Scrimmage Dating

Originally uploaded by boardhound.
Scrimmage: [`skrimij]
1. confused struggle
2. chiefly a session in which teams practice by playing a simulated game.
Verb [intrans.] engage in a simulated game
ORIGIN late Middle English: alteration of dialect scrimish, variant of the noun skirmish.

I start with a dictionary definition because I simply found it fascinating that the word has more behind it than just “practice” round. Anybody who has played a sport, specifically football, has played scrimmages. These are the games we play to get us ready for the big game, the one that counts. This game, this scrimmage, doesn’t count. When you play a scrimmage you play your heart out, for certain, to see what you are made of, but there is nothing risked, because nobody will make note of the game when the day is done. Scrimmages don’t make the record books, All they really do is make the players better; fine tune them for the game that matters.

Now, change metaphorical locations and place this word with dating.

Date (ing):
1. informal, a social or romantic appointment or engagement.
2. a person with whom one has such an engagement
3. informal, go out with {someone in whom one is romantically or sexually interested}
ORIGIN Middle English: via Old French from medieval Latin data, feminine past participle of dare ‘give’

So how do these two words come together to describe my relationships with women?

To put it bluntly, every girl I have dated since high school went on to marry the NEXT guy after me…I was their scrimmage.

I just found out the last girl I dated is hitched – we broke up in April. The one before this was engaged 2 1/2 months after we broke up and married within 8 months from said break-up. (Update 2009: Yet another ex just got engaged to the NEXT guy she dated after me :)

I have often joked (and am starting to see the joke come true) that I should advertise as a Scrimmage Dater. I could nearly guarantee that any girl that dates me for any amount of time will surely meet the guy of their dreams….after we break-up. Hell, I could add in a “window of marriage” that is sure to follow the break –up; something akin to “within a year of the end of our relationship you are sure to be married… to somebody else.”

With each relationship it has moved into the realm of scary laughable. How could it be in the span of a man’s life that something like this happens?

I am not denying the reality that anybody whom I, or you for that matter, date and break-up with won’t eventually marry someone else. BUT the NEXT person?!?! Consistently?

In high school I dated this gal that was so far out of my league I couldn’t understand why she even spent her time with me other than I was probably “dangerous’ unlike the “nice” boys she had dated before. Well, not a few months after the end of that relationship, and high school graduation, she met the guy with whom she would eventually have 2 children. I knew the guy, too. (He’d actually dated the other girl I dated in high school…right after her and I broke up. I am not kidding.)

Fast-forward to the past few years and…. Nothing much has changed.

As the definition says, a scrimmage is a “confused struggle.” Who hasn’t thought this the case of any dating relationship? It only seems that the ones that have more flow than confusion are the ones that make marriages worthwhile. But ultimately, a scrimmage is a simulation, and so scrimmage dating is a simulation of what being married could be like, I guess.

Each girl I have dated might every well agree with this description of dating me; hopefully not so much in the confused struggle part as the marriage prep part. Let’s face it, though, when I enter a relationship it is my desire that the girl knows full well her worth and value, not just to me, but to herself. I honestly enter these relationships with the hope that IF it ends they walk away more alive and whole than the alternative our world is so familiar to dishing out. Like a scrimmage, I “play” my heart out to find out what I am made of…and hope that she finds out what she is made of, too.

Yet, like a scrimmage, it seems, it doesn’t really count. I am not the real game. I am just the “game’ that gets them ready for the one that does count, the one that goes on record;
One that hopefully ends with a 1-0, undefeated run.

This was all fine and dandy when I was in my twenties, but now it just is nearly laughable if not absurd. Hear me out, I am not itchin to get hitched nor am I afraid of the hard good reality of marriage. (Ask any of my friends and they all would agree that if anybody is likely to remain single the rest of his days and be fine, it would be me.) It’s just that with that in play and the age, and let’s face it – a history as the scrimmage date/relationship – I might be better off like a modern day Jeremiah Johnson - there comes a time when you burn your house, saddle-up your horse and ride into those mountains with nothing for companionship but a Hawken .50 cal.

Ok, maybe not literally. But you get my point.

And it makes for great story either way. Maybe I’ll get around to writing a screenplay about Scrimmage Dating and it will become the “romantic comedy of the year” - Roper and Ebert.