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Who's your wife, mistress and friends in sports?

Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2013, at 3:42 PM

Before I begin this let me just say that I am a sports fan, always have been, always will be. And further, I enjoy thoroughly all of the sports and young people that my job requires me to cover. Make no bones about that.

But on a personal level I got to thinking the other day about my sports preferences and how they would relate to a relationship.

While that may sound silly, just think about it as you read this column and decide for yourself if I am silly and maybe even more importantly -- how silly are you?

As far as my personal preferences and how they would be defined in terms of a relationship could be based on how I feel about each sport that I follow personally beyond the scope of my work.

Anyone that knows me realizes almost immediately that I am a baseball junkie. Just looking at my car you can tell that, whether it's from the soon-to-be placed White Sox World Series Championship license plate on the front -- which was so graciously gifted to me by my friend and boss B.J. Hargis -- to the Chicago White Sox logo seat covers given me by my daughter and son-in-law this past Christmas along with the iPad cover with a White Sox logo, White Sox earbuds and White Sox throw blanket, you get the idea.

So as far as my sporting preferences go I guess you would call baseball my wife. No doubt about it, just ask my real wife Donna, she can vouch for this in no uncertain terms.

For me baseball is a longtime, comfortable relationship that has only seen the bond between myself and the game grow stronger over the years.

I have been lucky to have seen both in person and on television some of the best players to ever don the uniforms and take to the field.

But there's a dirty little secret that I have when it comes to sports -- one that many of you probably have as well but don't want to admit.

I have a mistress when it comes to sports, yes hockey is my mistress. It's the sport that I watch all winter -- when they actually play -- and sneak into the room when the baseball season is just heating up.

Yes, like a sultry vixen that steals time away from my wife (baseball) hockey has its way with me when its around.

There's the distinct flavor of a hockey game.

Whether your favorite team will -- just for the record the St. Louis Blues -- kill off the penalty or score on a power play or finally bring home the elusive Stanley Cup.

It's a sport of speed, grace, beauty and brutality all at the same time. Something like a mistress one meets on the dark side of town in a dimly lit room where you share a secret passion.

While watching baseball is the first priority of my sports life, when the Stanley Cup Playoffs are around I often sneak away from the early pennant races to indulge myself in a little roughing and boarding as well as cheering openly for the Blues while the White Sox peer jealously around the corner waiting for me to return home for a quiet evening together.

But wait, I also have some very close friends that take up my time as well.

First there's the international sport of soccer, which I consider to be a fine friend that has helped me through the NHL lockout and has helped bridge the gap until it finally begins in a few days.

I know, I know not many of you would even consider soccer an acquaintance but that's all right, it's still my friend.

Soccer has been a stalwart of grace and finesse combed with excitement and exuberance from her native fans and just a little of that has rubbed off on the old fat sports writer.

Much like sharing a drink of international flavor while enjoying the view of "the beautiful game."

Soccer is a longtime friend, we've known each other since my days in the Army when I caught a match or two in the German Bundesliga at Nuremberg.

For those of you not familiar with it, the Bundesliga is one of the best leagues in the world and full of top-notch, international players.

So soccer is like that intriguing friend that travels the world for a living and stops by from time to time to say hello and grab you for an adventure together.

Whether it's the World Cup Tournament every so often, or the Olympics or just a good English Premier League match that you attend together, soccer is that elusive and elite friend that many of us have.

Another good friend in sports is college football. And I'm sure many of you share this friendship with me.

College football gives me a chance to see the youth of the world take their next step into sport, it allows them to grow to the next level.

As for me personally, college football is like the next door neighbor you talk to over the fence and keep up to date on what's happening in the neighborhood.

You have it over for a cookout on Saturday, share a few laughs and really enjoy the company. Then as the season grows past the regular season, you get to share the excitement of watching that friend give you a gift or two.

Some of them might be duds along the way, but there are some fine gifts it also throws your way. While this year's grand finale gift was a dud, next time around it might be pretty awesome, you never know.

So there you have it, a confession of sorts. One that if most of you admitted, you'd have some secret mistress that takes you away and those special friends that you share a common interest with.

Don't be ashamed of what you like in sports. Simply enjoy what you like and let the other guy enjoy his relationships as well.

Rick Curl is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487, ext. 20. He can also be reached by email at rcurl@gcdailyworld.com.

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