Why Bother to Recant?
I grew up watching the Ed Sullivan show on Sunday nights in the living room with my family. The June Taylor Dancers amazed me and when the Beatles made their debut, my dad commented on the length of their long hair.
But something we never watched was sports. I didn’t know football, baseball, golf, basketball, or boxing were televised events until I married my husband.
At first, we did not own a television or any other electrical appliance. We’d built a little house in the woods, gradually adding modern conveniences; a phone, plumbing and electricity. Then we bought a used T.V. and VCR to watch movies.
In the course of time though, we moved to a house in town and suddenly, the television took center stage in our living room. Who knew the difference between the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAAF, MMA, NCAA and boxing? Who followed the World Series? Who cared? My husband.
On Sunday afternoons and weekday evenings, his attention appeared to be riveted to a boxing ring, football stadium or basketball court. I began to feel excluded and miffed.
I tried to take interest and watched the Super Bowl. I tried to converse about the playoffs. But overall, I lacked any connection to it. I couldn’t see the point or understand the rules.
Watching sports, I surmised, was a distraction and unhealthy pastime for our young family. It took away from evenings of reading, or after dinner walks and talks. I stated my case to my husband, but he did not see things my way. My mood went from bad to worse.
It would take a drastic measure for me to get my point across to him, I thought one evening walking by myself through our neighborhood while noticing the blue glow of the television through the windows of other houses. Simply unplugging the damn thing would do nothing. Smashing it with a hammer would make a mess. The next morning, it dawned on me, I’ll remove it.
While my young sons slumbered in their beds and my husband drove to work, I called a friend who owned a large Quonset hut and asked if I could store our television there for a while.
Exhilarated with my great idea, I unplugged the box and carried it out to my car. Luckily, it fit in the trunk. Not until leaving it at my friend’s and driving back home did I consider my actions. Was this too radical of a move? My sons thought so.
When I got home and served them breakfast, they talked about the empty space in the living room.
“Won’t Dad get mad?” Asked the youngest.
“How will we watch the World Series?” The oldest asked.
“I don’t think Dad will be very happy about this,” commented the middle son.
All three were right. The first night without the television, the tense atmosphere around the dinner table made swallowing the meatloaf and mashed potatoes difficult and as if someone had pressed the mute button, no one said a word.
A few days passed before a conversation took place between my husband and me.
“I was wrong,” I admitted.
“I get your point,” he acknowledged.
“It was petty of me.”
“Following sports is just one of the things I like to do.”
“I see that now.”
Why bother to recant? It may be worth it. It could open a channel for change.