Ryan Chartrand

I adore most sports. Some of you are confusedly checking my byline now, thinking, wait…a girl wrote this? Yes, to all of you, although I lack a Y chromosome I do in fact enjoy this stereotypically male interest, as do many other women.

Unfortunately, I am still getting the patronizing smile when I mention I spend every weekend of football season glued to my TV, and go to summer tennis tournaments in the desert because I’m hooked.

On behalf of all my fellow first-down loving ladies, if one more person asks me if I watch football for the tight pants I will get Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden to maim them.

We are just as capable of enjoying a perfectly executed cover two defense, without having to ogle the safeties’ butts, as the men.

When you look at the average sporting event crowd, there are a large variety of women there, and most look excited and are cheering. I refuse to believe they are all there only because some man brought them. I propose a new idea; maybe they hauled the men along to watch the game with them.

This isn’t just an American interest. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently declared that women can attend sports matches in large stadiums for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Female fans have apparently protested outside of stadiums and gotten into scuffles with security forces who didn’t allow them to attend.

In March, dozens of female football fans were forced onto a bus and driven away when they staged a demonstration outside the Azadi stadium in Tehran. They had purchased tickets for the event and then been refused entrance.

Granted, the move seems to be aimed at presenting a positive image in light of criticisms over its nuclear programs but it also shows the passion of those female fans.

I think I know why so many people here in America are surprised by these ideas. Women simply don’t mention them very often. They may subscribe to MLB extra innings, but they don’t discuss it with men, or even really with other women.

Why not? I think they are afraid of losing that stereotype of “feminine” that dictates this hobby is out of bounds. Rather than be called a tomboy or be made fun of, they simply keep it quiet.

This isn’t all men’s fault though, because women’s embarrassment reinforces the stereotype too. When you insult other women who enjoy sports, you discourage your own ability to enjoy these events. Also, I know there are a lot of men out there who’d like to watch a baseball game with you.

I’m going to take my own advice right now, and talk about my interest in sports. I recently watched the Oakland Athletics beat out the Yankees with a walk-off home run in the 9th inning. I TiVo through Super Bowl commercials to get back to the game, and am creating a fantasy team along with the rest of you for next season.

As for my favorite sport of tennis, I watch that compulsively. As a tennis player myself, I spend half of the time yelling advice at the players (sound familiar anyone?) through the TV. I even went out of my way to get a job last summer at a tennis supply company so that I could spend all my time with the sport I love.

I do these things along with my boyfriend or male friends because these events give us another excuse to hang out.

So let’s all embrace that sports fan in us and realize we have more in common than we thought.

Michelle Norgan is a journalism junior and Mustang Daily staff writer.

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