Girls hate girls who like sports

BY REBECCA AGULE

I admit to bristling a bit when boys enter shock-induced cardiac arrest around a girl who likes sports. And it annoys me that a girl and a five-year-old keeping score at a ballpark are treated much the same: “Aww, how cute; did your daddy teach you how to do that? And look, she can hold the pen all by herself.”

Back in the fall, I was innocently standing in the Hark, using the public computers to complete a trade for my fantasy team, an endeavor obviously much more deserving of effort than the school work I was surely avoiding. The young man on the neighboring computer piped up, “Do you actually like sports or are you just looking at that to pick up guys?” I nearly chocked, so shocked that I might have approved a trade of Big Manning for Baby Manning; I cannot really remember. Trying to contain my ire, I replied that I was simply making some changes to my team, that the Hark was not actually my first choice as a pickup joint, and that, no, I hadn’t actually imagined anyone would care enough to look at my computer screen. (Or be blatantly nosy enough to do so and then boldly admit it, but I kept that part to myself.) He began to babble about wishing his wife liked sports; I began to smile and nod. The whole incident passed like an evening at the Kong, leaving me just a little scathed, but wiser for the wear. A girl can only hope that one day we can all just be fans, collectively plotting to push a George Steinbrenner-Bobby Knight-Deion Sanders sandwich off a bridge (and by ego weight alone, think of the splash), regardless of sex, age, race or creed.

Or this used to be my belief. But the whole movement towards equal access to the remote’s “jump” button and the 11 p.m. Sports Center tripped and fell flat on its face last Saturday night. I saw a girl – your normal, cute, fun girl – treating her knowledge of sports as a party trick. It took all of my energy not to throw my fifteen-cent beer in her face, just to give her something else to talk about.

To set the scene, we were all just sitting around, girls and boys, as girls and boys are wont to do on your average Saturday night. A short conversation was held about the ACC Championship and someone, someone who shall remain nameless because I have already put a hit out on them for the rubbing of salt into wounds, mentioned the Georgia Tech-North Carolina game, but for the most part the chat was directed towards more universal topics – e.g., people were flirting.

This innocent nonchalance was short-lived, broken up by a total racket, a scheme those girls seemed to know well.

Group: Conversation not relevant to sports.Girl 1 (obviously in the set up role): “Girl 2 knows more about sports than anyone.”Group: Continued conversation not relevant to sports.Girl 1: “Go on, ask her anything.”Group: See above – continues. It’s like the chorus. Girl 1 (knows how to play her part): “Hey, Girl 2. Tell them something.”Girl 2 (moving in for the kill): “Hmm, ok. Do you guys know what team led the NFL in run to pass ratio?

My thoughts: A. Huh? How did we go from Michael Jackson’s legal problems to young guys in tight pants (well, aside from the obvious)? B. Now, does it really count as trivia if you ask yourself the question? At least get near the box before you try to smack around a lazy pitch. C. When did it become football season? And finally….D. If you are going to be clever and obscure, be clever and obscure.

Boy 1: “Yeah, the Steelers. High teens on the run to ten on the pass. As I was saying, blah blah blah something more interesting…”Girl 2: “You got the Steelers part right, but it’s actually 1.8 to 1.”

Cause this is so different from what the boy just said?

Anyway, Girl 2 attempts to continue in an off-hand, casual manner, hammering home her point until we can steer back towards the topic at hand – that flirting thing. I headed home before finding out if any of these young men took her bait, but I can only hope that if they did, it was because she was sweet and attractive, not because she had glanced through an old issue of ESPN the Magazine.

Now, it is Monday morning, and this incident lingers with me, sort of like undercooked chicken or the use of steroids in 1985. I probably just need bigger things to worry about in my life, but at the same time, the whole exchange left a bad taste in my mouth. I am not sure who carries the real blame – the boys impressed by the act, thereby causing such girls to abuse their knowledge of sports, or the girls who think knowing a bit about what happens on Sundays can be used as a snare for whatever Saturday night treat they have decided to pursue. I would wave the red card if the conversation had been relevant to the running game, if the conversation had been relevant to football. If sports were being discussed at all. But we weren’t talking sports, and she was trying to talk game.

I want to have enough faith in human nature to believe that no boy would fall for this, and moreover, that no girl would stoop to it. If a boy has ever tried to quote, say, Vogue, in the hopes of impressing some girl, I certainly (and happily) wasn’t there. I will be the first to stand up and say that sports are more universal than the latest red carpet disaster, but then treat them as such. Don’t alter a group dynamic because you think the tasty boy with the pretty blue eyes would be awed by your knowledge of the newest incarnation of the BCS formula. Don’t bat your eyelashes and toss you hair as you break down Bonds’ swing.

Until girls treat their knowledge and love of sports with some legitimacy, we certainly cannot expect the same from boys.

Anyway, Girl 2 attempts to continue in an off-hand, casual manner, hammering home her point until we can steer back towards the topic at hand – that flirting thing. I headed home before finding out if any of these young men took her bait, but I can only hope that if they did, it was because she was sweet and attractive, not because she had glanced through an old issue of ESPN the Magazine.

Comments