“So what's so great about this Shaq and Kobe?”
In the spring of 2000, I tossed this question across the breakfast table at my boyfriend, who was reading the sports section of The Los Angeles Times.
And then he told me.
With animation and an eagerness to share the coolness of it all, my boyfriend Ron Corcillo (who a few years later became my husband) actually put down the paper and told me all about the physical feats and mental acuity under pressure of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant … things they could do that few other people on the planet could do. He made their basketball abilities sound out of this world.
And I was spellbound. In fact, he made it sound so gosh darn fantastic that on my own, I sat down to watch my first Lakers game on television that night. And from that evening on, I did not miss a Lakers game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hcE6H1LpaQ
Ron and I watched every Lakers game together. We'd spend hours talking about the Lakers. We bought each other Lakers tickets and Lakers clothes on holidays and went to Lakers victory parades together. But then four years after my first Lakers game, they traded Shaq in favor of giving the team over to Kobe, whom I'd come to despise for many reasons. So that was the end of my Lakers fandom. And of Ron's.
But Ron still had his New York Giants. Ron's entire family comprises die-hard fans of the legendary NFL team. I was not so interested in football. American football.
You see, the reason I had never liked watching sports before I met Ron, and indeed the reason I particularly did not like watching football, had to do with how gender-divided sports were in my house when I was growing up. My Dad and brother watched sports, especially Steelers football, and us girls were shushed and told to get out while they were watching the game. And when we had only one TV, that meant no weekend TV for me. Particularly infuriating to me was Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving. After dinner, the guys would go into the living room to watch football and the girls would … clean up!!!! What a BUM DEAL! And I would complain and argue about how unfair it was that I had to do dishes while my brother got to watch football. All to no avail. So sports-watching and football, in particular, brought up some pretty frustrating memories.
But then there was Ron. Ron who loved sports so much that he loved to share his love with me. So when I had something of a hole in my life after I no longer avidly watched the Lakers, I cautiously approached Ron one Sunday afternoon when he was screaming at the TV screen as the Giants played.
“What happened?” I asked.
“What do you think?” he snapped.(And Ron is not a snapper. At all. Seriously, I've come to learn that nothing can set off Ron or his soft-spoken father like idiotic Giants.)
I had no idea what had happened, so I sat on the couch next to Ron. And he started explaining to me what the Giants had done so badly. Again. They were always making the same mistakes – a trait that I, too, have come to “appreciate” about them. So I started watching Giants games with Ron. But American football is so dang mind-boggling! And just when I think I have the offense figured out, I have to learn everything about the defense! Sheesh. But Ron is so patient. And he is so into the logistics of what happens on the field that he does not mind at all, and in fact likes it, when we have to rewind the play so he can break it down for me. (That's, like, every play.)
So with his interactive footnotes throughout the game, watching Giants football with Ron has become one of my most absolute favorite things in the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxbz3DDQzHU
Why? Because we both love it and we do it together. He was able to share his love of watching sports with me so that I'm able to love watching them, too. And this sharing is not one way. Throughout our relationship, I have shared some of my great delights with him as well. You think Ron would look forward to new seasons of British mystery shows so much if it hadn't been for me? And I'm the one who got us both hooked on Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. And the cats …
Thanks, Rachel, for including me in these exciting Booklympics. So many of my novels and stories have a sports theme that this is for sure a love we share! And I bet we share it with your fans, too. I look forward to connecting with anyone who wants to comment and talk about great sports connections in your life!
A picture of me and my brother in high school, each of us by signs our school put in our front yard announcing that we were varsity players for Abington Heights High School. I played left link on the field hockey team. He was the kicker and punter on the football team.
Thank you so much Geralyn for sharing this lovely story of sporting love with us all.
About Geralyn Corcillo
When she was a kid in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo dreamed of one day becoming the superhero Dyna Girl. So, she did her best and grew up to rescue animals and constantly pick up litter. At home, she loves to kick back by watching black & white movies, British mysteries, and the New York Giants. Corcillo lives in a drafty old house in Hollywood with her husband TV writer Ron, a guy who's even cooler than Kip Dynamite.
Universal Amazon Author Page: http://author.to/GeralynCorcillo