Written by Nate Dunlevy
A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader named Marla Siegel. I know we have a lot of female readers and Colts fans, and I always enjoy hearing their perspective on things. I've asked Marla to give us all some insight into what it's like for a woman who is also a die-hard football fan. It's harder than you think! This is the first of three installments.
Confessions of a Female Football Fanatic
Girl Power…Outage? Football-Indifferent Females Don’t Always Get Us:
I’ve never been one of those noble, ‘suffer in silence’ types. Honestly, I’m more of a ‘let’s wallow in our shared anguish over Nutella-dipped Oreos’ kind of girl. So after discovering the hard way one morning this past February that even the tastiest Java Chip Frappuccino becomes too salty for consumption when mixed with gallons of bitterly shed tears, I ventured over to my best friend’s apartment for a super-sized dose of the support she could always be counted on to provide.
“You look absolutely hideous,” my best friend greeted. She then offered tissues, Visine and an eagerness to mercilessly mock whichever guy had sent me spiraling into meltdown mode. You see, as much as my friend and I prided ourselves on having lots of goals and interests and passions that were not dependent on our dating lives (or, er, lack thereof), she assumed based on experience that heartbreak of this magnitude could only mean that I had the boy-related blues.
I hastened to explain that I was sobbing over not just one man, but approximately 53 of them. And when that many oversized men trample over your fangirl dreams of vicarious Super Bowl glory, you’re going to be left flattened and crushed. In the interest of maintaining the family-friendly standards of this blog, I’ll spare you my friend’s expletive-laden response. Suffice it to say, though, that this generally empathic friend could muster only chilly bewilderment. How could she not understand why I was emotionally demolished over…well, over ‘a bunch of random men I’d never met losing a game?’
Okay, so maybe I could understand how my reaction might be seen as a tad extreme when viewed from an objective and rational perspective. But, as many of us know all too well, fandom is neither objective nor rational. My friend, oblivious to the vicarious roller coaster of thrills and devastation that fandom provides, simply didn’t get it.
As I curled up on her sofa, still trying to choke back tears while gory images of Tracey Porter’s game-sealing interception pranced tauntingly through my mind, it occurred to me that very few of my friends or even family members did truly get it. And, to be fair, I didn’t understand the bizarre nature of my fandom much better than they did. Why did I care so much? Why did the people in my life with whom I had otherwise had so much in common care so little? And to what extent did my gender somehow alter my experience as a fan and how others perceived and reacted to it? Did the fact that I’m female mean that the reasons for and manifestations of my fandom were in any way different than those of my Y-chromosone-carrying counterparts?
Check back tomorrow for Part Two as Marla explains the three ways in which men react to her love affair with the Colts