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Third and long: Living life as a ‘football widow’

And hubby’s still a Packers fan, to boot!

Earlene Campbell
Earlene Campbell

If you have something to say to your football lover, you’d best say it in August.

Before marriage, I had never heard of such a thing as a “football widow.” Little did I know I was about to become one.

Jerry and I married in May, followed by four full months of togetherness. Then the games started. I knew he liked the game, but holy cow! Back then, games were pretty much limited to weekends and Monday Night Football. I soon discovered if I wanted to talk to my man on weekends, Monday nights, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, I’d best get it said before noon.

During our early marriage era, on occasion, we would join other couples in the bleachers where I found I was usually cheering for one of the players running down the field, only to discover he wasn’t the one with the ball. It was a much more exciting atmosphere than watching games on the tube, but much more relaxing and accurate letting the cameramen follow the ball. It amazes me how they can find the right player while looking through a camera lens.

At first, Jerry gave me football lessons at home by explaining the plays, penalties, etc., as they happened on TV. What a pest I was! The extent of my knowledge was if a player ran the ball over the end-line, it was a touchdown. Eventually I got the gist of the game.

Can anyone explain to me how it takes 30 minutes to play the last five minutes of a game? When I didn’t care who won, I rather looked forward to reading and relaxing in another room on Monday nights.

Then the Monday night games stretched out like the last five minutes of a game. Today there isn’t a fall or winter night you can’t find a game or two to watch, resulting in flip-flopping channels.

“Jerry, who’s playing and who are we rooting for?”

Answer: “Oh, I don’t know. Doesn’t much matter.”

For the life of me, I can’t figure out the thrill of watching a game without cheering for your favorite. We now have two televisions. One of us goes to the spare room to watch our program and/or game (just which one depends on my mood).

Five years after our marriage, the football gods created “Super Bowl,” the end-all game of the year. From game one of the season, everything points to the first Sunday of February. But, we mustn’t neglect any of the other 39 “bowls” (number verified by Jerry).

Then comes the announcement that football is over until the next season. But my hope of spending more quality time with my husband is quickly dashed by all the after-the-season games.

The man lived only the first 20 years of his life in Wisconsin. The next 64, he made his living, raised his family, and retired in Illinois. But where’s his loyalty when it’s the Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears? Yup, you guessed it — he’s a Cheesehead through and through! I’m told it’s a natural man-thing.

Jerry’s addiction has rubbed off a tiny bit, but usually I only watch important Packer or Badger games (hoping they will win and make my man happy). If they are behind in the first quarter, causing him to throw in the towel, it is my job to remind him Wisconsin has three-quarters of the game left to make up the touchdown they are behind.

On a good weekend, between football games we catch the Wisconsin Badgers playing basketball. From my high school days forward, I have always liked basketball. It’s a much faster game, and easier to understand and follow — not to mention, you can sit inside where it’s warm instead of on cold, hard steel, outside bleachers freezing your butt off.

Blessings: 1) Jerry’s football hobby allows me time to pursue mine. 2) I have never had to chase Jerry down at bars — he’ll be sitting in his recliner with his busy little trigger-finger on the television remote buttons.

I am so looking forward to spring! Don’t forget to F-R-O-G.

Note to readers: Earlene Campbell lives by the FROG motto — Fully Rely On God. She lives in Princeton and can be reached at

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