Women Need to Appreciate Sport, Not Dumb It Down

I hate to admit it, but sometimes sports and girls don’t mix. Dang it; there, I said it. After many, many years of complete denial, I have finally come to this conclusion with two little events in the past couple of months that really ticked me off.

Event number one: Strolling through UCSD Bookstore one day I passed by a table of books when Holly Robinson Peete’s (star of “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper”) face caught my eye. Stopping for a brief second I noticed the title of her book: “Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching the Game! A Woman’s Guide to Football.” Intrigued and repelled, I flipped through the book, only to find caveman-style diagrams marking where the field goals and yard lines were on a football field, among other basic facts.

Disgusted that someone would actually devote time to completely dumb down a sport and further disgusted that people would buy a book a fifth-grader could have written, I went onto Amazon.com to find if anyone else had capitalized on the women demographic. To my surprise, there were four other books that dumb down football specifically for women.

Repulsed, I searched for “man’s guide to shopping” to see if the playing field was level, only to come across the titles “Handbook of Lingerie: A Man’s Guide to Choosing Lingerie for the Woman in His Life” and “The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio: How to Go Down on a Man and Give Him Mind-Blowing Pleasure.” I mean, seriously, who are these people kidding?

Which leads me to event number two: A couple days ago, a friend told me a story about how she was sitting in an airport when she heard another girl having a phone conversation along the lines of: “Oh yeah, and then I went to a Warriors game yesterday …” followed by a question from the other end of the phone, and then the response: “Oh the Warriors? They’re a basketball team!” And then I was hit with the reality: Just as there are men who would read a book to buy lingerie, there are women who would read a watered-down book to learn about a sport.

But I refuse to believe that women and sports are like oil and water. If anything, women should be more into sports than guys are; if you’re not watching a sports game for the plays, watching any game is like watching your own Mr. America Pageant, complete with the preening and glamour as men sweat and glisten in their quest to victory. There is a reason why it’s the 21st century Battle of the Gladiators. Come on, girls, don’t tell me you’ve never thought or heard someone ask, “Hey, would you hit that?” during a sports game. With so many options — Chris Webber, Tiki Barber, Mariano Rivera to name a few — how could you not find your favorite guy to root for?

On top of everything, it leads to even more life-opening opportunities: “You hate the Lakers too!? Let me buy you a drink!” It’s also an instant conversation starter; frankly, the possibilities are endless. But the bottom-line is: Sports are riveting. You don’t have to be a sports fanatic to get caught up in a buzzer-beating shot or to claim your favorite or most-hated team. Sports are addicting and there’s nothing better than screaming at your TV when the refs are on their knees blowing the game or having a good debate with someone on how Barry Bonds is still a cool guy.

The doors are wide-open, there’s a lot to learn and I don’t mean to single out just women — believe me, it’s an even bigger turn-off when you know more about sports than some guy or he says, “I don’t really watch sports.” You don’t need to read some shallow book to learn; just sit down one day, catch a good game and you’ll see what all the hoopla is about. But as Levar Burton says on Reading Rainbow, “Don’t take my word for it.” If you haven’t already hopped on to the sports bandwagon, it’s definitely worth your time and effort.