I am part of a rapidly growing, but still relatively small, segment of the population. I am a woman who loves sports. Like any fan, there are certain sports I don’t like – wrestling, for example, gives me the willies. On the other hand, the thought of spending a summer afternoon at the ballpark with nachos, a hot dog, and an alcoholic beverage (or not), sounds pretty good. And March Madness is awfully close to my favorite time of year.
But yesterday, in a conversation with some co-workers, I discovered that perhaps I haven’t come by this love of athletics honestly. Perhaps I am (gulp) a Woman Who Likes Sports Only Because of Men.
The co-workers (male) were discussing how much the both dislike ice hockey and soccer. I happen to really like both sports, particularly soccer. While standing there, I thought about why I liked those sports and was horrified to discover that the back-stories were shockingly similar. See, in high school, I went to a lot of soccer games my sophomore and junior years. Often, a couple of other girls and I would be the only people in the stands, and we would share algebra homework and conjugate Latin verbs on the fiberglass bleachers while our boyfriends played on the field. After attending so many games, I eventually ran out of homework and discovered the finesse and athleticism soccer demands. I began to appreciate the game. Eventually, that boyfriend and I broke up. He went to college, got married and I hear has at least one son by now. Good for him. He is my favorite ex, and I’m not afraid to admit that I did him wrong and am very very sorry please forgive me.
My senior year in college I began attending college hockey games. There was this guy, see, who played goalie, see… After meeting him (a story in itself, involving my mother, the hockey team and this drinking game called Cups), my mother said I had a daddy complex. That did not deter me. I pursued him and pursued him until I conquered him and then I went on with my life (and graduate school) without him. But I still like to watch the Stanley Cup finals every year and was one of a few people who noticed when the NHL suspended operations for a year.
What does this say for my desire to seem like the cool chick, like one of the guys? Am I really a sheep in wolf’s clothing? I pondered and worried and considered for several hours, but I think it’s really very simple – I love to watch competition of all kinds (SlamBall, anyone?), and the reasons behind it aren’t all that important.
So while all the rest of the women are in the kitchen gabbing on Super Bowl Sunday, I’m the one in front of the HDTV with my Peyton Manning jersey on. Don’t worry, I don’t want to steal your husband, I just want to watch the damn game.