Thursday, October 06, 2005

What If?

When did Martine Gaillard move from The Score to Sportsnet? I have been wondering why I haven't seen my favorite sports news anchor in such a long time.

I must admit that I have a total junior high crush on Martine. Every time I see her I get giddy. It is embarrassing, actually. Friends tease me about it, because I just sit there in silent devotion to her every utterance. If I ever saw her in person, I don't know what I would do. I don't usually get star struck, but she could tell me to impale myself on a katana and I would eagerly do so. Hell, I would yell "Banzai!" on the way down.

Here's the thing: not only is the woman stunningly beautiful, but she also knows her sports. This woman can handle herself. And that is huge, because the only other female sportscaster who has ever made me think, "damn that woman knows her shit," is Cheryl Miller. I am sure that all the female sportscasters know their stuff. In fact, I am positive of it. I have just never seen it. Most of the female sportscasters I watch on television are relegated to the sidelines, where they provide injury updates and get hit on by Joe Namath. Not exactly the best place to show off their skills, right?

Is it wrong for me to admit this in public? I hope not, because here is the point I actually wanted to get to, before I got all dizzy and weak-kneed. And this point is way more politically incorrect. It is a common sentiment amongst many men, and I say this fairly confidently, that women don't understand sports. And by sports, I mean the four major league sports. The stuff guys watch week in and week out, not figure skating and tennis. They may not say it around their girlfriends or wives, but I am guessing 85% of men (and I think I am low-balling it) would rather ABSOLUTELY NOT have a female around during a major sporting event than have them present. Far too many women have a tendency to ask silly questions about the basics of a game at bad times, make inane remarks about athletes at even worse times, and even go so far as to insult a sport and the people who watch it while sitting in the midst of said devotees. All of these female tics are major irritants to men, who just want to be left alone to fart, drink beer, eat pizza, high-five their buds or weep into their cups.

Furthermore, many men don't WANT women to know anything about sports. That is to say, many men are very happy and content having friends, girlfriends and wives who know nothing, and want to know nothing, about sports. I don't know all the reasons for this, but I can take a stab. Assuredly, some of it is tied to a lingering misogyny that dictates certain "roles" for men and women. A more likely explanation, however, is a tribal protection by men over something that is very sacred and significant to them. Sports--I mean here watching it, but whether it be watching it, playing it, or reading about it--often isn't about sports at all. Rather, it is about bonding with friends and brothers, having time away from the fairer sex, and in the case of fathers and sons, passing on a history and legacy from one generation to the next. Sport--or an even better description, being a sports fanatic-- is a continual Initiation & Rite of Passage into the Brotherhood of Man; it occurs every Saturday Night, Sunday Afternoon, Monday Evening, and all points in between. Sports fanaticism is the ultimate fraternity, and women are (usually) not invited to join. Sure, they can have their own fun, but not on a guy's time.

It is inevitable, then, that a group of men watching a sporting event will at some point discuss the "what if?" scenario. That is to say, at some point, someone will pose the following questions to the pack: "But WHAT IF the girl really knows her stuff? And WHAT IF she not only knows her stuff, but is smoking hot? Would she be allowed to watch the game with us then? Would you guys date a really hot girl who knew tons about sports?" Of course, to women, these are the kind of trivial questions that make them not want to be around a group of jersey-clad troglodytes in the first place, but to the hunter-gatherers in the heat of double-overtime there is no greater thought experiment in the world. Well, maybe a debate over whether Montana, Unitas or Marino was a better quarterback, but you get my point.

A cynic in the group of men will immediately ask, "HOW smart, and HOW hot?" which is of course what every other guy in the room is thinking. The questioner fires back, "Bob Costas smart, and pre-meth addiction Lindsay Lohan hot." Every guy in the room stops breathing. Nothing but the swish of the net or the crack of the bat can be heard. Dammmmmmnnnn, son. That IS a tough one.

Tons of variable arise, of course. And different men give different answers. I, as evidenced by my infatuation with Martine, say yes. Others say no, not wanting to give up their domain. Even more waffle, flip-flopping between the pros--the thought of a beautiful woman screaming, "Fuck You Jeter!" at a 54 inch High Definition Television screen--and the cons--the look of horror on every other guy in the room's face when said beaut drops a putrid ass-bomb and asks someone to pass her the salsa. Astute readers will note that the hot girl is a given. Others may disagree with me on this, but based on the many times I have discussed this with guys, the girl HAS to be good-looking. Just Bob Costas isn't good enough.

