I haven't missed watching a single Miami Dolphins game in 10 years.
At least 10 years, actually.
I never really kept track. It started in high school, when I would drive 30 minutes to a sports bar because my little farm town doesn't have sports bars with satellite dishes and 20 beers on tap. The only choice you make in my town is Skynyrd or AC/DC.
So it started in high school. I would drive to that sports bar every weekend, by myself, to watch the game. Sitting in a sports bar as a 16 yr old drinking cokes for four hours gets lonely, so I would make friends with the groups of people there watching the Steelers or the Bengals. Sometimes I would make enemies with the people there to watch the Bills or the Patriots.
But I was always there.
This extended into college, when I would bribe my friends with chicken wings and free beer to come sit at the bar with me every week.
And when I moved to Cleveland and knew only one person in the entire city? I was going to the seediest, scariest sports bars in town trying to find one that would give me some black and white TV in the back during the Browns game.
Even after my wedding day, I made my wife promise we would be back at our house in time to watch the game (I splurged for satellite at the house). We opened our wedding gifts with both of our parents there - and me watching the game.
Over the years, I've met some characters. One guy told me about how he played against NBA star Charles Oakley in high school, and that his high school GPA was a 3.1. Then he told me how much coke he did that morning.
Another time I ate one of the best hamburgers I've ever eaten. I looked up to see the cook come out of the kitchen, his mouth covered in ranch. He sneezed into his hand, used it to wipe his mouth, and then wiped the whole mess onto his pants. I never went back to that place.
I've been through hell and back to watch that team. And watching that team is hell on earf to begin with.
But I've never missed a game.
Until this Sunday.
This Sunday is the one year anniversary of my wedding. And if marriage has taught me anything, it is how to value my true priorities in life.
And my true priorities are not having to sleep on the couch Sunday night.