As I sit on the couch, barely tolerating yet another evening of watching large men in tight pants prance around a numbered field with a pigskin ball (out of respect for my financée), I can't help but wonder why lesbians love balls so much.
Full disclosure: I've had my fair share of balls (and I'm not referring to drunken nights in college). I've played with little ping pong balls, large exercise balls and everything in between. Organized sports have been a part of my lesbian existence since I was the only player with no balls on my all-boys soccer team at age 5. Then came the unofficial barrage of ball-centric street sports with the neighborhood kids: basketball, stick ball, kickball, baseball and handball. I also played street hockey, the puck being my only respite from the endless hours of playing with balls.
And what real lesbian grows up without softball? I played for years, from age 7 until high school, and then later in various bar leagues or through work. Then there were the super-gay lesbian dodgeball tournaments, but those were more about getting drunk on the beach with cute girls than anything else. Of course, many took the game frighteningly seriously; I recall a pair of Amazonian twins from Scandinavia with matching face paint and one small victim knocked unconscious by their fierce throwing arms. I quit my short dodgeball stint when we lost a second teammate to a broken wrist. Indeed, enduring the threat of six balls flying at once in a tiny Manhattan gym, with dozens of gays and dykes filled with angst from the start of the work week, was a recipe for disaster and more than this lezzie could handle.
Yes, I played sports and enjoy being active, but no, I was never a star player, and I don't especially enjoy watching organized sports on the boob tube (though I did catch a bit of the highly misogynistic Lingerie Football League, which held my attention for at least two minutes before I started drafting an angry letter in my head to men everywhere). I'm not a girly girl who prefers weaving a basket to sinking one. I'd rather bounce a ball off my racquet than a baby on my knee. And I will always prefer black grease paint to mascara. But I just don't get the sports craze.
I can enjoy an overpriced beer at a Yankees game on a breezy summer night just as much as the next person, but I don't have the desire to hoot and holler, and it doesn't break me if "my team" doesn't win. I mostly just enjoy being outside and feeling the energy of my fellow New Yorkers. I prefer a good boxing bout in the park with my fiancée overrunning on the treadmill like a hamster on a wheel any day, but I wouldn't know Mike Tyson from a Tyson chicken breast.
Some lesbians couldn't care less about sports, and others came out of the womb with cleats on (ouch!), but I find the whole fascination with sports, well, fascinating, particularly in lesbians who subscribe to a chauvinistic, male-dominated, multi-billion-dollar industry without question. They tune in to watch closeted men touching each other and sweating for hours and then bitch about sexual and gender inequality in every other facet of life. There's a disconnect for me that I can't put my batting gloves on.
If you're a lesbian who loves sports (or a lesbian who loves lesbians who love sports), check out the clever Tumblr "The Stereotypical Lesbian" to find your sporty match, but not before reading this helpful guide on things to consider when it comes to dating your softball teammates.
The one lesbian-centric sport I do enjoy attending doesn't involve balls, though it does come chock-full of aggression. It's the one sport that women currently corner the market on: roller derby. I have yet to see hairy men skating in a circle elbowing each other in fishnets (Rocky Horror comes closest), but I imagine there are some who would pay to see that. In the meantime, I can't wait for the Super Bowl to be over so that I can go back to watching my super lineup of mediocre televised programming where the only balls on screen are tucked safely away out of sight.