Here’s an example of an exchange that happens all too often between male and female fans who happen to root for the New York Yankees:
Guy: “Oh so you’re a Yankee fan?”
Guy: “Your favorite player is Derek Jeter, right?”
Gal: “No. Why?”
Guy: “Well, girls usually think he’s cute.”
Gal: “And you probably think he’s the best shortstop in baseball when he’s actually pretty overrated.”
Okay, fine, that happens when I’m at Yankee Stadium. But the point remains, I am a fan of baseball because I love to watch the game.
And I know this is going to be shocking for some people out there but there are a lot of women who actually like the game of baseball – and the other major sports for that matter.
Some of us like stats – In fact, some of the smartest sports fans I know have a vagina and breasts.
Some of us love going to games and keeping score.
Some of us travel the country to see our favorite team play and DO NOT go to the team hotel to try and score with the players.
Some of us live and die with every pitch and every batted ball, every pass and touchdown, every goal and save, every rebound and basket, etc.
Some of us know more about the game of baseball – and other all of the other sports – than a lot of men.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to correct people at Yankee games because they’re wrong about something, whether it’s trivia, stats, etc. Which leads us to another peeve of mine…
When I can’t stand it anymore because the person is embarrassing himself, I will interject, politely. Then I will correct the stat he maimed in his conversation. Usually the person will say, “Oh really?” because how could a person with breasts know a stat like that? And then, after I explain myself, the person will say something along the lines of, “Wow, you really know your stuff!” I usually smile and wait for that person to pat me on the head as if I were a six year-old with pigtails in my hair.
Why is it so shocking for “girls” to “know their stuff”?
Get with it, people.
There are more female sports writers now, more female sports broadcasters and yes, a lot of them “know their stuff.”
Some examples of this? Well, all of my colleagues here at Aerys Sports. Whether you want to read about baseball, hockey, football, basketball, college sports, soccer and racing, they’ve got you covered. They’re funny, they’re smart and they’re good writers.
Some more examples of excellent female sportswriters who know their stuff: Christina Kahrl of ESPN, who is one of the founders of the Baseball Prospectus, Jane McManus also of ESPN, Amanda Rykoff of espnW, Rebecca Glass of Baseball Prospectus and Pinstriped Bible, and Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs and SB Nation.
And believe me, I just scratched the surface with those names. There are a ton of writers I haven’t named who are female, who are knowledgable and who are very talented writers.
So getting back to the life of a female sports fan in 2012, I’ve been dealing with this kind of nonsense since I was a teenager. I distinctly remember a guy telling me, when I was in college way back in 1993, that I shouldn’t let guys know that I like sports. He also told me that I should dress more ‘girly.’ He said the fact that I liked wearing sports related jackets and jerseys was a huge turn off for a lot of guys.
My stance back then was that if guys didn’t find me attractive because I was wearing a Yankee jersey to school, it was their loss, not mine. And if guys had an issue with me being more knowledgeable about baseball than them, again, that was their problem not mine.
Another thing that folks need to be reminded of, some of us don’t watch baseball – or any of the other major sports for that matter – just because we think the guys look cute in their uniforms. That’s not to say that we don’t find some of the athletes attractive, we’re not blind and we are human, but thinking someone is cute is not the end all be all of our fandom. Capice?
Shoot, maybe that’s why I’m soon to be 38 years-old and still single! That’s where I went wrong. I should have pretended to be a girl who only likes how players’ butts look in their pants. I shouldn’t be spewing stats and yelling at Derek Jeter when he takes it upon himself to sacrifice bunt.
I’d like to think that in 2012, most men would be more sophisticated than that. That they would appreciate being able to talk about sports with a woman and that they would actually like being in a relationship with a lady they could have intelligent conversations with about sports.
In my experience – mostly in the stands at Yankee Stadium – the guys who act shocked that I know more about the team have been younger than me. This isn’t to say it’s only young guys who feel this way. I’ve had more than my fair share of older men – in their 50′s and 60′s – who can’t believe I like the Yankees – and baseball – as much as I do.
I just hope that someday soon it will become the norm for women to like and cover sports and not the exception. We’ve made strides in so many ways when it comes to women playing sports and yet when it comes to women being fans of sports, we’re somehow stuck in a weird 1950′s time warp.