Wandering around the Internet recently, I came across a sports blog that promoted itself as new and unique in that all of its contributors would be women. It promised a pure, unadulterated female viewpoint on sports.
Now, having worked for several years in women’s pro sports, I’ve always found that female athletes, “unburdened” as they are by the torrent of money that sloshes around men’s pro sports, possess instead an outsized measure of perspective. So I expected this blog to essentially be an amateur version of ESPNW.com in terms of interesting, nuanced content.
Definitely worth a look.
On the “About” tab, I found a list of all the women who had successfully applied to be correspondents for the blog, along with an up-to-date tally of their published blog submissions. The accompanying thumbnail bios were evidently something required by the site to support each woman’s assertion that she was qualified to provide expert commentary on the topic of sports. This is where things got interesting…
The woman leading the pack in terms of published posts had offered a compelling dossier of lifelong fan-hood of the Philadelphia Eagles. The next woman on the list wrote of how she’d grown up in a household in which half the members were Red Sox fans and the other half Yankee fans. The next hadn’t missed watching a Miami Heat game since long before Lebron came to town and it “became fashionable.”
And so it went.
What I was actually interested in was some first-hand perspective, taken from personal experience with the sports that these women were writing about. I wanted to hear from correspondents that came by their expertise through participation in a sport at some point in their life. So I kept scrolling.
One dozen names. Two dozen. Three dozen. Finally, the 48th most prolific poster said that she had carried a love of basketball from when she used to play it as a kid. But it wasn’t until 20 or so bios further down the list that a woman described herself as currently taking part in a sport on a regular basis.
To be fair, it’s entirely possible that some portion of the women on that list did indeed engage in athletic activity, both now and in the past. But that only makes it more fascinating; clearly few of them seemed to consider that playing a sport qualified them to comment on sports as much as time spent viewing others—typically very well-paid others—at play.
Oh, and for what it’s worth, despite a search that went on far longer than it should have, I didn’t find one single blog post written about women’s sports.
Maybe it’s just me, but the implied message that I took away was this:
Women + Sports = Watching Men Play
Somebody please reassure me that we actually have progressed beyond that.