“I know what you should write about,” my friend said. “Why women don’t like sports.”
Clearly my friend does not consider me a woman as he suggested this topic while we were watching the World Cup final at Tremont Tavern and enjoying beverages made from hops and barley. Thanks a lot.
Honestly that’s a good question, but honestly that’s a question I don’t think I can answer. Because I like sports. And a number of my girlfriends like sports. So I started thinking that maybe women actually like sports, but we just have a PR problem about how much we like sports.
So I did a little research to find some cold, hard facts. And by a little research, I mean a two-minute Google search.
My lightning-fast research revealed that in a 2007 Women’s Sports Foundation survey, 40 percent of women identified themselves as fans of men’s professional sports. I would’ve cried if I got a score of 40 percent in school, but, in this case, I think it’s pretty respectable. Yet, it still doesn’t solve the mystery of why a majority of women (60 percent based on the aforementioned survey) seem to not like sports. At least as much as 90 percent of men.
I think a lot of it has to do with the way a lot of women grow up. We’re encouraged to play with Barbies, Mini-Bake Ovens and all those girl-appropriate toys and pastimes. I grew up with more than my fair share of Barbies – and the Barbie townhouse, and Barbie’s horse Dallas, and the Barbie Corvette – but I also grew up in the Midwest in the heart of Big Ten football country. My Mom loves football. My grandmother loved football, specifically the Colts. And I love football.
But I also think it has a lot to do with the way men and women bond with their friends. Men like to do stuff together. When men can’t play sports together, they can watch sports together – and by watching sports together they vicariously play sports together. Women like to talk. I didn’t miss one second of the Netherlands-Spain World Cup match, but I was talking girl-talk with my friend Charli for the entire 118 minutes – give or take stoppage time.
As a sports-loving woman (despite my friend’s insinuation), I really don’t know why a number of women don’t like sports. But I think the bigger question is: Why would men want women to like sports? Don’t you gentlemen enjoy a good excuse to spend an afternoon without the ladies with your crew and some brews?