Life as a female football fan, as with anything, has it ups and downs. Ups like Super Bowl victories keep us excited about Sundays in the fall, but those of us who may love football too much face some pretty curious downsides too. Lately I’ve been struck by the most ironic of these downsides: female football fandom appears to result in a man-repelling pheromone emission. I don’t mean “female football fandom” as in “a female who can enjoy watching football,” but as in “diehard, don’t-miss-a-game, naming my firstborn after my QB” sort of fandom. Permit me to elaborate:
I have a sordid history of ignoring my real-life commitments in favor of football, fantasy or otherwise. I recently completed a fantasy draft for HerGameLife’s league from the back row/hallway at my friend’s wedding (via iPad), and when a friend asked why I would do such a thing, I explained that I had missed a draft in another league and ended up with Roddy White as my round 3 pick, ugh. He then asked “How many leagues are you in?” When I answered, “Six”, a guy across the banquet table who I didn’t know says “holy shit you’re in six leagues?” I share a compulsive inability to say no to a fantasy invitation with my co-blogger Deepi. Like her, being in so many leagues causes me to make silly mistakes like not taking an available Kevin Smith or CJ Spiller prior to week 1. Oops.
This random dude reaction is, unfortunately, symptomatic of the dialogue I have over and over again with boys – friends, romantic interests, male bosses – and somehow they all go down in about the same way:
Act I, The Introduction:
Me (overhearing a conversation about football, usually fantasy football): “Well, but [player/team] circumstances are changing [for X reason] given the [change in coach/change in offensive coordinator/ weakening of offensive line /change of quarterback /injury] for [team].”
Boy(s): “Holy Crap.”
Boy(s): Looks incredulously at me. “Girls don’t usually know stuff like that…”
Me: “I really like football. Like a lot.”
End Act I
At the end of Act I, boy(s) are impressed and excited. A girl who likes football! That’s cool, she won’t mind my liking football! I should talk to this girl a bit more…
Act II, The Revelation:
Boy(s): So do you follow a team?
Me: If by “follow” you mean “live and die by” and “don’t miss a second of any game” and “spend $350 a year on Sunday Ticket so I don’t have to” and “will spend money I don’t have to see every playoff game they’re in,” then, yes, I follow the Saints. [Insert 2012 gripes re Roger Goodell.]
Boy(s): Wow, you travel for games?
Me: Yeah, the Saints Superbowl victory was the happiest day of my life, and well worth the thousands of dollars I spent to see it.
Boys(s): And you play fantasy too?
Me: Way too much. You?
Me: Who’s on your team? [Note: the answer to this question may quickly turn me off of boy(s)]
End Act II
At the conclusion of Act II, boy(s) begin to wonder about my Saints dedication – is it too much? It appears greater than his dedication to his own team, should he be worried? Eh, this girl likes fantasy football, I like talking about that, let’s see here…
Act III, The Bolt Away:
Boy(s) (example): I have Andre Johnson, Peyton Manning, Ryan Mathews, Darren McFadden, Reggie Wayne…
Me: Oh, run DMC should be in the top five every week until he inevitably blows his knee! Same with AJ. Congrats on a cheap Peyton, but you do know Ryan Mathews is physically incapable of staying healthy for more than 2 games in any season, and Reggie Wayne has only a rookie tight end to take coverage off of him, right? So who are you thinking you’ll pick up to cover you for the injuries roundabout the bye weeks?
Boy(s): [Looks incredulously again]. “I…I need another drink, excuse me.”
Me: [Smacks self in face for letting it all hang out too soon.]
End Act III.
In this little play the boy acts a lot like Peter Griffin in Family Guy during that episode where he and the guys walk into a lesbian bar and say in unison, “Oh…, Oh!, Oh -, Ooohhhhhh.” Wait, what’s this? Wait, I’m excited? Wait, what’s this? Oh, shit.
Sure, they’re excited by the idea of a girl that might actually like to watch football with them. But I suppose it’s no surprise that male egos are such fragile things, and my best guess is that this walkaway effect I see so often results from guys’ growing hugely insecure over the fact that I know football like an ESPN anchor and would be happy watching every game if I had the time (and I make time to watch an awful lot of them). Not because they don’t want to watch every game (sometimes they do), but because they feel like less of a man for not schooling me in football trivia. Woe is female.
So, I’m constantly watching lovely men walk away as punishment for my being super into something most boys are into as well. Oh, the irony. Just another trial for the female football fan…