In general, society tends to form inaccurate stereotypes about different groups of people. Many men believe that females don’t fit the description to be “real” sports fans. For example, girls just pretend to know and love sports sot they can attract attention from boys. Or girls don’t care about sports at all and just attend the games for entertainment. Society forgets to acknowledge the female sports fans who know more about the game than the average male fan. Most people think these girls don’t exist.
Contrary to popular belief, female sports fans exist and we don’t appreciate these negative stereotypes.
If you know me, you know I love sports.
Growing up, I attended hundreds of sporting events and became a die hard baseball, football and hockey fan through these games. As I’ve gotten older, I have expanded my sports knowledge. My love of sports has definitely played an essential role in molding me into the person I am today and I would not want it any other way. Though I love many sports, baseball takes the cake as my favorite, especially rooting for the New York Mets.
You can find me at baseball games, watching them on television or talking about baseball to anyone willing to listen. During off season, I keep up with trade news and chat with anyone about what the news said. Despite my genuine love for the game, people initially don’t believe me when I claim to like sports. Once they listen, they start to realize I know what I’m talking about. Basically, I have to prove my love for sports simply because I am a girl.
As if trying to prove myself isn’t demeaning enough, some male sports fans actually look down and laugh at me because they believe I’m not a genuine fan. They think I am just a young girl looking for attention. When they say things like, “You’re just putting on an act to get a guy’s attention,” I struggle with how to respond and prove my interest in them. Do they think standing up and screaming at the top of my lungs about a play in a game will land me a shot with every guy in the stadium?
There have to be other girls out there who feel my pain.
I cannot stand being talked down to and constantly looked at as if I am clueless and don’t belong. Of course, not all male sports fans act like this. I am very thankful for those who let me enjoy the sports world as they do.
There have been specific instances where I have been publicly shamed for my passion for sports. Last year, one of my favorite baseball players ever, David Wright, retired from his time playing for the New York Mets. He had been injured for around two years and decided, with the help of The New York Mets, to play one final game before the season’s close. After the announcement, I immediately bought tickets and entered the stadium early for a chance to see David Wright’s last batting practice.
As he took the field, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I knew I would be an emotional wreck at this game but I did not think I would begin crying before the game started. As I wiped away my tears, I heard a group of boys talking behind me. They were muttering, “Why is she crying?” “Does she even know who David Wright is?” “Do girls actually follow baseball?” Sad and frustrated, I turned around and shot them a look, but I didn’t have the courage to say anything in defense. Not only were they not worth my time, but I wanted to focus on watching David Wright.
I brushed it off, thinking it couldn’t get any worse.
When I got up to my nosebleed seats, I cried once again during the opening game ceremonies and Wright’s last at bat of his career. To my surprise (or not), another group of guys asked me the same demeaning questions. They looked at me the same way as the ones before, confused by my reaction but laughing in my face just the same. Sadly, this reaction from men remains a reality for me as a female sports fan. I am tired of it. Girls should not have to worry about receiving this sort of treatment while doing something they love.
Many struggles come with being a female sports fan. Men constantly quiz us on random information they think we won’t know or stare when we attend sporting events without a man. Female sports fans shouldn’t have to put up with judgment. This mistreatment could easily be reversed if fellow sports fans would just listen to their female counterparts and not immediately assume what we know.