J.U.L.Y. (Just Unlimited Love, Y’all)

I love the month of July more than any other month of the year. I love it more than the month of my birth and more than the big holiday months. I love it for the fabulous Great Lakes summer weather and boating under crisp blue skies. I love it for the rewards of vacation and relaxing without guilt. I love it for the simple joys of longer days and time with my family and driving around with the top down on my convertible. But the reason I love it more than any other month is simple.

No sports on tv.

Now, I hear what you’re saying. What about baseball and tennis and soccer and golf? Yes, all of those sports are actively on the tv during July. They just aren’t on my tv. To understand what I’m saying, you have to go back in time. Take a journey with me to my early years.

Growing up my house was — at best — ambivalent to sports. We didn’t watch them on tv and we didn’t throw balls around in the backyard. I ran track, but that was it. Occasionally my dad would flip past a Tiger’s game or college football, but he was equally content to listen on the radio or check a box score the next day. I only remember two times when we went to a venue to watch a sports event in person; sports never caused plans to be broken or got in the way of any other activity.

When I met my husband, it was a shock to my system. The first fall that we were dating, I was surprised that it was against protocol to do anything but watch college football on Saturday. We might miss “no meaning” games, but not his team. For his team, we watched and I learned to hope they would win. In later years when his team played against my team I started a tradition of having something to do for three hours and checking the score before I returned. I learned there were similar restrictions on NFL weekends and certainly for bowl games.

I adjusted, mentally noting that 20 weeks a year were out of bounds.

Then, at some point in our early married years I started to notice that NHL hockey was on tv more and more. An occasional game stretched to whenever something better wasn’t on (and if you ask him, there is never anything better on than hockey). Eventually it got to every regular season game of his team, 80 games or 3-4 per week from September to April. The playoffs stretch into June. Together, football and hockey occupy my life from August through June.

Which leaves us with July.

Sure there are other sports, but they don’t matter. I’ve never been asked why someone chose to get married on a day when a major golf tournament is scheduled. I’ve never had to take an alternative date to a concert because it was the Wimbleton finals. I’ve never been asked to check the score of one baseball game while watching another one in person. Only football and hockey require careful navigation.

But there’s no navigating in July.

There are only a couple more days in July. I’ve seen mentions of preseason football and the rookies are hanging out in hockey camps trying to get slots. Summer isn’t quite over, but my summer is almost done. It’s time to turn off my cooking shows, download the 2016-17 schedules and get ready for the daily check of scores. My month of relief is coming to an end.

And that will make it all the sweeter next year.

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