I took my ex-husband to a UCLA basketball game last weekend. I mean, we went together. But I got the floor seats and the VIP wristbands. So it felt like me taking him.
Why did I do this?
The ex loves UCLA sports. We were friends at UCLA for a year and a half before we started dating and we dated for five years before we got married. (Newsflash for those of you who don’t know: we were married nine years and got divorced a year and change ago). Anyway, I never knew him to miss a UCLA game the whole time we were students. He slept on the pavement outside Pauley Pavilion to get good seats (I joined him in this ritual once and only once), he had special t-shirts he wore for games, he won a really nice Swiss Army watch and the CD player I still possess in a “supershot” half-time competition once, he knew every player’s name and shoe size, he knew all of the student section chants…he was a HUGE UCLA fan. I wanted to give him the VIP experience of sitting first row on the floor of the new Pauley Pavilion. So that’s why I asked him to come. Yeah, we’re divorced. Yeah, it’s stressful sometimes. But he loves this and I wanted to share that with him.
I got pretty into the sports scene at UCLA, since I was dating him. I also love sports in general and live sports especially. My unbiased opinion is that UCLA is the finest University and research facility in the world and it is far superior to USC. That’s totally unbiased. But that isn’t all UCLA is know for. It has been a tremendous force in collegiate basketball, with the revered and incredibly disciplined John Wooden leading decades of incredible playing, leadership development, and a community of collegiate moral integrity and wonder–the likes of which we have never seen and may not again. I was there during some of the finest years of UCLA football and basketball, but notable athletes from UCLA years before that include: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Reggie Miller, Bill Walton, and many current NBA players including, Jordan Farmar (Jew!), Baron Davis, and Kevin Love.
Divorce, as I have discussed, bites the big one. It sucks. But we are parents together and our kids see us do things together because we are their parents. Older son noted that it was “kind of weird” for us to go out together, since he and his brother are usually with one of us when the other goes anywhere (hence “divorce”). I pointed out that mama and dada used to go to games together all the time and that this was something I could do for dada to make him happy because I got the tickets. Sigh.
What Does It Mean?
I am not the Messiah. I am not the perfect person or mother or ex-wife. I am not writing this to show you how awesome I am, or to take on those among you who will suggest I try and date my ex-husband since we seem to get along so well together and it would be better for the kids. I promise: all is as it should be in the universe. But I am glad we have gotten to the point in all of our mediation, negotiation, and psychological growth and development, that I could do this for him and he could accept it–and that most importantly we had a really good time.
We screamed and heckled (gently) at the opposing (losing) team; we cheered loud and hard for the Bruins; we did all of the chants that the student section did, right along with them. I remembered the routines of the band that I used to join in on, and I even did some dance squad moves. I marveled at the teeny tiny skirts on the cheer squad and dance squad just like I did for the 12 years I was a student at UCLA, saying over and over, “Do the skirts REALLY need to be that tight and short!?” My voice got scratchy from screaming so loud for our team, and you know what? It felt good to be there with the ex. It felt right.
In a weird way, it felt really really right. Go Bruins.