Sports, Sex, and Entertainment: One Girl’s Search for Fandom


I wish I was one of those girls who could feign interest in sports.  Even more—I wish I could evolve into one of those women who are legitimate sports fans.  You know the girl who has season tickets for the home team, doesn’t have to rush to Modells and buy a jersey for a sports themed happy-hour.  The girl who does not mind watching ESPN ad nauseam, and picks her team not because her boo loves them or they have nice colors, but because she followed them year after year and actually knows the players.

Unfortunately, watching sports for me falls somewhere between  an OB appointment and a 8:00 Friday meeting.  I do it because I have too.  Boys like sports; I like boys and the joy for me ends there.

The all-encompassing comprehension my male friends have for sports of all kinds amazes me. These seemingly average guys from all walks of life—blue-collar and white-collar, black and white, Jew and gentile, gay and straight—are like a legion of idiot-savants able to spit sports statistics with the encyclopedic knowledge to rival that of a paid sports commentator.

Which brings me to my other issue with sports: its ubiquity. This time of year you have the NBA, NFL, NHL, and college seasons intersecting into a veritable sports orgie.  ESPN, MASN, and Fox Sports will bring you sports 24/7. Get the NFL Sunday ticket and you can watch football games all day, everyday.

Then there is not just the watching but the sports betting, sports video games, and fantasy sports leagues that give men their sports fix when real sports aren’t being aired (whenever that is).  And don’t get me started on the adult sports leagues, which are a whole other issue entirely.  Grown men subjecting their bodies to punishment and pain to live out their unrequited hoop dreams.  For me, men thirty and over playing basketball and football Saturday morning is akin to me and the girls going out in the yard doing cheerleading stunts;  despite my high school regrets I can tell you unequivocally there will be no basket tossing on my watch.

Nevertheless, I want to find that passion for sports; the all-consuming lust that captivates every man I know from age 9 to 69.  The extent to which the men and even a few of the women in my life love sports suggests to me that there must be some sort of life improving quality to them.  I just haven’t identified what it is.

I can subscribe to the whole clash of the titans, metaphor for life, poetry in motion,  triumph over struggle rationale for why sports are so ingrained in American culture and really cultures world-wide.  As stated by Cosell, “Sports is human life in microcosm” and  at its best, it shows human beings conquering their physical and mental limits.   Accordingly, I can appreciate the way sports reflects the culture and I truly value the contributions Owens, Ali, and Robinson have made to civil rights.

In fact, sports as a narrative for the stories of our life and our collective history is endlessly fascinating to me.  I can watch marathons of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and I truly enjoy the HBO 24/7 documentaries. However, sports and I reach an impasse when its time to sit down two halves or four quarters.   The games are long  and  the rules are arbitrary.  I am a verbal person so you would think the color commentary could sell me, but so far it has yet to do the job.

So ladies and gentleman if the key to a man’s heart is truly sports, sex, and food, and I can’t get on board with one of these major categories, am I destined for eternal singledom?   If the extent of my sports knowledge ends at naming the cast of NBA and NFL Wives, am I a hopeless case?  To my ladies who love sports, how did you become a fan? Is faking it a real option?  How can I become one of the fans?

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