No, I Have Not Been Dragged To The Footy By My Boyfriend
Over the years, I have heard my fair share of stupid, and frankly insulting, comments when watching sport, whether it be at a ground or a pub.
It's just something I'm used to -- my friends and I play 'BINGO' whenever we're at a match, because there's always someone who has to make a "joke".
But I will never forget the night I went to a pub for the footy with some mates (who were all footy-mad women), but left early because we were made to feel so uncomfortable.
Dressed in our jerseys and having arrived early to ensure prime seats, we were approached by a group of men who felt they were more entitled to the seats than we were.
Two little words that were a very big reminder that my opinion and genuine love of sport is not worth the same as a man's.
I really should take business cards with my replies to the sexist things I hear, just to save everyone some time.
We'll start with the most popular.
"Did your boyfriend drag you here?"*
In some ways, I wish he had because that means he existed.
No, my single-self made the choice to go to the game all on my own. How modern am I?
This is by far, the one I hear the most. Is it really that shocking that a girl/woman could have a genuine interest in sport? And then there is the Spanish Inquisition that follows, with the person firing questions at you so you can 'prove' your knowledge.
Surely it would be a better use of our time to commiserate over our third wooden spoon in a row?
* This question also comes in the variation of "Who are you trying to impress?".
"You only watch to stare at the players"
Yes, you caught me. I get up at 3am to watch a match on a terrible live-stream to stare at the players' faces.
Let's just be clear, the state of my Internet connection means I can hardly make out the ball, let alone the angle of somebody's nose.
"You don't get why guys can watch games when their teams aren't playing"
I always have a good chuckle when I hear this one... and then I fall asleep. Usually because I exist in a state of constant sleep deprivation from staying awake all night watching the European football leagues.
While I am extremely loyal to my teams, the best part of being a sport fan in general is appreciating the skill of players at other clubs. Isn't the skill and excitement of the game why we watch sport?
And it's good to know the other teams' weaknesses. Know thy enemy and all that.
"You're every man's dream"
Oh thank goodness, I was worried.
But no, not many guys like it when a woman corrects them about sport.
But I guess everyone is entitled to their wrong opinion (Andres Iniesta was robbed of the 2010 Ballon d'Or and I will fight anyone on this).
Also, why is a sport-loving woman considered to be such a big deal? We're not a rare breed.
"But do you like, actually like sport?"
Nahhh, I deprived myself of sleep during the Ashes to stay up and watch something I hate.
Aside from that, as any sport fan knows, it is EXPENSIVE to keep up with your team.
It's not just the price of tickets to get to the game, but subscriptions to broadcast services, merchandise, and travel that all add up.
I'm a Sydney girl that was raised in a Newcastle Knights household, and I regularly make the four-hour round-trip north to watch the Red and Blue. Why would I do that if I didn't like footy?
There's also the emotional toll. Entire weekends can be ruined with a loss (it's been a long time since I've felt true happiness because of the Knights).
I will admit, the years of dumb comments have made me vindictive. I get a lot of joy in correcting men, and the look of shock when I can explain the *gasp* offside rule.
(Shout out to the guy at the pub the other night who walked away when I informed him the player he was blaming for a mistake had been subbed off five minutes earlier.)
It also makes me appreciate women's sport so much more, knowing I am going to a game where I won't be subjected to inane remarks. Instead, I am in a stadium filled with like-minded women and a generation of girls who will grow up with the thrills only sport can bring.
Maybe I should have asked the guy in front of me at the NSW Swifts game the other week if he'd been dragged there by his girlfriend? I mean, he mustn't really like the sport, right?