It's an exciting time of year if you're a sports fan.
The Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing, as is the NFL season. The NHL is just getting started and the NBA campaign will soon be under way.
Add college football's schedule reaching the half-way point and there's a lot to follow.
In my household, it also brings a lot of tension. Moods can change in an instant depending on how our favorite teams do.
For instance, my son Connor came home after watching the Tigers' 6-5 collapse in Boston on TV at a friend's house last Sunday and he was fuming.
"Horrible, just horrible," he said. "How could they lose that game? How? They had a 5-0 lead."
I tried to quiet him down, as The Lovely Linda Lou had gone to bed. I didn't want her to wake up to another discourse on the latest sports news. She has suffered enough already.
Connor analyzed - and complained about - the Tigers' loss for a few more minutes before stomping off.
After the Tigers lost 1-0 Tuesday, my older son, Clint, shook his head and said, "They just can't hit. They have nobody who can hit.
"(Miguel) Cabrera and (Prince) Fielder striking out in the eighth with men on base? That's terrible."
He then walked away in disgust before I could say much.
My sons and I do this a lot. We talk about our favorite teams, good OR bad. Sometimes, I think it's the only way we communicate.
The Lovely Linda Lou feigns interest in what we have to say, but I suspect she has learned to tune us out after all these years. Did I say she's a smart woman?
The two boys took the boat out last Sunday to go fishing. Upon their return, the first thing - the first thing - Clint said to me was "How did the Lions do?"
It caught me by surprise. Not "hi." Or "We caught some fish." But "How did the Lions do?"
Responses to questions such as these usually go a long way in how good the atmosphere will be in our house. A positive response brings peace and attitudes to match; a negative response and you can cut the ensuing tension with a knife.
I like the fact I can always talk to my sons about sports, though, even when communications in daily life are strained.
I know when things aren't going well, I can open up a conversation about the Red Wings and they'll more than issue a grunt in response.
To me, that's priceless.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.