The longest I paid attention to a football game was the one I played in, in 11th grade.
The boys dressed in skirts and threw pom poms. The girls dressed in tight pants and wore helmets and shoulder pads. It was the Annual Powder Puff Football Game.
I scored two 90 yard touchdowns.
I was told: when you get the ball, run.
Since I'm good with simple instructions, and not play-by-play handbooks, I did as I was told.
My team didn't win. And the Powder Puff tradition has been discontinued, due to coaches of the girls sports teams objecting to their soccer and field hockey players returning with jammed fingers and bruised tailbones.
(But it was really fun while it lasted.)
I returned from a bike ride today with Miss C around 4:30. The quiet street that we live on was filled with whoops and hollers and neighbors milling around on their front lawn, congratulating each other as if we had collectively won the lottery. One woman was nearly verklempt, "We've been losing for so long, it would have been okay if we lost. But it is so nice to win."
I won't even curse the team they speak of by naming them, but it's not the Rochester Radicals.
And they apparently have had a surprising season. As evidenced by all the people pouring out of their homes at 4:30 each Sunday, gasping for air and looking shocked with disbelief.
Sometimes, it is the fan that is in the arena, as much as it is the man that is in the arena.
Frank Deford is a writer and sports commentator.
Last week he read this piece that he wrote about female sideline reporters,
No Respect for Women on the Sidelines.
If you need a one sentence synopsis, this quote is it
television wouldn't dare allow a female up into the booth to actually call the game.So while we see what Deford calls highly overqualified and highly attractive women asking asinine questions down on the sidelines, there seems to be some unspoken law that keeps them there.
Despite that women do the job of calling the game in many other sports.
just as football offensive linemen are supposed to be fat, football sideline reporters are supposed to be women –– attractive women.......And so the sideliners are delegated to freeze down on the tundra while the male play-by-play announcer and his hefty old gridiron warrior expert babble on comfortably up in the heated booth.
The most asinine task sideliners are required to carry out is to ask coaches, before the second half, what plans they have for the rest of the game. The coach who's ahead says he wants to keep up the intensity and avoid turnovers. The coach who's behind says he wants to get more physical and avoid turnovers. Back to the booth. And all the guys watching with their buddies laugh at the ditzy babes who ask such obvious stupid questions.
But the irony is that most sideline reporters –– whatever sport, whichever gender –– really have done their homework and really do know their stuff. Most of them are terribly overqualified for the assignment of being a human scroll. But, of course, whereas it has not been uncommon for years for newspapers to have women on the football beat, television wouldn't dare allow a female up into the booth to actually call the game.
The funny thing is –– as I was reminded when I heard Mary Carillo doing tennis commentary during the U.S. Open –– is that when you hear a female voice in tandem with a male voice, the contrast sets off both advantageously –– as TV stations always pair male and female anchors on the local news.
But in sports television, sideline reporters can only go side to side, never up. Their place is down on the field, with the cheerleaders.
Highly overqualified and highly attractive.
And if in Western New York, highly cold.