The evening got off to a pleasant enough start, even though my husband Michael and I were watching TV in separate rooms.
I was in the bedroom, glued to the Australian Open final between Federer and Nadal. I was rooting for Federer, so I was sorry to see him lose in five sets. I was even sorrier when, during the presentation of the trophies, he broke down at the mic and couldn’t stop crying.
Talk about the agony of defeat.
“You should have seen Federer,” I said as I walked into the living room, where Michael was glued to the Super Bowl post-game show. “He -”
I was about to describe Roger’s crying jag when I noticed that one of the Steelers, Hines Ward, was crying about beating the Cardinals.
Talk about the thrill of victory.
Over dinner we discussed whether crying in sports was becoming more prevalent.
“I don’t think so,” he said.
“I do,” I said and launched into a list of prominent criers.
“And remember when Edwar Ramirez had that meltdown after he got shelled?” I pretended to sob. “The Yankees practically had to MedEvac him out of there.”
“I don’t see the big deal. These guys are human beings, not robots. Human beings cry. Men cry. It doesn’t make us weak.”
“Who said it makes you weak?” Yikes. He was being awfully crabby, so I did my imitation of Mike Schmidt choking up at his retirement speech, hoping to coax a smile out of him.
“You’re making fun of him,” said Michael.
“I am not. I love Mike Schmidt. I had a crush on him before I even met you.”
“You had a crush on everybody before you met me.”
“Oh, really?” So he was, what, jealous? “You had a crush on Michelle Pfeiffer before you met me and I’m not getting all wigged out about it.”
“I’m not wigged out.” He took a gigantic bite of his burger and then started talking with his mouth full.
“I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”
“It was nothing.”
“I hate when men say ‘nothing.’”
“You hate when men cry too.”
“I do not! It makes me sad when anybody cries. In fact, the second I see somebody tearing up I get -”
At that moment I flashed back to Game 4 of the 2007 ALDS against Cleveland, when the Yankees lost the series and were ushered out of the post-season; I had a meltdown of my own in the Upper Tier.
I put down my fork, my appetite gone, and succumbed to this. Losing never gets easier.