The Daily Gamecock

Football not just a man's game

Football is a man’s world, or so says our culture.

From birth, it seems little girls may only enter this world with pom-poms in hand or a bow in their hair, cheering on their male counterparts, who dominate the realm of sports media.

That’s not to say football is completely devoid of girls. Every now and then, we hear a news story about a girl who takes the field for a high school’s annual homecoming football game, plays and then comes out of the locker room before half time ends to be featured on the homecoming court.

Better yet, some women even make it into college football, though very rarely does it happen in Division I, and nearly all of them are kickers or placekickers, due to their undeniably smaller stature compared to men.

Unfortunately, that’s about where the journey ends for female football players, as the door is violently shut when it comes to the NFL. The big leagues are left to the men.

Considering how competitive the NFL is, especially when you take into account that a mere 1.7 percent of all college players make the transition into professional football, perhaps we shouldn’t be too upset about the lack of women in it.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean girls don’t know their stuff when it comes to football.

I belong to an all-girls fantasy football league, and we defy the odds and expectations guys tend to dismiss us with. Our teams are not stacked with the most cliché teams or the cutest players, but rather the sleeper picks that make it big and the all-stars that we fought for on draft night.

On top of the notion that girls don’t belong in the sport itself, there’s one that girls have no place in the fantasy football arena either, and it is an absurd assumption.

Football is not a complex concept, and while its emotional attachment is aimed at the high-testosterone crowd, women can still hold their own provided they have the knowledge that the borderline overzealous male fans have.

Women may not have the same adrenaline-fueled dedication to every single football game that’s ever been aired, but the comparison in capability stops there.

According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 5.4 million women play fantasy football. The men complaining about the women in their leagues must be losing to them, because websites like Yahoo! and ESPN certainly welcome the growing audience.
Women now make up 20 percent of all fantasy league players. The man’s world isn’t becoming soft or less manly, but is connecting the two genders that seem to have always been cheering for opposite teams.

Fantasy football creates a bond between men and women on a topic women have long given up on. When winning their fantasy league brings cash and, more importantly, bragging rights, women gain the respect of the men.

And while we women may still be the cutest of the football fans, our pom-poms and bows don’t cloud our ability to pick top players or win big games, because anything you can do, we can do better. Game on, boys.


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