Friday, October 19, 2007

Football and Rhinebeck

Nothing screams fall quite like that title.

A post on the Football-Along blog sent me to a very interesting discussion about women and football over at Neighborknitter. I know I can identify with her sentiments. I'm the sole female in my immediate family and it's taken quite a lot of work for my dad and brothers to accept that I'm just as much of a fan as they are. For some reason they accept my fandom in baseball, but football is another matter. Is it the testosterone?

For years, I would beg my dad to let me go to a Giants game. He would repeatedly tell me that when I was tall enough to reach the letters on this Adidas t-shirt he had, then I would get to go.

My brothers scoffed at my desire to go to a game. Then I started playing fantasy football and could really hold my own in conversation explaining why I thought so-and-so was a good bet that week due to such-and-such a defense's weak pass rush. In short, I did my research.

Suddenly they take me seriously and Dad buys me jerseys for Christmas. And not the girly pink ones, because you will never see this girl wearing a pink jersey. It will be big and oversized so that I can wear it over multiple sweatshirts at the game. Because now they actually let me go and listen to me when I comment on a play.

I think they give me more credit because I stand in sharp contrast to my cousin, who yells louder than anyone in the stadium but doesn't know what he's yelling about (or even which player he's yelling about). While I think women generally have to prove themselves more than guys, either way, if you're a fraud or are trying to make yourself out as the second-coming of Mike Ditka, people will see through you.

I was watching football in a bar one night last year with a (male) friend when the (male) bouncer who had nothing much to do that night started talking to the (male) bartender and another (male) patron next to me. They started talking football and at some point I piped up with a comment which made them all turn to me in shock. I can't remember what I said, but the bouncer then asked me "So you're a Giants fan huh? How many players do you know besides Eli?" To which I responded, "Would you like me to start with offense, defense or special teams? And would you like me to name injured players as well?" I think by the time I got to LaVar "Mr. Nickles" Arrington he let me stop. But at no point would he have quizzed any of the guys there in the same way. Did he want to embarass a girl to feel more manly? Is the testosterone really the problem? I'm threatening his manhood?

But I do my research (and know when to open my mouth) so that I get taken seriously. And it's basically the only way that I could ever have gotten to go to a game. I've been taller than the Adidas on my dad's t-shirt for a while now, but it wasn't until I actually proved my mettle that I was counted as a fan.

I'm off to Rhinebeck Saturday. Cannot wait for fall festival atmosphere and fiber fumes. Pics, etc. to come on my return.