Fumble on the One Yard Line: The Frustration that Comes with Being a Woman Sports Fan

In today’s world, sports media and sports in entertainment are hugely popular. Some would even argue that football is a lifestyle, not a sport, and some people know exactly who the third baseman in the 1993 World Series losing team was. This isn’t even including all of the money spent per week on gambling websites and apps or the Hail Mary bets people use their last bit of their paycheck to play some ridiculous 10-team parlay. It’s gotten a little bit out of hand. 

However, one thing has become more and more obvious over the years in regards to sports: women are not supposed to like them. The avid, die-hard football fans must all be men, right? A girl who likes basketball is obviously just talking about it for attention, and the huge, multibillion-dollar organization that is the MLB is only watched by men, of course. And let’s not even get into the advertisements in between plays, which are directed at men because that is their main audience. 

I have noticed that women constantly have to justify what they are saying when discussing sports. When men talk about sports, they talk about whatever they deem interesting enough to be in conversation and discuss how their fantasy football league is faring, or maybe they discuss how much money they are up or down. For a woman, a discussion about sports is almost always an argument. If she wants to talk about sports with someone, it will be hard to find girls that are interested in the same sports that she is, mainly because a lot of women have been shut down so many times they don’t want to try to understand sports anymore. 

When I want to say something about a play or a really great touchdown/run/shot/method of scoring, it’s always “No, it really wasn’t that crazy. Remember that time in 2014 when….” or even better “How would you know? You don’t watch sports as much as we do.” When I want to talk about statistics, numbers and points, it’s always “Why do you care? You don’t bet like the rest of us,” or, my personal favorite, “They’re kind of hard to follow. You wouldn’t understand.”

It was worth considering whether the rest of my female counterparts shared this similar sense of dismay and dread regarding sports talk with boys and men. As it turns out, most women do enjoy watching sports, but have given up on staying on top of it because of the culture around sports. It’s nearly impossible to sit and enjoy a game without having to know every detail in the case someone asks you to explain yourself. Women who are sports fans are constantly being questioned, having to explain themselves, being put down or told they’re attention-seeking. Apparently, the archetype of the “guy’s girl” (the one who can hang out with the guys, hold a conversation about things that aren’t traditionally feminine, like sports) is only okay in theory. Any woman who knows about sports is immediately labelled as a “pick me” type, because she clearly only knows about sports to impress guys and not because she actually likes to watch them. That’s ridiculous - of course we’ve known for years that women only exist for the reasons men deem appropriate.