How many times have you been to a game where the girl sitting two rows ahead of you keeps asking the guy to her right to explain what’s happening because she can’t follow? After filing her nails, reading Spencer Pratt’s tweets and checking perezhilton.com on her bejeweled, pink iPhone for the duration of the hockey game, Whitney fluffs her bleach-blond hair and asks Johnny how the game ended with a score of 1-1.
Obviously, she doesn’t know that if neither team scores in OT and the shootout ends in a draw, NHL regulation games can end in a tie. In July, she thinks a grand slam is a meal at Denny’s. Come November, she doesn’t get why the football score is increasing in increments of 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8. Sadly, the majority of males seem to be under the impression that all the ladies at the game are like Whitney.
I am not a Whitney. I bleed blue for the Giants, Rangers and Yankees (a true New York fan). I learned to throw a football before I could ride a bike. I was born on a Thursday evening — week four of the 1986 football season. Three days later, my dad held me on his lap while watching the NY Giants game in the hospital. I watched the rest of that season in my father’s arms, and at four months old, I saw my team win Superbowl XXI. Ever since, dad has deemed me the G-men’s, “Lucky Charm.” Over the past 24 years, I have watched more sporting events than I can count. I grew up destined to be a die-hard.
Female sports fans are becoming more vocal and abundant worldwide. Female fans can sit on the couch and drink some beers while watching Monday Night Football, or catch the Yankees game on one of the TVs at the local sports bar.
The best part is, we don’t need the boys around to have fun or know what’s going on. All we want to do is watch the game. We want to see our team wipe the floor with our rival. Seeing the other team’s starting pitcher dislocate his shoulder wouldn’t upset us in the least. We want to see our fantasy team’s defense have five sacks and twice as many interceptions. Come January, we don’t know what to do with ourselves on Mondays, because all we’ve been watching is the MNF games for the past four months. And when our team loses by one in the last game of the season, and just barely misses out on the playoff run, we need to be left alone to wallow in our misery.
It’s easy in our culture to assume that die-hard fans are men, because that’s how it’s always been. History is not the only thing we have going against us. The stereotypical female fan is the one who’s jumping on the bandwagon and doesn’t fully understand the game — or is simply rooting for her boyfriend’s favorite team. For the ladies who happen to be true die-hard fans, our motives as to why we watch are questioned.
Bandwagon Babes (ladies who jump on bandwagons) bring a bad name to all female fans. A perfect example would be the Boston sports dynasty of the past decade. The number of Boston female sports fans has skyrocketed since 2001. Why? The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2002, 2004 and 2005. Meanwhile, the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, followed by the Celtics championship run in 2008. As a New York fan living in Boston at the time, what bothered me most wasn’t that Boston was winning; what was frustrating was seeing ladies become Sox fans simply because they thought it was “cool.” These are the same women who asked “What curse?” in an attempt to find answers, rather than to voice their skepticism. Boston is not the only city that has seen the rise of females jumping on bandwagons, which is why many men don’t see females as real fans.
In cities across America, many of the female “fans” couldn’t name more than their hometown team’s starting QB. There are an increasing number of pink jerseys seen in the stands at football games these days. And,while the pink jersey may be a cute look, other fans discredit them immediately upon seeing the feminine hue.
Being a fan is not about you and your favorite color; it’s about team camaraderie and the spirit and morale of fans as a whole. Otherwise, as a Giants fan with the favorite color green, I’d be wearing a jersey looking like an Eagles or Jets fan while cheering for my big, blue wrecking crew.
To the lady readers, which type of fan are you? Are you a pink-jersey-wearing-bandwagoner? Or are you a real fan who actually “gets it”? Perhaps you are like my friend Megan and I — we refuse to buy a Manning or Sanchez jersey because we don’t want people to think it’s the only player we know.
To the guys who are still having doubts that a female can be a die-hard fan just like you, I ask you to ponder the following: One of my most prized possessions is a game ball from when the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. One of my most cherished memories is stepping onto the diamond at the original Yankee Stadium. Before I left for college, the most important thing I did was add my name to what was at the time, a 40-year waiting list for Giants’ season tickets. So I ask you — why can’t I be a die-hard fan, too?
Photo by hotrodhomepage.