I knew it going in.
And I knew what a big deal it was. Marriages have broken up over less. But Shea is such a good man.
So I did what women do: I told myself he would change. For me. Or when the kids came. And if he didn’t, I resolved to stick it out no matter what. I put on a brave face for my concerned family and friends.
When my hair dresser took me by the hands and said “Jen, you cannot yoke with a non-believer” I laughed it off.
“Darlene. It’s not like he doesn’t believe in God. He’s just an Angels fan. We’ll make it work.”
I come from a family that bleeds Dodger Blue, so far back that my grandparents watched them play in the Coliseum when they first came to LA from Brooklyn. All through my twenties, I was the queen of the last minute $8 ticket.
I know how to get out of Chavez Ravine ten different ways. Only real Dodger fans will understand the value of that. They also know that we don’t need no stinking tail-gating, not when there’s Dodger dogs and cold beer walking up and down the aisles. Plus, there’s nothing like a late September sunset over the hills of Griffith Park.
And Vin. Let’s don’t forget about Vin.
Shea became an Angels fan during his college years. He and his two best men were season ticket holders. They have tail-gating under the A down to a science. He was at that World Series game in 2002—you know the one, Game Six when the Angels were trailing 5-0 to the Giants going into the 7th inning. They rallied to win, forcing a Game 7. Which they won.
I don’t mind telling that story since, it’s about the Giants. I’m sad to say that we have Giants fans in the family. Every family has a burden to carry and this is ours. We married into them, but still. Shameful.
Before I would agree to Shea’s proposal, I protected myself. Our pre-nuptial agreement concerned one issue—team loyalty. We agreed that our male children could be Angels fans and the females would wear Dodger Blue. That technically puts me up 5-2, if we count the four-legged females (and we do).
After a few years, we amended the agreement to include the rule that there could be no quoting of statistics over breakfast. No late night discussions on the strength of the NL West vs the AL West. No usurping of football games for baseball games unless it was a playoff situation. We do not rush home from anywhere for a baseball game and HGTV trumps baseball every time.
If either team ever made the World Series again, we would go.
If both teams made the World Series at the same time, we would legally separate for the duration of the Series and only reunite after a renegotiation of the terms of the agreement.
Every year at this time, we revisit the rules of our mixed marriage. Because almost every year, both teams hover on the edge of the playoff picture, forcing us to consider our options.
We also have a football conflict. I am a NY Jets fan. Shea is a Buffalo Bills fan. These teams play in the Same. Dang. Division. So two Sundays a year, we invoke the pre-nup for football.
This is a less stressful situation because neither of our teams have been any good for a long time.
I am sharing our story so that others know it can be done. Marriages can survive rivalries. Children of these marriages can grow up to be normal, functioning sports fans. It is even possible to sit in a rival team’s stadium and enjoy a game for the sake of your spouse. I always wear my Dodger Blue when I go to Angels stadium.
Once, a guy bought Shea beer out of sympathy.
Sometimes, you have to take one for the team.