Tuesday, November 21, 2006

girl sports fans vs. boy sports fans

Saturday was an excruciatingly long day. Actually, the anguish started on Friday as I was leaving for work. I had tried to focus on getting some work done and not think about the game. Cal vs. USC. 8 pm. Saturday. No, no, no, I thought. I must do work. So, I buried myself under a huge task (therefore, no blogging on Friday). At 4 pm, I received an email from a co-worker. It read, “Good luck tomorrow. Go Trojans!” And then the butterflies began. Not the good butterflies, but the bad ones.

On Saturday morning, while cuddling in bed with Jesse, I said, “I’m nervous.” Jesse says, “Why, boo boo?” I reply, “Because of the game tonight.” Always the voice of calm and reason, Jesse answers, “It’s ok. You guys will be fine. Don’t be nervous.”

Later in the day, I get a text message from my good friend Kattie (a loyal Trojan fan and alum like myself). She asks, “Are you scared?” Instantly, I knew I was not alone. Talking to my friend Aditi (who scored some tickets to the game last minute), I began to notice a pattern. Aditi says, “I am so nervous about this game. You just never know with Cal.” Hmmm…we girls sure do get emotional.

Shortly before the game, I get a call from my friend Josh who is literally on his way into the Coliseum when he calls. Josh calls me right before every game (except once when he called me at halftime because he was late to the game). His calls have become our little ritual. Josh used to be in the USC band so he has this perpetually strong team spirit that is the norm for all USC bandos. I answer the phone, “Fight on, Josh!” Josh replies, “Fight on, Liz! Beat the Bears. I f*cking hate Cal.” I respond, “Hey, I’m a little nervous about the game.” Josh says, “Don’t worry, Liz. We’re gonna be awesome today!” Hmmm…I take it that Josh doesn’t understand my nervousness.

Granted, this group is too small to draw any conclusions, but it appears that guys don’t get all emotional over sports like girls do. I do have other examples of this.

  • After game 6 of the NBA playoff series between the Wiz and the Cavs, I was shocked and appalled when Gilbert Arenas missed two free throws with a few seconds left that would've won the game (they lost the series to the Cavs, 4-2). I was pretty bummed afterwards. Meanwhile, the guys Jesse and I went to the game with were all up for going out afterwards. Jesse's reaction to the loss: Well, at least we made it to the playoffs.
  • Jesse and I went to the VA Tech/GA Tech game this year. The Hokies lost after allowing the Yellow Jackets to score 21 points in their first three possessions. I was so upset, I couldn't watch the game, even after the Hokies tried to make a comeback. I had the worst feeling in the pit of my stomach as the clock counted off the few precious seconds of the game. There simply wasn't enough time to make up the 21 point deficit. Jesse's reaction: "That's ok. I knew we were going to lose at least one game this season." His friends' reaction: "That sucks. Let's finish the keg!"
  • Just a few weeks ago, USC had a devastating loss against Oregon State. I literally went through the 5 stages of grief. I had planned to wear all black the following week, until I realized that black is one of Oregon State's colors. Jesse's reaction: "That's ok. I'm sure you'll still get to go to a good bowl game." Josh's reaction: "Hey, that's alright. We've got Stanford next so that'll be an easy win."
  • Even as USC took the lead against Cal in the 4th quarter last Saturday, the bad butterflies were still wreaking havoc on my stomach. I told Jesse: "I will not be happy unless we have a 2-touchdown lead." Jesse's reaction: "You guys are fine. You guys are going to win." I made him knock on wood.
Now, I know that there are some guys out there who get all emotional over games. In fact, I do recall seeing some fans crying on TV after a devasting loss (I think it was Louisville). What did Jesse and I do when we saw those crying fans? We might've chuckled a bit. It's such a strange sight to see grown men cry over sports. That's not to say that I'm not above crying over a game. Heck, if USC loses on Saturday, I might start crying my eyes out. But then again, I'm a girl.

I hate getting the bad butterflies before the big games. I hate that I can't be just calm and confident during a game. I hate that I can't shrug it off when my team loses.

Hmmm...I'm beginning to think that being a sports fan would be so much easier if I was a boy.

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