"Oh really? "You like cricket?" "Wait, what? You watch golf?" "I've never met a girl knew anything about rugby before".
These phrases, unfortunately, are ones that I face on a regular basis. Depending on my mood I react in a different way. A sharp snappy, "Yes, I do know thanks" or sometimes a sarcastic, "no, I'm talking to you just so I look as if I know about sport."
I've pretty much always loved sport. Growing up with friends and family, (sister, mum, aunts and nan included) it's difficult to ignore the buzz which surrounds events such as The Ashes or The Ryder Cup. And I've never had a reason to give it a second thought. Why wouldn't I love it? The excitement, the elation of your team winning and the social aspects. Yet, when discussing sport with people outside my family and friends, I'm greeted with a reaction which no longer surprises me, but is still irritating nonetheless. I feel I have to prove my knowledge, my passion, my commitment to sport when talking about it with men.
Just last week, when talking about The Masters, a man said to me "you know The Masters isn't the only golf major of the year?". This stumped me. Not because I didn't know this fact, but because he felt the need to tell me this. He could have been, of course, being sincere and trying to be helpful. But would he have said this to a man? A fellow 'lad' or 'bloke'? I think not. Because a man is aware that there are other golf majors, yet a women needs reminding/ telling, OBVIOUSLY. Now, I'm not saying I'm an expert on every sport and every Premier League team and every cricketer who walked this earth. But can I hold my own about most sports? Absolutely.
There are some girls who talk about sport for the wrong reasons. To show off, to impress, to strike up a conversation with a man and these are the women who give the majority a bad name. These are the women who talk about sport to 'get in with the guys', 'to get accepted' and that is the wrong reason to talk about sport. Talk about it because you love it, because you want to share your opinion and, more importantly, to wind your mate up because they support spurs.
Women liking sport, like women who have a passion for tech or for politics is no different to a man liking fashion. So why do we act like it's different? There are women, mostly sport journalists, who are trailblazing the way and rightly so their knowledge is not doubted for a second. That's awesome, but not enough.
So what's my problem? It's that there is an assumption that the average Tom, Dick and Harry know about sport, but the average Tina, Diane and Harriet do not. Why can't we assume everybody knows about sport, or nobody does? When will we realise that a woman can hold a perfectly decent conversation about sport with you too, lads. And you know what, you might even learn something.Suggest a correction