By now, I am sure you have heard about the Men’s Health Magazine piece that caused a rather sizeable uproar. It created so much backlash that MH wound up removing that post/article/blurb.
In case you missed it, here it is:
Not all women share your passion for sports, in case you hadn’t noticed. The reason? They need story lines. “Most women don’t care about stats,” says Andrei Markovits, Ph.D., coauthor of Sportista: Female Fandom in the United States. So while you’re enthusing about Dominic Moore’s scoring record, she’d rather hear about how he supported his wife’s battle with cancer—and even took a season off from the NHL at the height of his career. Treat your heroes as people and not just players on a field and you’ll suck her in. Just don’t expect her to wear the foam finger.
What may have actually been a decent point was lost in the approach. The way the piece was worded insinuated that women are not as knowledgeable about sports as men. I disagree with that. For example, I know A LOT of women who are huge baseball fans, who can tell you about RBIs, ERAs, WAR, and RISP averages. I know some females who can keep a pretty darn good game book.
I decided to try the Men’s Health approach at home with my wife while watching football recently. Surprisingly, it worked.
I found that if I made the game personal for her, she was genuinely more interested. Rather than saying, “Jason Witten is a complete tight end,” I told her about how Witten won the NFL Man of the Year Award in 2013. I told her how much he does for his foundation, how he helps the inner city youth with football camps, and how he has spoken out on domestic violence issues. She’s in. Sure, she understands the game of football, but she hated watching with me because I “yell at the TV like a madman.”
I tried the strategy again when I watched the Cowboys-Texans football game with her last week. Yes, she asked a lot of questions, but when I explained certain nuances of the game, and added personal tidbits about players, she started to “develop relationships” with them. For example, when I told her that Cowboys WR Cole Beasley went to SMU, and is from the Dallas area, she became a fan. When I told her that LB Rolando McClain had some issues off the field with maintaining his desire for the game, but is now focused on playing for his two daughters, she became a fan.
My point is this: while Men’s Health may have had a reasonable point, it was lost in the condescending message. Yes, women like sports. No, they are not dumb. They are actually, in some cases, more rabid than the male populace.
My wife tells me that she is now more willing to watch sports with me, which makes me happy. The other good thing is that when I DVR the game, I can pause it as needed to answer questions, and or share interesting tidbits about the players.
I plan on DVR’ing basketball, football, and hockey, so I can watch with her and we can enjoy sports – TOGETHER.
Oh yeah, and on one final note. We hate foam fingers. Just sayin.
Ronnie Garcia is The Voice of Reason at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @CapnDD.