I Might Be Crazy: Life As An African American Female Football Fan

I’ve decided to start a new series of posts, ones that will be considerably less serious than the other stuff I write about. And a bit fun, I’d like to think. “I Might Be Crazy” is about enthusiasms, hobbies, or habits that others may regard as anywhere from a little unexpected for a black woman to down right “hand in your black card now”. Some people may look at you and think that you might be crazy for getting into activities or music-styles or what have you that aren’t expected of you. But it’s not about them: It’s about you doing whatever makes you happy. I hope to maybe also get some features going. I can’t be the only quirky black woman in these parts. ;D

 

First and foremost when I say “football”, I don’t mean this. I actually mean this. “Soccer” to the average American. It feels odd to call it that since I’ve managed to wrap my mind around the international term for the sport. I could write essay upon essay about that sometimes contentious controversy over football vs. soccer, but that’s another post for another blog.

 

I’ve just wrapped up my second full season as a football fan. I came aboard with the World Cup back in 2010, and after watching the entire thing (rather than bowing out after the United States suffered a crushing loss to Ghana) I found I liked it. A lot. I was eager for more and thanks to some good suggestions, decided to check out the English Premiere League and La Liga.

 

Why do I love International Football?

 

I’ve never been nearly as emotionally involved in anything remotely sports-related before I started watching football. I guess that’s a major reason I love it: I’ve found that it moves me in ways that few other things actually do. I am not ordinarily an emotional person. But I’ve scared my poor old grandmother to death at least twice as I was over her house watching a game and she thought I was dying or being murdered.

At its purest form, it’s a testament to amazing skill, coordination, and team work. These are qualities I’ve come to strongly admire.

I had watched the NFL, basketball, and even hockey through the years, and hadn’t been much of a dedicated fan since childhood. In fact, I actually found myself drifting away from sports altogether. I think the stories of lockouts, walkouts, and doping controversies cooled my enthusiasm. And as I was developing various non-sports related interests, I couldn’t be bothered to care anymore.

The funny thing is that football is not without its own share of controversies.

 

And with every up…

…There is a bit of a down side. There are some inescapable complications if you are a football fan who happens to be (1) a woman and (2) black. Mainly misogyny and racism. It’s not something that smacks me in the face often, but when it pops up it’s like, “….” And it does suck. But I’ve decided I love football too much to allow a segment of mouth-breathing nincompoops to chase me away.

Another thing you hear a lot is that if you are a female football fan you are ONLY watching because you want to see footballers taking off their shorts jerseys. Or all female football fans are groupies and wannabe WAGs, and you can’t be a real football fan if you find a number of these men very attractive. This bothers some female fans a great deal and they go on crusades to prove that they are real fans. I do not have that kind of time or energy.

Do you see this?

And this?

And ESPECIALLY this (Sixteen seconds in…)?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTdAHrp-frE&version=3&hl=en_US]

Yes, those are some very healthy, handsome, athletic men. And I am not ashamed to say that my love of the sport is hardly so noble and pure that I would kick any of them out of my bed. No, I’m afraid I’d have to take one for the team. And if someone has a problem with that sentiment, I’d remind them that I am a heterosexual woman and I don’t want to hear it from champions of the “male gaze”.

I might be “crazy” because…

I am not logical when it comes to football. I am embarrassingly superstitious (I don’t wear my jerseys until AFTER the game is over because I fear a jinx) and I have lied to get out of going out on game day. Just a couple of times, but I felt it would be strange to tell someone, “No, I can’t go out because we twenty minutes left, and it’s tied and I refuse to move my behind from this spot until this game is over.”

Then there is the crying, screaming, swearing, throwing things, jumping up and down, running around the room, running around the house, and randomly hugging whoever is near me (and this is from someone who is not necessarily touchy-feely), etc. that I experience as a result of this sport. The ups and downs can certainly wear on you.

However, I’ve found that it’s totally worth it, and you had better believe I’m already gearing up for the Euro Cup.

 

 

Are there any other female football fans out there? Care to share your experiences?