It’s an interesting thought. Are women naturally pre-disposed to be better sports fans than men?
If we are to go by what the media tells us, men like to watch football and women like to nag at them for watching football. We are led to believe that women find football to be ‘barbaric’, while men love the action. But, what if that’s not entirely true anymore?
Sport-fandom is actually a scientific thing. Historically, excellence in athletics led to higher social status. A note in Scientific American explains further:
From a Darwinian perspective, sports may be seen as one of the cultural activities invented to promote the acquisition of status. And acquiring status is—on average, in the long run, and in the ancestral environment to which our species is adapted—beneficial to an individual’s reproductive success. That is not to say that gaining status is our (only) conscious or unconscious motive for participating in a game. Many players and observers are primarily interested in the fun of the game. The claim that sports result from [evolutionary processes] means only that sports (like many other games and cultural practices) establish a reliable prestige hierarchy loosely based on (Darwinian) fitness, and that this function is the ultimate cause of sports.
So, because historically, a woman’s social status was tied to that of her husband, there was no incentive to display an enjoyment for sport. In fact, in certain times, it was considered unfeminine to display a taste for sport. The old boys club of professional sports is, then, largely evolutionary. In other words, the demonstration of physical—and mental—prowess in a public forum provides athletes with an important showcase to display their scientifically desirable traits (read: being an athlete will get you laid).
But, if we are to argue about science, couldn’t the point be made that women’s nurturing, emotional instincts developed through the millenia could lead to them being more loyal sports fans?
Absolutely. In fact, women in royal circles have always been ardent sports fans. But sports deemed less gentile than polo, say American football, have not historically had a large female fan base. That is beginning to change. As gender roles muddle and women become more comfortable with defying stereotypes, we are liking what we like and offering no apologies.
The problem is, our passions need to align with the boardroom. While the NFL’s female fan base percentage has been growing steadily, there is still a dearth of women represented in the NFL front office and in league offices across the country. (Note: Hire us, we’ve applied)
We have the biological predisposition to be competitive (have you seen me at a sample sale?) and emotional, and thus have the basic tenets of the perfect sports fan.
Or, maybe I’m just biased.
Don Baylor is a baseball legend. One of the top offensive power threats of the 1970′s and 1980′s, Baylor helped pave the way for the OBP (one base percentage) revolution. In 17 full major league seasons Baylor led the league in hit by pitches eight times, and finished in the top 10 in all 17 seasons in the major leagues. Baylor was once the MLB leader in hit by pitches (currently fourth all time). While a modest .260 career hitter, Baylor had a career .342 OBP, and had close to a 1:1 SO to BB ratio. Throughout his career Baylor was a home run threat, a contact hitter, a stolen base threat, and a mentor to younger players. Baylor was an MVP and numerous time Silver Slugger. A veteran, Baylor was a virtual extra coach in the clubhouse.
During the snow and cold of winter two phrases warm a persons’ heart. “Pitchers and catchers” and “Previously on AMC’s The Walking Dead”, two things that seem unrelated but in reality, share similarities. When you are stuck waiting for Spring, the mind has an eternity to wander. While baseball may be the American pastime, zombies seem to be the new American obsession. The reality is that the “zombie apocalypse” is a metaphor for baseball. Read more
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Professional sports leagues should pay more attention to Division II athletes.
This is not just the battle cry of an overlooked Holy Cross (Patriot League) alum, but rather a business suggestion for teams who want the most bang for the least amount of buck. Get after the talented kids in DII (or heck, even DIAA). The scholar-athletes who pay just as much attention to academics as they do football practice. The kids who fly under the radar, but who possess soaring talent. The ones who, through sheer determination, walked-on to a liberal arts school’s football squad. Look for the blue-collar work ethic. It’ll pay dividends, I assure you.
Can you legislate language?
That is the question over which the NFL Competition Committee is debating in Florida this week. In particular, they are debating whether or not to assess penalties to players who use the words “nigger” or “nigga” on the field.
As a student of linguistics, I don’t believe that we should debate this topic by referring to it as “the n-word”. Let’s say the word. It’s “nigger”, and it’s a shitty word, born of the mispronunciation of the Spanish word for black, negro. Even saying it feels dirty, as a result of the negative way the word was used, by slave owners to insult their African-American help. Nigger is not a positive word. It’s absolutely disgustingly derogatory. But that isn’t the fault of the word itself. It’s the fault of how it was used. And today, there is a vastly different way of using the word.
It doesn’t matter that Michael Sam is gay.
Perhaps I should rephrase that sentence. It shouldn’t matter.
Nor should it matter if Tim Tebow loves God or Tom Brady loves Gisele. I have created a two step process for determining if an issue is worthy of negative uproar: