To a lot of people sports are still seen as a great opportunity for father/son (some progressives will say father/daughter) bonding time. The quintessential picture of American “family time” is of a father and son basking in the sun at a baseball game, eating hotdogs and sipping an ice-cold lemonade (maybe I’ve watched too many movies set in the 1950’s).
But for me that is not the case.
My love of sports was given to me by my mom. Growing up, I can recall a steady lineup of sports being on the TV on the weekends.
But I don’t think I was always very appreciative of it. I remember Sundays where my mom would want to watch football, but I wanted to watch Lizzie McGuire or whatever preteen Disney show was on TV at the time. To compromise, my mom would simply record the games she wanted to watch so I could watch my shows…and then we would watch football later (it felt like I was winning the battle at the time). Gradually, I began to see reason and would just watch the games live with my mom.
These Sundays almost always included a New England Patriots game. My mom and I both love Tom Brady. Let’s face it, I was a teenage girl, there was never any hope not to like Tom Brady circa 2004.
Growing up, I felt like my mom’s interest in football and sports was normal. It never occurred to me that not everyone is into sports, and especially not all girls.
When I went to high school I was excited for Friday night football games. Our school’s team was good- small Catholic school, people care, or at least act like they care. My friends and I went to all of the football games…except I was usually the only one actually watching the game. Don’t you know high school games are about socializing and not watching the game? I did…but I didn’t care. If it was a good game I wanted to watch it.
Flash forward to college and beyond when I now help explain rules to my friends who want to know more about sports because now it’s “cool” if girls know sports. I would always much rather be the girl who knows what she’s talking about, rather than the girl who wants to ask a boy to explain something.
A couple of months ago, my mom and I were in an Uber on a Sunday in the middle of the football season. We’re all dressed up because we are going to the theatre. My mom starts chatting to the driver (it’s what she does) about the games going on that day and recent trades and coaching decisions in the NFL. After about ten minutes of this conversation, the driver says, “Wow, you really know your football.” The tone of surprise is never quite absent when males realize that girls can know about sports too. But at this point I’m used to it. Girls like sports. It’s not a weird thing anymore.
But my mom really does know what she’s talking about (sometimes to my dismay).
Everything I know about sports started with my mom… and sacrificing the Disney channel for football on Sundays.