I have nothing more to say on this matter, and I have no idea if any of what I just said makes sense at all. Consider it a spontaneous explatoration, summoned from the cockles of my heart by my Muse, my Aphrodite-Nike, my Martine. If any blame is to be had, lay it at her feet. It is my Ode, nay my Sonnet, to unrequited love. What can I say? The woman drives me crazy, son!

***Addendum***This post was intended to show the more ridiculous side of men, not to insult the many splendid, knowledgeable, female sports fans throughout the world. I encourage you all to keep rooting for your favorite teams, downing Hero Subs, and attempting to "Stump The Schwab." Just not at my house, ok?

***Note*** At 3:10 a.m., I sent this post to Mrs. H. Oddly enough, I want her approval on this one. Hopefully I will wake up without a horse's head in my bed.


At 9:53 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Robyn Roberts is the best female announcer of all time, evidenced by her strong work on NFL Primetime in the early 1990s, where she held her own with Boomer and TJ.

Martine's good stuff too, but aside from her I've never been overly impressed with another female studio broadcaster. Still, I'd take any of them over James Duthie in a heartbeat. Except Hazel Mae. I recoiled in horror when I saw her on NESN recently.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger sacamano said...

I don't usually get star struck, but she could tell me to impale myself on a katana and I would eagerly do so. Hell, I would yell "Banzai!" on the way down.

This made me really laugh. Well done, sir.

I'd say your point about men not wanting women to know anything about sports needs some refinement. There are certain situations where you want your significant other to have at least some degree of sports literacy.

For example, my wife has only a passing interest in the Oilers. As a result, every morning I have to subtly indoctrinate her with "talking points" in the hopes that she might repeat some of these around the watercooler and thus get on everybody's list of "Someone who might want my Oiler tickets on the nights I can't go." Being broke, it is crucial that I (or rather, she) get on some of those lists.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger sacamano said...

Jody Vance cracks me up, too. Her commercial with the Don was terrific.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Hmm. I never thought about the talking points concept. Not a bad idea. I operate under a different pretext. It is more of a trickle down philosophy, like Reaganomics, wherein my girlfriend talks about my sports fanaticism and utter devotion to a team so much that either a) someone is impressed by devotion and offers her tickets, or b) someone feels very sorry for her and gives her tickets so as to allow her to be away from me for a good length of time. I am happy with either one.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Kevin Kimmis said...

How can we have this conversation without remembering my favourite TV commercial associated with NFL games: The Doritos commercial.

It went something like this: Normal looking dweeb watching a close game, eating (what else?) a bag of Doritos. As one team sets up for a game-winning field-goal with no time left, hot girl sits down next to him, helps herself to some chips and predicts the kicker will miss (she rattles off the kicker's stats from beyond 40 yards to back up her choice). Sure enough, kicker misses and she says: "How can he miss? All he gets paid to do is make kicks." She then turns to the dumbfounded dweeb and introduces herself as the commercial fades to a big bag of Doritos.

I bring this up for one simple reason: If that had been me, I'd have married that girl in a heartbeat. So I think that pretty much answers which side of the question I'd come down on.

As for girls and sports, our work hockey pool was pretty funny. A couple of the women I work with are huge Dallas Stars/Mike Modano fans, and so you'd hear them ask questions in the middle rounds ("Is Jason Arnott available?") and see this smile creep over the pool coordinator's face as he replied, "Yes, he's available...." I actually laughed out loud a few times upon hearing some of their picks.

That being said, some of these ladies have been kicking butt in years past. I guess if they beat me, they get the last laugh. Thank goodness they don't read this blog.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

True to form, my girlfriend mocked me about the following lines, so much so that I have taken them out of the post.

"Hopefully I was able to portray men like a wanted to, as a gender too confounding to understand. Unless of course you are a man, whereby everything I just said seems perfectly reasonable. Hell, it even sounds noble."

This came near the end of the post, and was totally an attempt to prevent any bad feelings from any female readers we may have. My girlfriend picked it up immediately, and essentially told me I was being a pussy for keeping it in there. She also told me that the only thing women find confounding about men is how they actually think they are confounding. Ouch. Two minutes for an unnecessary kick to the groin, woman.


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