The Lost Weekend

By Susan Phillips

Before anybody gets the wrong idea, let me say how much I love going to IndyCar races and especially Indy. I wanted to get that out there before I went off about the weekend I lost.

One of the biggest challenges of being married to George is his love of sports. While he says that IndyCar is his favorite sport, it would be hard to tell that football is in second place. This May will be our seventh wedding anniversary, but we dated many years before we married. Every September, it’s always a rude awakening how devoted he is to football. I always forget.

When football season starts, he will watch whatever game is on, from Thursday night through Monday night. It doesn’t matter who is playing. The worst is on Friday nights when two teams you’ve barely heard of play on ESPN. If I complain enough, he’ll turn those off. Otherwise, its hard to pry him away, especially if the SEC is playing.

I understand why he so closely follows IndyCar, with his blog. He followed it just as closely before he blogged. But I think if he wanted to, he could start his own football blog. He’s that into it.

For years, George would moan about the fact that the most boring weekend of the year was the week before the Super Bowl. Other than college basketball, there were no sports to watch. Since he is normally a very casual college basketball fan, that was the one weekend of the year that I could count on when he was mine.

If I wanted to go to a movie, he would go. If I wanted to go shopping at the mall, he would go. If I wanted to watch my movies at home, he would do it. Whatever I wanted to do, he agreed to it. I always looked forward to that weekend, because I knew there were no sports I had to compete with.

George is a planner. I’m not. He subconsciously plans out everything and only occasionally shares the plan with me. He does not like to deviate from the plan in his head. On the other hand, I like to rely on spontaneity and just see where things go. He hates that. If it’s not on the schedule inside his head, he doesn’t like doing it. That’s why I always liked that weekend, because he would just go with whatever popped into my head.

About ten years ago, it all changed. The Super Bowl got moved into February and the 24-hour race at Daytona got moved into that weekend before the Super Bowl. My favorite weekend was lost. Now instead of resigning himself to do whatever I want to do, he now sits in front of the television to watch a race that bores me to death. He doesn’t stay awake the whole time, but he spends all of his waking hours watching a 24-hour race!

It’s not like he follows that series. He just knows the names of some of the drivers because they are either in IndyCar now or they once were. I have tried to watch that race and would rather watch grass grow. I cannot think of a more boring way to spend a weekend. How can anyone get into it? The drivers you know are in and out of the car, so the car you are following has someone you’ve never heard of driving it. And the whole class thing just seems stupid to me. How do you race against someone on the track that you’re not really racing against? That race a couple of weeks ago had four cars declared as winners. It sounds like everybody gets a trophy.

I usually read about three-fourths of his articles, sometimes a day or two late. I couldn’t believe when he wrote an entire article about that race for the next day. And when he said I didn’t like it, he was right!

I know I should remember, but I keep forgetting that race is now during that weekend I used to look forward to. When he flipped over to it after the Tennessee basketball game and announced we were watching that for the rest of the weekend, I was beside myself.

Speaking of Tennessee basketball, it has now started to become a priority. Since we’ve been married, Tennessee basketball has not gotten a lot of attention in our house. I know my fall Saturdays will always revolve around the Tennessee football game, but basketball never seemed that important in our household. But now that Tennessee has been ranked #1 for the past few weeks, we suddenly devote time to watching them twice a week. Last week, he even missed listening to “Trackside” because it conflicted with the UT basketball game.

I always looked forward to this gloomy time of year. Even though the weather is bad, I always had my husband between the Super Bowl and the start of the IndyCar season. And one of the best things about the IndyCar season is that it doesn’t take up every weekend. But we watched UT play Saturday night, the Super Bowl Sunday night, and as I am finishing up typing this on Tuesday night, he is watching UT play Missouri in basketball. I guess my non-sports wintertime just won’t happen this year.

Most guys reading this will wonder what my problem is. Most women can probably relate. But the odd thing is that this extra dose of sports makes me really look forward to the start of the IndyCar season. That is the one sport I can get into and the one thing that we both share, even though it’s for different reasons.

George loves it because, well…he loves it. I have grown to love it in the time we’ve been together. I really enjoy going to the tracks and the people that we’ve met and gotten to know really well. While George has gotten to know some of the drivers while he’s been blogging, I’ve gotten to know some of the driver’s wives and girlfriends. There are a couple of wives that I can talk to that their driver-husbands won’t give George the time of day. He won’t let me divulge who they are, but I think it’s funny.

