I loved Amy’s rules for dating a pro-athlete. I thought I’d follow up with some advice of my own. I’ve dated two guys who’s lives revolved around playing sports as much as watching them. One guy played adult league hockey the other was a semi-pro fisherman for Bass Masters. I just want to reinforce a bit of what Amy had to say about dating an athlete.
The first guy played adult league hockey, which really isn’t much, but it is still a time commitment. The last thing I wanted to do on a Wednesday sometimes was to sit at the Icoplex at South Pointe for a double header two nights in a row (games beginning at 9 or even 10) after I worked all day and knowing that I had to be up at 6am the next day. I had to make the effort to do this at least once or twice a week or it seemed like I wasn’t supportive or didn’t care.
As much as I loved watching him play, sometimes 1am at the Icoplex (which is FREEZING) is a bit much. But it was something that had to be done. It was a sacrifice I had to make because he wanted me there and as much as I could, I wanted to be there.
The next guy that I dated was a fisherman. I know. You’re thinking “Oh wow! Fishing!” *Eye roll*
Fishing was travel, travel, travel. When his schedule for the season (which went from about April-November) was released in January, he would sit down with his employer to schedule his time off for his tournaments. Tournaments were mostly weekends and long weekends, but there were a few that could take anywhere from a week to two weeks. You can imagine how many vacation days this left for the two of us to spend together.
He was the best man in a wedding in June and I was his plus one. But later in the fall when my cousin got married, it was just by chance that he was able to go with me. He didn’t have a tournament that weekend. But the previous and following weekends, he did.
With him being away on weekends and my being busy during the week with work and my son, spending time together took work and compromise. It was mostly just having dinner together. There were never over night stays. I had asked about going to a tournament, but he said there was no sense since there wasn’t anything for me to watch since he’d be out on a lake all day.
Communication while he was away was minimal. After cooking in the sun out on a lake all day, our conversation after was usually brief. Me just finding out how he did and him getting food and then going to sleep. Sometimes there was zero communication. A lot of times the guys in the tournaments were camping out, so no electricity for him to keep his phone charged except for in his truck. Many places he traveled to were virtual dead zones.
But I never complained. I had enough going on in my own life that I could deal with his travel on weekends. A few times it kind of got to me because there were things going on in my life that I wanted him there for but he just couldn’t be. But I couldn’t ask him to skip a tournament. He wanted to go fully pro and in order to do that he had to compete and compete often. Fishermen need sponsors. He had to be seen and be seen winning to get a sponsor.
Preparation for his trips were more than I expected as well. It wasn’t like packing for vacation or a long weekend away. It was prep of all equipment. Checking all of his tackle boxes for the right supplies. It was researching the lakes and ponds and rivers because believe it or not, he had to understand the biology of all of the places he was going. He needed to know water temperatures, breeding and eating habits of the various species of fish, lake depths and a plethora of other information that I couldn’t even imagine. There is actual strategy in fishing. And here I thought fishing was all luck!
The best I could do was to sit and watch a movie on the couch while he sat on the floor messing with fishing line.
Dating any type of athlete is not all glamour. I’m sure at some levels it has perks, but it is a lot of commitment and even more waiting around. The best advice I can offer to any woman in these situations is to be patient and ensure that there are things in your life that fulfill you and give you pleasure (friends, interests, etc). It is always important to have interests separate from your significant other, but when he is traveling a lot, it becomes an even greater necessity.
Enjoy each moment you do have together. They are more special than you can realize.