The Illini columnist's 8 tips for Valentines Day success

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) gets the puck away from Montreal Canadiens center Torrey Mitchell (17) during the second period on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, at the United Center in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

By Kevin McCarthy

Valentine’s Day is the reason that completely healthy people drop dead of heart attacks at the age of 50. There’s no other reasonable explanation.

What gifts should you buy your significant other? Where should you make the reservations? The whole day is tough.

I’ve got a better alternative: watching sports. Let this column serve as an open letter to the sports fans of this great country — here are my top eight reasons why sports are better than Valentine’s day.

8. Your team won’t make you watch any movies you don’t want to.

By my estimations, there’s about a 77.2 percent chance that your significant other is going to make you watch a movie featuring Channing Tatum or Rachel McAdams.

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Bottom line: you’re just not Channing Tatum or Rachel McAdams. During your finest hour, in the right lighting, with your Sunday best on — maybe you can rise to the level of an overweight Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes. But, I doubt it. So, don’t even open up the chance for comparison.

Stick to sports. Nobody wants to watch their significant other all googly-eyed over some movie star.

7. The fights are unpredictable.

When I use the term “fight,” I don’t just mean bench-clearing brawls or two dudes dropping the gloves. I’m talking about metaphorical fights — battles on the field of all sorts.

From what I’ve seen in the movies, the woman always wins. When you screw up on the big day, and battle wages on, the man always ends up with the short end of the stick. You just hate to see it happen. It’s too predictable — where’s the fun in that?

Those poor guys in the movies need a win. In sports, the underdog actually has a chance. Cinderella stories are possible: The 15-seed can knock off Duke, the perennial powerhouse.

It’s just not the same on Valentine’s Day. When you mess up the reservation, you lose. There’s no salvaging the evening. There’s not even a chance for a 4th-quarter comeback or a two-out rally.

6. If your weekend plans with your team don’t turn out well, you can make plans with a better team.

This one’s self-explanatory. If you’re an Illini fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Your team screws up again and gets their butts kicked. No worries, there’s plenty of other good college basketball games on this weekend.

On the other hand, your gal pal or boy toy may not be as keen on this idea.

5. You’re allowed to yell at your team and nobody’s feelings will be hurt.

Your team is going to disappoint you now and then. Or, if you’re an Illini fan, maybe every single day.

It’s totally cool to take your anger out by screaming at your television. Now, I’m no love expert, but I’ve heard this technique is not as good of an idea for your ladyfriend or man candy.

4. You can love a team who doesn’t love you back and that’s OK.

I’ve loved the Chicago Bears since my childhood. I fell hard for them. It was instantly the type of love that keeps you up at night. I’ve given them my heart, my mind, my soul, and every Sunday afternoon for years and years with nothing in return.

In fact, they usually disappoint me greatly. And I’m OK with that. It’s not the same with people. They’re not as cool with you coming back, time and time again, to watch them when they’ve never even met you.

3. You can sit on the couch in your underwear, eating wings, and your team doesn’t care.

There’s no better way to watch a game. My roommates and I have made a habit of this. In fact, watching Saturday afternoon college football in anything more than your boxers is just kind of weird.

The best part is that your team will be more than okay with you lounging out in your boxers for the big game. They won’t say a peep.

You don’t want to get dressed up. Leave the collared shirt on the hanger, get rid of that cocktail dress and cancel the reservations. Strip down to your underpants and watch some sports.

2. If a player on your team isn’t doing well, your team can trade them for you.

To make this part even sweeter, you don’t even have to be the bearer of bad news. In fact, the team will take care of everything.

If that player who you used to love is dropping passes or missing free throws — don’t fret. The front office can take care of that. No tears, no fighting. They’ve got it all under control. You just keep on watching SportsCenter in your underpants. Adam Schefter will be breaking the news shortly.

Pro tip: Don’t try making a trade for your buddy’s girlfriend. It won’t go over so well. I’m not speaking from personal experience. I swear.

1. When your team has their big day, you don’t buy the ring, you don’t wear a tux, and you don’t even have to get to church on time.

This isn’t exactly related to Valentine’s Day, but you get the point. As a Cubs fan, I wouldn’t know, but I heard your team earns a ring if they win it all. This comes at no cost to you.

Rather than the tux, you’re still in your boxers — or for me, briefs — to watch the whole thing unfold.

My closing thoughts.

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that in actuality, I’m a bit of a sap — a hopeless romantic who had his man card revoked many years ago.

Here’s my real Valentine’s Day advice: When you’re done reading my column, put down this newspaper, or your phone or laptop, and do me a favor.

Call your valentine. Or, if you don’t have a valentine, call your friend, brother, mother — somebody that’s special to you — and tell them that you care about them.

Whether you’ve been married 50 years, or you just met — a little love wouldn’t hurt anybody.

Spread the love this Valentine’s day. This world needs a heck-of-a-lot more of it. Give that special someone an extra hug, or a little kiss on the cheek today.

But, once that phone call is over with, turn the TV on. The Blackhawks are on.

Kevin is a sophomore in Media.

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