This is something that has always bothered me, but especially lately. Don't take me too seriously, I'm not being some crazy feminist or putting this in a category with racism or anything like that. I'm just gonna go on a mini-rant here. Bear with me.
I am a female, obviously. I also have blonde hair, which I try to make look presentable. I use make-up most days. I wear dresses and heels quite frequently. I even participated in a team of people who could almost be identified as cheerleaders. These are all true statements.
What are some other true statements about me? I adore anything related to sports. I've played them. I've watched them. I've coached them. Therefore, I know a lot about them. Yes, there are some sports I don't know a lot about - soccer, lacrosse, and water polo to name a few. If I don't know something about any sport, I'll ask or research it. But the ones with which I normally involve myself, I know. Especially basketball and baseball. They are very dear to my heart.
In most people's eyes (and when I say people it mostly means men, but I don't mean ALL men), the two previous paragraphs do not go together whatsoever. Or at least they assume they don't. Yes, I KNOW that there are a lot of girls who don't know much about sports. There are also guys who don't, but I would guess that the girls outnumber the guys. Regardless, there are many, many girls who DO know. They DO watch, and play, and coach, and they DO love it. Guys have told me that I am an "exception". Well, apparently I just know a lot of girls who are also "exceptions". Girls who know all the rules, yell at the TV, and watch with their men because they like it.
I think this has really gotten to me lately because recently I've experienced this attitude often. I'll give a few examples. I'm sitting at Jordan's softball game, keeping score in their score book. There is a gentleman who walks up and asks with surprise, "Are YOU keeping score?" I nod, and he kinda laughs. Whatever. In the first inning, the other team has a man on third with 2 outs. The batter grounds out to end the inning. The man who questioned me earlier, turns around and says loudly, "That run doesn't count, you know, because that was the third out." Everything in me wants to give some smart-alecky response, but I hold back, smile, and reply, "I know, thanks." That's all I can do really. Unless I get out there and play with them, or show a couple of the players how they should properly correct their swing so they can stop popping up, this guy won't think differently no matter what I say.
I can't say anything without some sort of negative reaction at Jordan's basketball games. I've had a ref there tell me it's "cute that I'm cheering for my team" and refs laugh at me for my remarks. The refs there are awful, by the way. One game, I opposed a charge call, and exclaimed that the player was not set at all. The ref laughed at me, but then a man sitting not too far from me yelled, "She's actually right, you know." Thank you, sir, for supporting my claim, even though you just haddd to throw that "actually" in there, didn't you.
Another score-keeping incident: my friend Kathleen and I were keeping score for one of Jordan's basketball games. It wasn't even a real game, it was a scrimmage. A couple of the guys playing found it to be crucial that they tell us the correct score after every made basket. Seriously. We were getting extremely annoyed. I wanted to tell one of them that if he used more arc and rotation on his shot instead of shooting line drives from his shoulder that he'd probably have a few more points. But, again, I held back.
There have been many times when I've attempted to enter a Red Sox discussion with a group of guys I don't really know, and it usually ends up going something like this:
Me: "Well it'd be hard for me to pick, but I guess my favorite would have to be Jacoby Ellsbury. I love him."
Guy: "So you think he's cute?"
Me: "I really like him because he always makes stuff happen, he's aggressive and quick, he makes excellent plays in center field, and he's been brought up through the system - not someone we've acquired with money. Do you think he's cute?"
Guy: Blank look.
That was an example from a conversation I had with some classmates at NCSU. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. It happens a lot. Almost every time I'm involved with some sporting event. Even when I coach - I'm often called a "stat girl" by accident. I've been asked by people if I'm going to keep watching basketball with Jordan now that we're married. All this was definitely common when I was on the Storm Squad. (If you're anything related to a cheerleader it is often assumed you are a ditz in all areas of life.) And I know other sports-loving girls experience this as well. So what do we do about this? Ehh, I don't know. Just keep being ourselves. Because stereotypes are always going to happen. If we lash out at these people, all they're going to remember is how we were rude.
It's not really that I care as much what these people think, I just get tired of hearing it. I admire those women on ESPN who wear classy outfits, look pretty, and discuss sports right along with all the men on that channel. I've even thought that could be me someday. They probably get this attitude alllll the time. But for now I'll just stick with keeping a good score book and talking about my favorite teams with people who know me. They know not to question my sports intelligence. :) Thanks for bearing with me, I'm done now.