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On Being a Female Sports Fan: Exhausting and Interesting

Being a female sports fan is pretty interesting and sometimes exhausting.

I enjoy watching sports. I love football and baseball the most! I love going to games with my family or watching them on TV. I love reading about them and studying them, and I think that I know a decent amount about sports in general. I’ve watched them since birth. My parents took me to my first sporting event when I was two weeks old. And yet, when I say I like sports or try to talk sports with men, they’re often condescending or try to challenge me.

I Like Sports, Not My Husband

My husband didn’t really get into sports (especially baseball) until we started dating. I think he’d agree that I have more sports knowledge than him simply because I’ve watched learned, and studied them for my entire life. Yet, when we’re at a Husker game, I often get ignored when I analyze a play or talk about a player. I’ve had men reach over me to talk to my husband.

Female Sports FanA few weeks ago, there was a false start on a kick-off. I saw the referee signal and I said, “Oh, it’s a false start”. A guy behind me insisted that the other team was offside, and he was shocked when it was, in fact, a false start. The fact I saw the play and the hand signal didn’t matter.

I went to a Cubs and Braves game in 2002 wearing a Braves hat. A guy across the aisle asked me if I could name one Braves player besides Chipper Jones (who, by the way, happens to be my favorite baseball player ever). I asked for his scorecard and filled out the entire starting lineup. I kept a perfect book for him for the first two innings. My dad made sure that all of his kids, sons and daughters alike, didn’t leave his house without knowing how to keep score for a baseball game. It was right up there with driving and doing laundry for life skills.

Proving My Stuff

A few years ago, at my son’s baseball game, the coach needed someone to keep score. He handed the scorebook to my husband. He had never kept score in his life. The coach looked genuinely surprised when I took the book and said I’d do it.

Why are men inherently looked to as sports experts, but women are always challenged or talked down to? If I say that I love football, I’m asked something obtuse like “name the entire 1989 Chicago Bears Offensive starters,” but when a guy says they like sports, it’s accepted that they know their stuff.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything about sports. I’m constantly trying to learn more about the sports I love. Sure, not all women who love sports are super knowledgable, but neither are all men. Can’t we all just sit at the table and have a conversation about sports without having to prove our stuff?

For the Sports-Loving Ladies

So, to all of my fellow sports-loving ladies, you’re not alone. If you love football like I do and you want a chance to learn more and get some first-hand experience, keep an eye out for the Women’s Clinic that Nebraska hosts every summer! Oh, and go Huskers! 

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