Until That Day, I Will Remain Reticent on the Couch
Sports were never factored into my upbringing. School, studying, familial duty, health and work were all stressed (in that order) but basketball, swimming, hockey and baseball were looked at as sort of a waste of time. According to my mom, playing sports was a benign skill that merely engaged the body, not the mind; she subsequently cast these pastimes aside and encouraged me to focus on Chinese Saturday school instead. While my other friends joined the neighborhood soccer teams, giggling about goals and defense, I buried my nose in books of radicals and ancient sentence structure.
As a result, I now know nothing about sports. My lack of understanding comes to the forefront when conversations of Kobe in a number eight jersey or the Sacramento Kings during their glory days surface — I slink back into the shadows and nod as most references go right over my head.
Giving myself the benefit of the doubt, though, I am currently rapidly approaching rookie status. In attempts to disband preconceived notions of female sports fans, I feel it is imperative to study up so that I do not look like a complete idiot. Maybe I’ll come off as only three-fourths of an idiot if I check in-depth as to why there is so much hype about Arsenal and Manchester United’s long-standing rivalry. In any case, my eyes are being opened up to a subculture I knew not existed — one of tradition, history, shit-talking, team pride and camaraderie.
Still, one thing irks me as my journey into the sports world progresses: female fans, whether rookie or veteran, are treated as though they are not as well-read when it comes to sports knowledge. Male fans tend to ignore female input, poke fun at various comments (after a Clippers versus Celtics game I attended, I made the vital mistake of saying, “Man, Blake Griffin can dunk!” much to the mocking chuckles of male sports fans who would let me hear no end of it thereafter) and generally view girls as less capable of understanding the vast sports universe.
I do not deny the fact that I am a new sports fan and am still unfamiliar with past team players and particular details about matches and games. But it seems that even the sagest sportswoman is treated with the exact same patronizing tone when she comments on a game. As one of my male friends adamantly insists, “Girls don’t know anything about basketball.” Even if they, in fact, do. Why the inherent assumption, fellas? Can’t ladies level with the gender that dominates the sports world? Why, just because there is less of a female presence on the court, does that infer an inherent sub-par knowledge of the rules, nuances and history of sports?
Until the day when I can safely comment on Blake Griffin’s dunking ability with no snarky snickering as a response, I will remain reticent on the couch while Lakers fans go wild at an Artest 3-pointer. Go team.