Friday, January 10, 2014

The Trials & Tribulations of a Female Sports Fan

I grew up on baseball.

Some of my earliest memories are me with my dad and sister at US Cellular Field (then Comiskey Park), gloves in hand, cheering on Frank Thomas, Carlos Lee, and all the other legends of my childhood. I remember going to Sox Fest and waiting hours for autographs, I remember flying all the way to Arizona to watch Spring Training games. And as I got older, my love of the game only got stronger. I cried REAL TEARS during Mark Buehrle's perfect game. Sometimes, when I'm having a bad day, I watch footage from the 05 World Series- no shame.

Holding an AJ Pierzynski homerun ball because HELL YEAH
But there's a sad truth to being a woman who loves sports (or in my case, one particular sport)- you are constantly asked to prove it. 

When men say they love football, it's automatically accepted. They could know practically nothing about the game, but they don't have to. No one tests them, because it is socially accepted that men like sports and the sky is blue and the Earth is round.
My dad, purveyor of all things MLB
Women who like sports, on the other hand, face a lot of resistance. I've been accused of pretending to like baseball in order to get male attention. I've been quizzed by men and women alike who are somehow sure that because I have a vagina I don't know who won the Cy Young last year. The first time I met an ex-boyfriend's father, he said he heard I was a baseball fan. He then proceeded to ask me if I could name five players. I was so annoyed with the question that I decided to name the starting roster. He stopped questioning me after that. The sad thing is, that same circumstance has happened a million times, all with different people asking the same, condescending questions.

The point is, I'm sick of having to defend myself about liking baseball. I shouldn't have to list off facts to prove that I know something. I'm sick of people making jokes about women only liking sports for the eye candy. Because hey- I'm not blind. I know Ian Kinsler has a nice butt. But I also know my stuff about the game, and both of those things can be okay.

Touring Nats Park with my sister
On one final note- let's top harassing women about their sports knowledge, and while we're at it, can we also improve the quality of women's licensed sports apparel? I'm not really sure why any jerseys that fit me have to be pink and sequined. But that's an issue for another day.

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