That is my attitude, and so the big screen television resides in the lower level of our home along with the library of videos, the digital satellite dish with SelectChoice and all the amenities: huge sofas, tables for snacks, adjustable lighting, gas fireplace, ping-pong table, the teenagers' computer, etc. This media and entertainment room is one of the best investments we've made-for my peace of mind. Two floors up I do not hear the game they are boisterously cheering or booing as I luxuriate in a newly remodeled master bedroom that contains all of my dreamed-of amenities!
I never started out to be a sports mom. In fact, I studiously avoided it. And I won. Sort of. My boys love music and perform regularly in school and small a cappella groups. They play the piano, they are Eagle Scouts, they are great students . . . and they are married to lacrosse!
In fact, the older boy played in the first two high school championship games ever here in Utah (OK, the game has taken a slow route westward), and his decision about college has largely been based on which schools have lacrosse teams. The boys have recruited nearly everyone they know; our church congregation could have its own lacrosse team. And I have wondered recently why they have not ordered wallpaper borders from the catalogs with which they spend long hours considering the respective merits of various styles of lacrosse equipment.
Boys seem to know how to focus, especially when it comes to sports, although both sexes in our family have played soccer (magnet-ball or bunch-ball, we called it when they were little). The girls also are the ones who played softball, and the oldest daughter became the soccer coach, and won the region in Junior (Salt Lake) Jazz basketball. Brothers and sisters alike have played basketball in church and community leagues. Even the middle daughter, the straight-A student who earns awards in music composition, art and creative writing, the accomplished ballerina who was not allowed more aggressive sports because of asthma, is the star pitcher of her summer softball team. The girls love fishing with their dad more than the boys, but the boys love shooting targets with their dad more than the girls. The boys are crazy about skiing; the girls are not-although our five-year-old daughter is a daredevil par excellence, and the 12-year-old informs me she is soon taking up cross-country skiing.
Really, I have tried to keep sports under control, but alas! My oldest daughter met her husband when she volunteered to demonstrate the equipment the first day of her college weight lifting class (he admired her daring-do). She has now married this man who lettered in four sports and was captain of both the football and basketball teams. Does this mean I'm destined to sail into my retirement years on the bleachers cheering future grandchildren? Probably.
The moral of this story is: Sports wins. Yet I'm not altogether begrudging. I did get my wish, so far, in that I have not had to attend a plethora of games, just a reasonable amount of them.
A WAY OF LIFE
I admit, sports today is integral to nearly everyone's way of life and for good reasons:
• Sports teaches teamwork-how to get along, how to work for the success of the team. This is a lesson well-learned for later in life when the workplace makes similar demands. Knowing how to be an unselfish team player pays off as we meet life's varied experiences.
• Sports provides a much-needed release from the stresses of sedentary activities such as homework and office work, computer work and the huge amount of sitting we do in our culture. The endorphins released during a sports activity-either team or solo-provide us with a sense of well-being. Muscles require use to remain healthy and not atrophy. And because so many of us are planning to live long enough to be a burden to our children, we might as well be fit through our octogenarian years. If you are a Baby Boomer you know you must lead the way, set the example, and show them how it's supposed to be done!
• Sports demand discipline. In order to perform you must stick with it-practice, practice, practice come rain, wind, snow, sun or heat wave. This discipline is especially applicable and admirable in collegiate athletes/scholars who excel in both sports and academics. The discipline we learn in sports helps us to be better contributors and better balanced throughout our lives.
• Sports gives us a sense of tribal or communal belonging. Although Utah lost the NBA championship to the Chicago Bulls twice in a row, the Jazz brought Utahns together in a unified cause. It was good because Brigham Young University and the University of Utah are huge rivals and finally Utahns had something about which to be united. That fervor was keen, and now that the NBA is back it will likely resume. Chances are every person reading this article can recall, or is now experiencing, some charged emotion concerning a team or a sports rivalry.
• Heroes are found in the sports world more so than just about any other arena in life. Perhaps this is a sad commentary. Students often give me a surprised look when I tell them Thomas Jefferson is one of my heroes and I hope to meet him someday to thank him for all he did for this country. (He loved architecture and interior design, and the list of his contributions is impressive. Talk to me sometime, I'll tell you all about it.) But we all know of sports heroes like the recently retired Michael Jordan. And we see sports figures endorsing products, thereby increasing their wealth, which increases our admiration or at least our take-notice of them.
SPORTS AS INTERIOR DESIGN THEME
Let's take sports to a more lived-in level. Sports as an interior design theme has been a standard in many youth rooms I have helped to design or furnish. It's a safe bet in showcase homes for the boy's room or den. I always find it clever and charming when a real fishing rod and reel or an authentic oar is used as a top treatment or drapery rod.
Outdoor sports become more literal when real trophies are displayed-please, no elk heads. Photographs or the taxidermied Big Catch really make a statement when displayed atop the fishing-theme wall covering capped with the fishing-theme border near the fishing-tapestried reading chair. Even though I don't often participate in these outdoor sports, I do like these rooms immensely. They often carry off the theme better than other rooms do, and it is often a cozy, welcoming feeling.
Often boys and girls both love sports themes for their bedrooms with sports team or hero posters, pendants, logos, bedding and wall coverings, and now the offering of licensed accessories including drapery hardware that make it easier and more enjoyable to put finishing touches on the sports theme.
Even the sports bar has made its way into the home, and decorating around a specific or multi-sports theme is logical and will be appreciated by the avid sports fans who congregate in the room. Even if no actual bar exists for refreshments, this media room, family room or recreation room where the television is front and center will be the perfect place for introducing a sports theme.
Guys especially love it because it puts them in the fervor mood, and guys do so love the fervor mood. (See Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys, New York, Ballantine Books, 1995-I laughed 'til I cried.) Or, to paraphrase a great scene from the movie, Steel Magnolias (read this in your best Southern drawl), "Oh, his family is just a little bit outdoorsy." To which the response was quipped, "A little bit outdoorsy? Honey, if they cain't shoot it, catch it, or cook it, they figure they better marry it!" THE GAME RULES Some do's and don'ts in furnishing a sports theme interior are:
• Don't overdo. Try not to make it a shrine to a sport, team or player-that would not be sensible or balanced, and it almost looks like a false god. Be careful to choose, oversee or advise the parent to help expose the child to images of moral, ethical sport heroes.
• Have fun with the theme, but leave room for imagination. Don't fill every niche or corner. Leave some breathing room for displays of other interests.
• Keep the background relatively neutral. If the sports theme is outgrown or becomes tiresome, it will be good if there is something to work with other than team colors. You get the drift.
• Use basic window coverings such as alternative window treatments. Choose blinds, shades or shutters that are sturdy and no-nonsense. Then be imaginative in accessorizing and adding top treatments and wall treatments.
• Be clever. Think of new and unusual ways to reinforce the theme. Scan the options in this issue, cut out the pictures and add a new section to your client portfolio book. Send off for information and get the options into your offerings.
Sports themes are here to stay, and at any level from the nursery to the den the options are multiplying daily. Think team sports, solo sports and recreational sports. There is no finish line-the possibilities are endless. Go for the gold!
Karla J. Nielson, Allied ASID, WCAA, is assistant professor of design at Brigham Young University. She is a practicing interior designer and has authored several books including Window Treatments and Understanding Fabrics. Nielson is a regular correspondent for Draperies & Window Coverings addressing the areas of fashion, education and merchandising.