Testosterone doesn’t always define a die-hard sports fan

Emily Arthur

Let me introduce myself. I am a die-hard sports fan.

I may prefer dresses instead of football jerseys and flip flops as opposed to baseball cleats, but regardless, I’m still a fan.

Growing up, I continually had to reinforce the fact that yes, I could be a girl and a sports fan at the same time.

I may have had more estrogen running through my body than testosterone, but I still knew the difference between a safety and a touchback or a touchdown and a field goal. (You’d be surprised at how many people don’t.)

While girls in my class played with Barbies and dolls, I collected baseball cards.

I played basketball at recess instead of playing on the swings, and I repeatedly read anything I could find with the words competition, game or match located in it.

I just loved sports.

As I grew older and entered the confusing, yet surprisingly simple, world of junior high and high school, it became even more difficult to fit in as a sports fan.

The girls thought I was strange for caring more about the Minnesota Twins than which Hollywood actor was dating which actress.

The boys had trouble coping with the idea that a girl knew more than they did about the ins and outs of high school football.

Even more surprising to them was that a girl would wake up for school two hours early every morning to watch two hours of SportsCenter on ESPN. (I’m fairly sure I’m not alone on that.)

I wasn’t so much a tomboy – because I really wasn’t – as I was someone generally interested in sports.

I played them, watched them and lived them.

And when I was done with that, I started over and did it all again.

College has been a little easier.

I’ve learned that both men and women alike have gradually grown used to the idea that a woman can be involved any kind of physical activity no matter what it is (even reporting on it), and if a man wants to wear a dress and walk around campus, well, that’s OK, too.

We generally grow more accepting the older we get, and I haven’t seen anything that tells me anything different.

As sports editor of the Daily and someone who aspires for a career in sports journalism, I’ll probably continue to have that rare moment when a student athlete treats me differently because I am a female.

I’ll probably continue to get a little less respect at times because my name isn’t Tom, John or Fred.

But at the same time, I will most likely conduct a thousand more interviews with people like former Cyclones Adam Runk and Ben Bruns, who to this day are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Just last week, I had someone tell me that he would never read one of my columns because he doesn’t want a perspective from a woman; he wants one from a man.

He wasn’t being mean; he was just being honest.

To counter that logic, I know the sports pages are generally more read by men than women, and I also know that I’ve never received feedback from a female about one of my columns. But I have heard from a lot of the males out there.

Being a woman in a sports world is difficult, but probably not any more so than a man who finds himself trapped in Victoria’s Secret with his girlfriend.

It’s just a little different is all. Not good, but not bad.

Either way, I wouldn’t change any of my experiences for world. Not everyone gets to get up in the morning, do something they love and get paid for it.

And not everybody gets to say “I’m different” as they do it.