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Courtney Miller: Confessions Of A Female Sports Fan

I know the feeling of triumph. I also know the feeling of disappointment. I have witnessed Game 7 comebacks and I have witnessed last-minute interceptions to end a season. And I owe all of these experiences to my family, for raising me to be the sports-loving female I am today.

Growing up, I was not the stereotypical girl. Don’t get me wrong, I still played with Barbies and enjoyed watching television...I just had a different approach to these activities. My Barbie dolls did not have a Ken doll to create the dream couple, but they did have a Drew Bledsoe action figure with a navy blue number 11 Patriots jersey and the perfect eye black to complement the rugged build of the doll. Of course Disney Channel played throughout my home regularly, but on Sunday, football was on all day from the first pregame to the last postgame.

I grew up in South Jersey, a part of the United States where there isn’t one set “team” for any sport. I was an hour and a half outside of Philadelphia as well as New York City.

So, when I showed up to class in elementary school with a Red Sox, Patriots, or Flyers jersey, I was the sore thumb. Boys assumed I was a “bandwagon” fan because the only Tom Brady jerseys that would fit me were the bright pink and baby blue sparkly jerseys. Whenever I wore a jersey to school, I had to answer the same question, “name five players on the team,” and when I did it always followed with “when was the last time they won a championship?” Who knew third grade boys were analysts for ESPN? I started to think that it was bad for a little girl to scream at a hockey game or go to a Patriots game at the Meadowlands and have my dad apologize to all the surrounding Jets fans for how passionate his 9-year-old daughter was.

So, I started to watch more sports, and started asking for more jerseys for Christmas, and could name the starting lineup of the 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series team. And yet I still wasn’t taken seriously by the boys. When I entered middle school, I treated the boys with how they treated me. If I saw the stereotypical navy blue No. 2 Yankees shirt I would always ask “name five players on the team,” OK now “when was the last they won a championship?” I became those boys from elementary school that made me feel so self-conscious of having a passion other than curling my hair and shopping.

In high school I stayed quiet.

It was at this point in my life I received my first compliment about my passion: “You’re the only girl that can pull off a sports jersey.” But in reality, I was the only girl wearing jerseys to school. I was the only girl talking about the big play from Sunday night’s game, or the winning goal of the Winter Classic.

It wasn’t until college that I understood it’s OK to be a female sports fan. It’s OK to sit in front of a television and get worked up over a game, because it’s more than a game. It’s a passion, a passion that not many people get to experience. There should never come a time when a little girl second guesses about her dreams because a third grade boy makes her feel bad for wearing a pink sparkly jersey to school.

Courtney Miller is a junionr at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts, studying Media Theory and Production.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management. 

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