I call myself a fan, but the truth is, I am a football fraud. I grew up listening to my mother both curse and glorify Phil Simms, my grandfather yelling “it’s fixed!” and John Madden announcing in the background while I caught up on homework. One would think I would have learned something other than the Giants are the blue team and a ref holding his hands up means “it’s good”, but the fact is, I am a football fraud.
I listen to Mike and Mike in the morning, my car stereo has been tuned into sports talk radio for the past two years, I watch Outside the Lines and Sports Center, and hear my husband agonize over his fantasy line up. I can talk the talk, except I don’t really know what I am talking about. When it comes to understanding what special teams are, the difference between a linebacker and a defensive linemen, calculating downs and where they are without the newfangled line they superimpose on the TV, or just about anything else other than how to score or interceptions and fumbles, I am a sorry fan.
I have decided it is time to rectify the situation.
I have to preface the following with a big “my husband is wonderful in every way,” however like nearly every other man I know, he derives an indecent amount of pleasure when I ask a stupid question about a penalty or why the officials sent a team back 15 yards. And like nearly every man I know, he won’t give a straight answer. At Labor Day party this past summer, the men cackled when any of the women offered observations or asked questions about elements of the game, but provided no explanations. I remarked that if they had a question about “women things” like makeup, periods, or fashion we would offer to explain in depth . . . then it occurred to me that men never ask these questions in the first place. It also occurred to me that maybe they like laughing at our ignorance to have one up on us, or maybe they have no idea themselves but hide under the mantra “I watch, therefore I know.” Well I am tired of having football knowledge lorded over me as if I am some little lady that is a bit too slow on the uptake to understand what the men are on about.
Of course there are plenty of women who do know the game well and perhaps grew up on a male relative’s knee learning the game. But football has no collegiate counterpart for women sports like basketball, soccer, field hockey or softball. It is the one area we can talk about, but can’t really experience because there is no football for women. Women are tolerated as announcers on the sidelines, but not in the commentator boxes and defiantly not as experts in the documentaries or weekly summary shows. And I must admit, though I am sure women like Reshia Candidate are knowledgeable sports professionals, most women would probably agree female football commentators and analysts seem out of place. I can’t help but feel they are tools so ESPN can deny gender bias while not actually giving her anything important.
On the eve of the BCS (right?) championship bowl, I am going to make my official first pick: Texas beats Alabama.
Why: The Heisman trophy winner was the sophomore from Alabama and you could see the trying-to-be-magnanimous-but-feeling-gypped look on Colt McCoy’s face. He has a vendetta not to mention an upcoming draft and the boy wants to prove himself in a way that I think will rock Alabama’s defense. Most of the commentators are picking Alabama, which usually means the underdog will be even more inspired to crush the hype.
I also personally can’t stand Colt McCoy. I have no reason for this. The guy is a poster child of Christian do-gooding and I sure is a lovely individual – there are just some quarterbacks I instantly dislike and he is one of them (for the record, the others are, in order of loathing: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Mark Sanchez and Ben Rothlesburder. John Elway was number one for the 20th century). This really has nothing to do with my pick, I just thought I would mention it.