Musings of a Sports Geek
ERA. OBP. PPR. PPG.
These are just a few of the things I “geek out” over.
For those scratching your heads, these are stats used in baseball, football, and soccer—stats I analyze while playing fantasy football or rooting for my favorite players and teams.
You see, I grew up wanting to play basketball like Gary “The Glove” Payton. I will never forget that night, during the magical season of 1995, when Ken Griffey Jr. rounded third base and scored the game-winning run to beat the Yankees. Or being live at the Rose Bowl to watch Brandi Chastain tear off her jersey when the U.S. Women’s Soccer team won the World Cup.
And I am not a crier, but this song makes me tear up.
If it wasn’t clear already, let me say it loud and proud: I love sports. I love feeling a part of a team, a part of a culture that spans the world. I love that a sport can empower girls to feel strong, to feel in control, to feel limitless.
But it amazes me when those in the geek community put sports down, as if you cannot be into “geeky” things and love sports at the same time. Perhaps it is because the jocks from our younger years were the meanest to us. I’m not sure, but I hear it again and again—little jabs or snide comments to feel above those who enjoy sports.
As a “geek girl” and “sports girl,” I find this sad. Particularly because the same mistreatment of women and girls found in geekdom occurs in sports as well. Let me give you some examples of the common themes I hear in both worlds.
Girls can’t be “real” sports fans. (Girls can’t be “real” geeks.)
Girls don’t know how to play fantasy football. (Girls suck at playing video games.)
Girls’ sports are boring; they don’t sell. (Movies with strong female leads don’t sell.)
Let me infuse these statements with a few facts.
Fact: The U.S. women’s victory over Japan in the gold medal soccer game at the London Olympics attracted 4.35 million viewers, a record for the NBC Sports Network. An additional 1.5 million streamed the event live online, a high for any Olympic event.
Fact: Female participation in high school sports has increased 979% since Title IX passed in 1972.
Women and girls can be sports fans. They can play sports. They can also like Doctor Who, Star Trek, video games, and coding.
Case in point: This gymnast from Mexico, who performed an Olympic floor routine to the Legend of Zelda theme song. A lifelong gamer and an athlete.
It’s time to move on from the stereotype that women can’t like comics AND cricket, Buffy AND basketball, or Hellboy AND hockey. And it’s time to stop arguing that women can’t be “real” geeks or sports fans.
I know I have fellow sports geeks out there. So tell me, what’s your favorite sports team?
Susie Rantz is the PR Manager of GeekGirlCon.