiances.

The challenge lies in finding a balance and ensuring that the relationship doesn’t become completely eclipsed by sports. Setting clear boundaries, communicating your needs, and finding creative compromises are essential. But even then, the underlying tension can persist, as their love for the game may simply be too ingrained and unyielding.

Relationships have been witnessed crumbling under the weight of this sports-centric dynamic. Couples who once shared deep connections and aspirations find themselves growing increasingly distant, with the sports fanatic’s priorities becoming a constant source of conflict and resentment.

It’s not to say that dating a sports fanatic is an automatic recipe for disaster. There are certainly couples who have found a way to make it work, where both partners are able to find common ground and mutual understanding. But it requires a level of compromise and sacrifice that not everyone may be willing or able to make.

For those considering entering a relationship with a die-hard sports enthusiast, the cautionary tale is clear. Be prepared to have your schedule, wardrobe, and even your emotional well-being hijacked by their uncompromising devotion to the game. Ensure that you set clear boundaries, communicate your needs, and find creative ways to balance their sports passion with the needs of the relationship.

Otherwise, you may find yourself perpetually in the shadow of their favourite team, struggling to maintain a healthy, balanced partnership. The thrill of being loved with the same fervour as their team may quickly fade, replaced by a nagging sense of neglect and resentment.

So, if you find yourself falling for a sports fanatic, tread carefully. Weigh the pros and the cons, and make sure you’re prepared to navigate the unique challenges that come with loving someone whose heart may be more invested in touchdowns than in you. The choice is yours, but the stakes are high – and the game of love may not always end in your favour.