Paying some attention is the name of the game

Michelle Poje

Three weeks ago, I settled on the couch with a bag of chips and a can of Coke and did something I have never done before. I watched an entire football game.

My friends were amazed. My parents did double takes. But the best reaction came from my boyfriend, Grant, when I called him afterwards and proceeded to discuss plays and strategies with him like a sportscasting pro.

“I’ve gotten you hooked for life,” he exclaimed. I could practically hear him beaming over the wire.

Watching a football game may not be that big of a deal for some people, but for me it was. It was the first time I was actively showing an interest in a topic my boyfriend cared about – something far too many couples fail to do in a relationship.

Case in point: I hate sports. I truly believe I am incapable of doing anything athletic. If you throw me a ball, I will not catch it. If I throw you a ball, it will most likely end up crashing through a nearby car window. In gym class, I was the kid who used to try to make people hit me during dodgeball so that I could sit out for the game.

Grant, on the other hand, loves sports. His entire house is a shrine to his favorite football teams: The University of Michigan and the Philadelphia Eagles. He has everything from an extensive collection of player bobbleheads and figurines to towels and bed sheets. In college, he majored in sports management. On the weekends, he coaches softball.

When we first started dating, I would constantly tease him about his football obsession. I would laugh at his figurines and call them “dolls.” I’d zone out while he would sit there taking about stats and scores. I would catnap through all this big football games and call the sport “snoreball.”

I realized I was being insensitive when Christmas rolled around and one of his presents to me ended up being a limited edition Gone With the Wind poster. Just as football is his obsession, Gone With the Wind is mine.

“How did you know to get this?” I asked in amazement.

He shrugged. “It’s your favorite movie,” he said. “I researched it on the Internet and tried to find something unique.”

I was suddenly hit with major guilt as I reflected back on all the times Grant had shown in interest in something I loved that he probably could have cared two toots about. And here I was, barely able to remember the name of his favorite football player.

This Valentine’s Day, and every day that follows, take the time to invest some interest in the things your partner cares about. Listen to the music he or she likes. Make him or her a favorite meal. Watch one of the movies your partner loves and ask why he or she loves it.

Last weekend, while trying to figure out something different to do, I suggested the Football Hall of Fame in our hometown Canton. We spent the entire afternoon browsing through the museum and gift shop. When I bought myself a University of Michigan shirt, Grant’s face lit up like a sunrise.

Now, that’s love.

Michelle Poje is a senior newspaper

journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]