Love and Sports: A No-Win Combination?

Sure, that tennis match you've got planned with your man seems innocent enough. But what's going on inside his mind? In Dean Chandler's experience, a little friendly competition between lovers can translate into a no-win situation ‑- both on and off the court.

Relationships are the ultimate experiment in teamwork. Ideally, a loving relationship is a lifetime contract filled with championship seasons and jewelry that screams happiness. But even the best teams struggle to find harmony ‑- think Shaq and Kobe, George Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson, Steinbrenner and Billy Martin (who was hired and fired five times), Steinbrenner and Joe Torre. Now think about "us."

Every team ‑- good or bad ‑- gets an off-season, a few months to heal, reflect on wins losses, make adjustments. For professional athletes that means stepping away from the arenas, toward big-game fishing, rounds of golf, high-priced hookers, and maybe a trial.

For those of us who slog through work, bills and household chores together, it's the opposite: Sport is our refuge. It's a chance to get away from our co-captain and become one with our base, instinctual, competitive selves.

For centuries, sport was the all-male Utopia, a gridiron Garden of Eden, a hardwood haven. But today, the Sportress of Solitude is a coed locker room. Does this mean that sports should be shared within a loving relationship? Sure. Does it mean that sports should be played between parties in a loving relationship? Hell no.

When the buzzer goes off, your place in the pecking order is revealed. Why create a dynamic of inferiority and superiority in a relationship that already has so many blind corners and pitfalls?

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