November 2006

Football - The Great Equalizer

Author: P. Venus

There is a camaraderie in men that can’t be explained when sports are involved. I recently took note of this, from the sidelines so to speak, on a Sunday afternoon when my husband and his brother sought out a sports bar where they could watch their home team.

As luck would have it, the guys found a small bar not too far away, and we arrived early to make sure that we would be welcomed. I should pause and say that I was not forced to come along, but went willingly, an eager fan myself (even though it was for a different team). I consider myself lucky in that my father taught me about football at a very young age, which not only instilled a love of the game, but also an understanding of it. Therefore, this testosterone-charged crowd of rowdy men watching football readily embraced me.

A few hours went by as we all ate too many snacks and chugged down a few beers to wash it all down. (Okay… so I was sipping my beer.) Touchdowns and field goals were celebrated with chants full of gusto and high fives. And although I could speak the football lingo and toss out a few stats here and there, I still felt a little like an outsider.

At the end of the game, everyone mourned equally over their team’s defeat. As they said their goodbyes with handshakes, embraces, and yes even an occasional exchange of cell phone numbers, I was amazed. Never have I observed such an encounter with a group of women. Throw a bunch of women into a room, and we immediately start sizing each other up. Now that I think of it, the few women that were part of the football spectators never spoke a word to me.

The stats that we compare are of a different nature. Instead of how many points your team scored in the big game last week, it’s how many pounds you lost. Where a man might admire how cool his buddy’s “old-school” team jersey looks, a woman may sneer that she could better fill out that flirty summer dress than the gal across the room.

Are sports an equalizer—a concept that women have not been able to grasp? Whether you are playing or watching sports, it is a color-blind and class ignorant endeavor. No matter whether you are black, white, Latino or otherwise, just as long as the color you are wearing is for the same team, you are on a level playing field. I think we women could learn a little something from that.

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