On the weekends, you will always find students wearing jerseys that represent their favorite teams. As playoff season draws near for the National Football League (NFL), however, you will not only see young men wearing a jersey with the name of their favorite player on their back.
Girls love football, too.
Sophomore broadcast journalism major, Shannon Atran, has been a Baltimore Ravens fan since she was born.
“I love the competitiveness of the sport. The games always get my adrenaline pumping,” she said.
In recent years, women have increasingly paid attention to football, as well as number of other sports. Since the passage of the Title IX in 1972, girls have become athletes themselves, and now follow professional sports teams with the people around them.
“I love how it brings family and friends together,” Sophomore Broadcast Journalism major Natasha Nieves (pictured below) said. “I think girls can gain competiveness by watching football.”
According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, the rate at which girls in high school play sports has increased by 979%, and by 545% at the college level.
Sophomore Biology major Courtney Holmes, is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Young women like her are gaining knowledge from watching sports, whether it is football or another field of play like basketball, the sport she grew up participating in.
“I follow all the Pittsburgh sports teams, Maryland soccer, basketball, and football, WNBA, NASCAR, NBA and a bunch of college basketball and football teams,” she said.
Commercial outlets are even starting to realize that women love sports, and want to represent their teams. Stores including the NFL shop, and Victoria’s Secret PINK each have their own women’s line that directly caters toward making NFL fashion pieces.
Women are not simply wearing jerseys because they find them cute, though. They are passionate about the sport, and the athletes who are a part of it.
Nieves believes that watching these athletes play is source of entertainment, but she also learns life skills in the process.
“ My favorite player is Victor Cruz because […] he was never expected to be as good as he is,” she said. “I think it’s great to see an athlete, like Victor Cruz, prove everyone wrong and show his talent and have so much success.”
Through the tackling and the aggressiveness of the sport, young women have come to appreciate the energy that comes from players and fans alike.
Sophomore Mathematics major Meghan Bentz (pictured above) says that the ‘spirit of the game’ makes football so much more exciting.
“Girls can gain a sense of motivation [from football]. The way that these men take this sport seriously can show girls what passion can lead to,” she said.
Women are knowledgeable in the sports arena, because of equal access to play and participation in sports, whether as an athlete or as a fan. So don’t be surprised if you see a girl sitting on the couch, screaming at the television during the NFL playoffs.
“A little bit of competitiveness is a good thing and it’s definitely something that I have gained from watching football over the years,” Nieves said.