One of my favorite things is watching (American) football. It is male dominated in almost every way possible. I have been watching almost my entire life. Being from New England, I am a Patriots fan. Every fall my dad would have the games on, so I have been watching the Pats every Sunday before they ever won the Super Bowl. I am a Patriots fan because I am a New Englander. It is the very core of who I am. I love watching football because it is exciting at every turn. Unless it is a blowout, which is rare, football games tend to be close. The better the Pats have become, the more this has been the case. Every season I grow more and more into the team and football in general. It is something I share with my dad in excited chats on the phone and going to games. It is a way that I connected with people in college and found community. It is an interesting thing being a big NFL fan when it is so male dominated. On principle, I avoid certain jerseys that most people have to show what level of fandom I am on. I have a Tedy Bruschi jersey and will never own a Brady one. Of course, I love him, I’m a Pats fan, but every woman I know who is a fan has a Brady jersey. Or Gronk or Edelman. Don’t get me wrong I love these players, but Bruschi will always be my number 1 favorite. As a woman, I sometimes feel I need to prove how much of a fan I am and that it isn’t because of a guy or because I think they are hot. I honestly LOVE the game. The more I watch and understand it the more I love it. It is exciting and weird but so cool. I love playing flag football because I am fast and can catch well and no one expects that from a 5 foot 1, 115-pound woman. I can score and get first downs. I am the Julian Edelman of college flag football. All jokes aside I have a weird relationship with this sport I love because playing wasn’t an option for me unless I was the most confident badass girl out there. I wasn’t that at all. I was so quiet I often felt invisible. That girl isn’t going to play football and stand out. She’s going to play soccer like everyone else. But that was what I wanted to do. I didn’t love American football yet. But now when I think about it I wish I had been taught to throw a spiral the way my brother was even if I never played tackle football, being about to be QB in flag or two hand touch would be nice. Getting thrown to because I am open and not just because it has to be a girl play would be nice. Having my teammates trust my knowledge of the game would be nice. The only reason I can’t throw that well is that no one ever expected me to. Woman want to play football, and we watch it too. Proud to be a football fan. Go, Patriots!
Cover Image Credit: Emma Bradley