Being A Girl Who Loves Sports Is Hard
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Being A Girl Who Loves Sports Is Hard

There are double standards at play in the world of sports fans

Being A Girl Who Loves Sports Is Hard
Allen A Denny, Pinterest

As long as I can remember I’ve loved when sports seasons would come around, the feeling of competitiveness, the camaraderie of yelling angrily at referees over a bad call, and the unbridled joy of getting bragging rights from a win until the next week’s matchup. Amongst all of these feelings though comes a unique kind of frustration, the frustration that comes from simply being a girl who enjoys watching sports. It’s no secret that when anything gains popularity with girls and women, be it pumpkin spice coffee or Ugg boots, it immediately opens the door for ridicule. Women are often the punch line of offensive jokes, and even worse, women are constantly written off over archaic, sexist ideas. These same issues are rampant within the sports world and make it difficult to be taken seriously as both a girl and a sports fan.

I have a unique connection to sports not only as a spectator but also as someone who played football growing up. Yes, you read that correctly. I played football both flag and tackle and I was also very good at it. The reactions I generally get from this tend to be mixed but there is a pattern, whenever I tell other girls I played football they are complimentary and impressed but whenever I tell boys I played football they immediately assume I was just a cute bench warmer. It’s endlessly frustrating to constantly be underestimated simply because of my gender and even more frustrating to have to defend my merits as a player. I was never a bench warmer; I was out on the field during every game, running my heart out, and taking hits from the other team who had no issue tackling a player with a ponytail.

Aside from enjoying sports as an athlete it’s even more difficult to be a spectator. I watch football and hockey; I understand the complexities of both sports, yet I can never talk about how much I am a fan without having to field through trivia intensive questions about specific players’ stats, middle names, and tattoo locations. If you think I’m exaggerating try being a girl who just wants to discuss the SEC Championship predictions or who might be hoisting the Stanley Cup. Women are also the first fans to be accused of being bandwagon fans, and lord help you if you say an athlete is attractive because you will be labeled as a silly girl who is only there to watch the guys. Men make it difficult at every turn to be seen as serious. Even women like Erin Andrews who have made sports reporting their career face endless amounts of hatred and sexist insults.

So if you’re a woman who loves sports but are tired of being underestimated, there is one way to turn it into a positive. I made a lot of money taking advantage of boys who thought that as a girl I wouldn’t be able to intelligently make wagers over games, they would bet small amounts of money thinking they would hustle me, and then I would take them for all the money they wagered. All of the insults, all of the sexist assumptions, and all of the ridiculous trivia questions about players’ star signs, preferred breakfasts, and tattoos make it sometimes feel better to just not openly enjoy sports, to stay quiet instead of yelling expletives at the referees, but at the end of the day let it all roll off and enjoy what you love and maybe make some money off of it in the process.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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