But the main reason I enjoy it is even though I don’t have near the history with the sport that George does, it’s a sport that I get. I get the thrill of the speed and the smell and sounds at the track. But what’s most important to me is that it’s one thing we share.

It’s gotten to where I look forward to the month of May just as much as he does. The Indy 500 is probably the biggest thing on my calendar too. It helps that I also share it with my oldest son, Eric. George got Eric excited about IndyCar over fifteen years ago. He’s an adult now and living on his own, and we don’t see each other that often. But he has gone to every Indy with us since 2004 and still follows IndyCar closely.

Our trips to Road America have provided some of our best memories since we’ve been together, and we are already planning to go again this year. We are hoping to go to St. Pete next month for the first time, along with several other races. It used to be that it irked me that all of our trips revolved around a race. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to spend a week at the beach or on a cruise, but I’ve really grown fond of our racing trips.

I’ll leave you with this. If you’re a guy, please understand that we understand you following your team and being a fan. In turn, we’ll try and make concessions for you to watch other games that don’t seem to make sense why you would want to watch. Involve us in your love of racing (if we want to be included). But by no means does that ever mean to involve us in watching a 24-hour race. That should never be on the table.

14 Responses to “The Lost Weekend”

  1. BrandonWright77 Says:

    I don’t wonder what your problem is Susan, it should be 50/50 (or close to it). I don’t get college sports at all, for a number of reasons. And I dislike the “my team is better than your sucky team” mentality of most stick and ball sports fans, so other than the Colts I pretty much stick to motorsports. I hope that George will get off his recliner and take you to a movie soon. 🙂

  2. The position is reversed over here in the UK for me! My dear lady wife will watch 3 rugby matches back to back. Rugby is the dominant sport in the house but IndyCar/F1/NHRA comes a close second.

    My big concern at the moment is that we are 32 days from the IndyCar kick off and still no announcement about TV coverage in the UK. Surely SOMEONE must know what is going down?? Sigh…

    • Bruce Waine Says:

      Trevor – Suggest that you send Robin Miller an email

      Imagine that Robin might have what you are looking for.

      I have found Robin to be ‘old school’ from the ‘please and thank you era’ in that he always extends the courtesy of a reply to people who take the time to write emails to him.

    • BrandonWright77 Says:

      Pretty sure that’s currently being worked on. IndyCar created a new in-house group to handle the international distribution and I believe they’re still finalizing up all the contracts for different parts of the world. I’m sure it will be settled by the time the season starts.

  3. Paul Fitzgerald Says:

    George…you have a great wife, back off a bit during football season and give her some time. I did that and my marriage is much better and both of us are much happier.

  4. I too have never understood the 24 hour races. Especially these days when engines are so much more reliable.

    I used to be that crazy about MLB and the NFL but I’ve soured on both for various reasons. I still love the sports themselves, including the history, just not the current incarnation of the sports. Even when I lost interest, I still followed the games a little because I was in fantasy baseball and football. If George is in fantasy leagues, curing his addiction might start with retiring from fantasy sports. In 2018 I quit both and hardly watched a game. I was a Bengal season ticket holder for 20 years, but quit about 15 years ago. I love having my Sundays back. Now even from fantasy football.

    You’ll have to live with the college basketball for a while. Sounds like March Madness will be crazy at your house this year!

    • I don’t do any fantasy sports, nor do I gamble. I just like following the games. I used to be a big baseball fan also, but when they lost the World Series in ‘94, they lost me. I didn’t intentionally boycott; but when they finally came back, I found I had lost interest completely and I never got it back. Now I am just a very casual baseball fan – GP

  5. well, my wife doesn’t know the Rams from the Patriots, but
    she won all the money at her office in the Super Bowl Pool.
    she got the score by quarters, cumulative, and high/low.
    maybe betting when you don’t care might be lucky for
    you, too.

  6. George really should have given you a replacement weekend to “plan spontaneously”, back when the change in schedule occurred. I guess it’s not too late for that yet.

  7. Perhaps a date night once a month?

  8. billytheskink Says:

    Racing season turns into football season turns into basketball season turns into racing season. What a time to be alive.

  9. I hog the TV for IndyCar and I live in a F1 house. We do watch football, but have been cheering for KC instead of our 2 local teams. We love hockey, but I am trying to let my partner have the remote more often. Scott (in the posting above) is right about date night. Now that we are both retired we have week night options.

  10. Randy Holbrook Says:

    Sorry Susan but I love the Rolex 24 and all of the IMSA races. I watch every hour, it usually takes me several days but I love it!

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