Is My View of Women and Sports Sexist?
The other day I was taking in a spring training baseball game, getting my tan on and downing a couple brews in the Florida sun. At these near-seated sports venues one cannot help but overhear the conversations going on around them.
On this particular day I was seated one row in front of a Boston Red Sox fan with a heavy Massachusetts drawl, a roughly 60 year old man with a hat/jersey Red Sox ensemble on. He knew everything about the team, from their collegiate stats to their preferred flavor of sunflower seeds.
And he could not refrain from telling every tidbit of information, regardless of how seemingly obscure it may be, to the woman who was presumably his wife.
“This kid went to high school near Worcester.”
“This guy is a hot prospect.”
“So and so spent the past six years with the team’s Salem affiliate.”
His wife’s continued silence was deafening.
So deafening that I could practically hear her internal monologue myself: “Who the f**k cares?”
She did not come out and say it, of course, but my keen powers of perception tell me she would rather be discussing something-anything– other than Red Sox-related fodder.
My question is: is this a sexist assumption to be making?
It’s not that a female enjoying a sporting event is beyond my realm of comprehension. A baseball game in spring has more to offer than just the game: there is the sun, the lively atmosphere, and the $12 beer.
Most ladies with a sports-loving significant other have to be aware of the superior tan which spring training games seem to bestow upon their spectators.
But as I sat listening to this guy, even I-the sports junkie’s sports junkie- began to wonder just how many off-the-wall Red Sox stats my brain could handle before spontaneously combusting.
I felt pity for this woman and what had presumably been 15+ years of marriage to a man who apparently thought nothing of inflicting his own brand of baseball-fact based torture upon her.
But even more so it got me to thinking: is it even possible for a woman to be as fanatical about sports as I am? And if so, there’s no way a female could care enough about a given team as this guy did about the Red Sox, right?
As a practical matter, it seems that the ladies just have more to worry about. Even if they wanted to stay up on the latest roster updates and breaking news pertaining to their sports squad of choice, it just doesn’t seem like a plausible possibility.
Self-grooming. Updating the wardrobe. Keeping up with the latest celebrity news. School. Motherhood. Career.
Regardless of the route they choose to pursue, women have a lot to tend to in their daily lives, and for most checking the latest updates on Bleacher Report does not make the urgent list.
It’s cliche, but in my brief experience it tends to hold true: men have a more innate tendency to gravitate toward sports and all that goes with it, and more time to indulge these athletic pastimes.
My experience at the Red Sox-Rays spring training game had only further solidified my picture of a highly gender-correlated sports fan breakdown. But then something happened that got me to thinking, again.
As I asked the chatty Red Sox fan behind me whether he had taken in the previous day’s slate of March Madness college basketball games, he said that he hadn’t. I just assumed he was spending that time memorizing the statistics of every minor leaguer in the Red Sox system.
But the attractive, blonde thirty-something sitting next to me, stoic in her demeanor prior to this, knew exactly the game I was referring to.
“That Arkansas Little-Rock/Purdue game was crazy,” she said as she turned to me.
You could have knocked me over with a women’s studies brochure.
This whole time the Masshole behind me, who gave his input on every single batter, whether prompted or not, was a one-trick sports pony.
The fox sitting to my right? She was arguably the more well-rounded sports fan between the two. Attending the spring training game and she is able to empathize with my bracket being busted to hell?
Maybe it is time I start re-thinking this sports fandom being gender-correlated idea.
Folks, it can’t be said enough: don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge a sport’s fan by their gender.