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by Abigail Van Buren

Family Flees in Face of Man's Angry Obsession With Sports

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for many years to a man who is a good husband and father in many respects. However, he is obsessed with professional sports, especially football. It is affecting our home and social life.

Over the years, "Louie" has punched holes in walls and broken the bones in his hands because he became so angry when his favorite team lost. He also has strong hatred toward rival teams. His arguments with people with opposing opinions have cost him friendships.

His behavior is so annoying and embarrassing the kids and I don't want to be around him on Sundays during games. What's worse is that some of Louie's friends are amused by his tantrums and egg him on, making him even angrier. Fortunately, he never hits anyone.

I don't want a divorce, but I don't want to be around Louie, either. Louie's "problem" makes him unpleasant to be around. When I visit friends and family without him, they wonder if we're separated. If he could shrug off people's comments and realize the outcome of a game shouldn't affect him, we could be happier. What should I do? -- BAD SPORT IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR BAD SPORT: It's time you, your children and anyone else who cares at all about your husband stage an intervention and point out to Louie that there are more important things in life than his favorite football team. Chief among them is learning impulse control so he doesn't do further harm to his body and his relationships. It's one thing to feel passion for a sport, but he is creating a situation where he doesn't enjoy it.

What you have described is not normal, or healthy. He has crossed the line and is risking harm to his family, his relationships and his reputation. This is beyond "kooky" -- it's a little bit sick, and the person who needs to step in is you.