An Open Letter to Condescending Men
There is a select group of gentlemen out there who believe with all their hearts that in the college football fan caste system, women are the second-class citizens. And frankly, I’m tired of it. In case you were wondering, this rant was prompted by an annoying stranger who, upon hearing of my obsession with Alabama football, took it upon himself to try and trip me up with oh-so-cleverly contrived questions like: How long did Paterno coach at Alabama before he died? Had I ever been to an Alabama home game at Lambeau Field? Did I think John Parker Wilson did a good job last year (2010)? Did I think he really deserved to wear #12?
Look, I get it. Football, it’s a testicle thing. It’s a testosterone driven sport. It’s about hard charging offenses and tough as nails defenses and incredible athletes doing their best to demolish the other fellow and “make his ass quit.” It’s explosive and violent and incredibly manly. And me and my ovaries love it.
When I say that I love college football, I don’t just mean that I wear my team’s gear when it matches my nail polish and appreciate the tight fit of those uniform pants (though I do). I mean I love college football like Lee Corso loves fuzzy mascot heads (or Kirk Herbstreit loves mirrors).
I start the countdown to the college football season kickoff game as soon as the clock hits 0:00 in the national championship contest. I can name all the SEC schools by division, their coaches, and the stadiums and towns in which they play. I get goosebumps when a QB times his cadence just right and draws the defense offsides. I’m the girl at the table that uses all available flatware, s&p shakers and Tabasco bottles to diagram for my dinner companions the right way to execute a blitz, and how it’s named after the German Blitzkrieg lightning-fast attacks because if you don’t get to the QB quick enough you leave him with most of his receivers wide open on an empty field. I’ve been late to work on Friday because the crappy Pac-10 Thursday night game ran long and I stayed up to watch it.
Results from a cursory Google search for “female college football fans” rewarded me with plenty of playboy-esque images of girls not-quite-clothed clothed in various jerseys and this little marketing research brief which proves by it’s very existence that women are a large part of the overall fanbase. If the marketers have deemed us a viable demographic, it’s time to start paying attention.
So come on, random stranger guy…you can do better. I know you’ve probably been burned by those pretty girls who pretended to love your team just because you do, who carefully studied your reactions so they’d know when to cheer and listened to you patiently explain what that yellow line is all about. But don’t judge the rest of us by their sins. I am here to tell you, on behalf of good football-loving women everywhere, we are just as devoted to our teams as you are to yours. Maybe even more so. Because while you focus on the things we all commonly appreciate — the hard hits, the perfectly executed out routes, the exhilaration of watching your team win, I get the added appreciation of both those tight fitting pants AND the athletes within them, and I get to do it in matchy nail polish.