Column: Why don’t people watch women’s sports?


Despite the fact that the volleyball team is consistently ranked in the top 10 teams of the nation, very few fans come out to support them in the stands. Photo by Allison Wolff

Welcome back to Hester’s thoughts. This article is about watching women’s sports and why people do not do that thing. There’s a simple answer: People do not watch women’s sports because they do not want to watch women’s sports. Boom. Article over.

For example, our volleyball team is nationally ranked. They are high-key very good. Yet the games don’t really seem to draw much of a crowd unless they offer free shirts, in which case I will be there for five minutes. Actually I was there for five minutes and I was 15 minutes too late and did not get a shirt and I’m not salty at all.

The main question I will thus explore is why people do not like women’s sports as much as they like men’s. Surprise! Patriarchy is the answer.

Your childhood relationship with sports usually informs sports preferences you carry into adulthood. While I now know there are subtle differences between things like tennis and baseball and softball and hardball and moneyball and José Altuve, since I didn’t grow up in sports I still do not have much preference based on childhood and am therefore, a pure and better sports fan than any of you brainwashed losers.

Just kidding, I suck. I’m not entirely immune either. As a kid, the one professional sports game I went to was a Houston Astros baseball game.

You watch what you watch because you watched it when you were young. This is why you love the Patriots or why you hate the Patriots “” or, if you never watched sports, why you honestly do not care about the Patriots.

But if you are like the majority of the sports-watching population, you probably did not watch women’s sports growing up, except the occasional Olympic gymnastic or ice skating event every four years. (Team Kerrigan all the way).

“Women’s sports aren’t interesting,” someone says in a hushed voice, as if they are almost ashamed of the statement. They then explain scientifically, “You know, ’cause girls aren’t as good at sports.”

Hey, I’m not mad at you, friend-pal who hypothetically said this. I am kind of annoyed by the logic that this statement assumes, but I will not blame this on you, you sweet, sweet douchebag.

If you look at sports and athleticism as being defined through terms of masculinity “” as it has been since the year Forever B.C. “” then yes, men are clearly more athletic than women and yes, men’s sports are of a higher quality. You can prove this with mere numbers. It is not hard.

Strong is “having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks,” according to the Oxford English dictionary. Using this first definition of strong, most men are stronger than most women. The second definition of strong, however, is “able to withstand great force or pressure; showing determination, self-control, and good judgment.” According to this definition, most women are stronger than most men. Herein lies the crux of my argument.

There is an idea that female sports are a lesser version of their male counterparts, based on an assumption that females should be judged by male traits. If you judge a woman based on male traits, she will fall short, because that is like judging a baseball player based on his bowling game. José Altuve is probably an excellent bowler.

Trinity men and women’s soccer are both brilliant and successful. The men move and attack quicker, the women finish more. Neither plays a better game. They play a different game. There is value in both, but for different reasons.

For many people who grew up watching men’s sports, they say that fast-paced games are more entertaining. Why is this? If we truly value sports that are quicker, then fast-pitch softball should be more interesting to consumers than baseball. Try and name one professional softball player. OK, name one professional softball player besides Jenny Finch. Now name one professional baseball player. *cough cough* José… Lobatà³n. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

I have said the patriarchy is behind all of this. It is. Sports and the whole dang world were dominated by men since Forever B.C., and real talk, they still are. Every time a great woman steps up to change the game, she faces immense challenges in doing so.

There are still a lot of questions to be answered, and to be asked. Why does the US Women’s National Soccer Team make less money than the men’s, despite the fact that women are dope champions and the men low-key suck?

Sometimes the odds seem insurmountable, like nothing we do or say makes a difference. It is easy to think that women’s sports will never be equal to men’s and in my lifetime, and they probably won’t be.

You know what else makes a difference when nothing else can? José Altuve in Game 6 of the World Series.