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Why don’t girls watch sports?

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, March 23, 2006

Why don’t girls like watching sports?

We all know the immediate answer to this question. “It’s a guy thing” – full-fledged brawn versus brawn, the testosterone-fueled competitive spirit, the innate drive for victory, the killer instinct. On the whole, girls just aren’t interested.

But, logically speaking, we should be.

The athletic world is one of epic drama. It’s “Dawson’s Creek” on steroids – or “absolutely not” on steroids if you’re Barry Bonds. Or Jose Canseco. Or Marion Jones. You get the idea.

Sporting events themselves involve last-second heaves toward the basket, fourth and long Hail Mary plays, bench-clearing fights and paralysis-inducing checks – let alone the theatrical circus that takes place off the playing field.

Between the back-and-forth bickering, party boat sex scandals and multimillion dollar deals, ESPN gives the WB a run for their money in the drama department. “Laguna Beach” catfights have got nothing on March Madness. And believe it or not, LC is much less entertaining to watch than JJ.

My argument is simple. Sport is a form of organized hysteria and drama. Girls have a flair for the dramatic. Therefore, logically speaking, girls should enjoy watching sports. They should be glued to Sportscenter like they are glued to “Smallville.” They should watch Gameday as religiously as they watch “Gilmore Girls.” But they don’t, and I just don’t get it.

Perhaps it’s a matter of comprehension, the inability or unwillingness to learn the more complex strategies and tactics of many sports. Perhaps girls are lost in a sea of X’s and O’s, and thus turned off by the athletics that dominate television today.

But let’s give the girls some credit. If you can follow the storyline of one season of “The OC,” you should be able to define the terms “safety,” “icing,” or “charge.” If you can name half of this season’s “Real World” cast members, you should be able to identify at least some of the teams in the major professional leagues.

I’m not advocating we all kick off our heels, turn off “America’s Next Top Model,” remove our hot pink nail polish and remove all Jessica Simpson songs from our iTunes playlists – God no. We can leave the buffalo wing devouring, beer guzzling and baboon-like sound effects to our male counterparts, but still have some interest in athletics as entertainment.

We don’t need to become complete sports buffs because, let’s be honest, there are some facets of the sporting world that aren’t so entertaining. In fact, they are quite boring and it’s enigmatic how much interest men have in such issues. The rote memorization of stats and rosters, deliberation over which commentator is most senile or which coach has the best-looking wife – let’s leave these to the guys and focus on what’s most important.

The blood, sweat and tears. The drama of sport.