An excellent description of a typical female sports fan experience:
One time in college, I sat with three male friends at lunch while they discussed the previous night’s World Series game, and one of them said, "Toronto’s got it locked up tonight," and another one said, "Yeah, Key’s pitching," and the first one said, "He’s fuckin’ amazing, dude, he doesn’t even throw that hard and he just mows them down," and then I commented, while reaching across the table for the pepper shaker, that Key’s delivery confuses the hitters because he blocks the point of release with his shoulder and the guy at the plate can’t pick up the seams, and the second guy said, "Yeah, exactly. Wait a minute, WHAT DID YOU SAY?" and all three of them sort of plunked their forks down and stared at me with that "we can’t reconcile your breasts with your knowledge of the infield-fly rule" look that I have gotten from men so many times while talking about baseball, and I looked up from seasoning my soup to find them all gaping at me like I had just announced that I prefer to pee standing up or something, and I said, "What?" and the first guy said, "Nothing. So - you know, like, a lot about baseball," in an admiring tone of voice, which I liked on the one hand, but on the other hand, they obviously wouldn’t have included me in the conversation if I hadn’t spoken up because they just assumed that a person with ovaries would have no interest in it, which irritated me.(Tomato Nation)
I have, to understate things ridiculously, experienced this phenomenon.
Example: a few weeks ago a sales rep from one of my company's vendors came to the office to meet with our Purchasing Manager. The Purchasing Manager sits right next to the coffee machine / refrigerator / water cooler area, an area I was using at the time of this occurrence. In attempting to make small talk, the sales rep began bantering with the Purchasing Manager and another male employee of my company that I know for a fact knows nothing about, and dislikes, baseball--about the Red Sox.
He started spouting off wildly inaccurate statements about Embree and Foulke, respectively, statements that made my jaw drop silently behind his back. Statements I could barely suppress my laughter at. Statements only made by someone who thinks / knows that "how bout them Red Sox" is typically safe ground when striking up conversation with fellow men in the Boston area, and little else.
I think for a long time among men, talking sports became a kind of shorthand. Code talk where they could speak in a highly avoidant way of emotions and / or problems through discussion of an athlete / team's highly physical, concrete difficulties or strategies. "Foulke sucks this season, they ought to let Embree close instead. He's good." Could mean, for example, something like, "I'm trying my balls off to get a promotion at my job, man, but nothing seems to be working...help me out, would ya?" In the context of the particular conversation I overheard.
Guys could talk to one another about any number of otherwise uncomfortable subjects this way, including impotence--"Brady's having trouble penetrating the zone"--unstable marriages--"The Celtics just can't work together as a team"--and family disputes--"You think the hockey lockout's gonna last forever, or are those guys finally gonna bury the hatchet?"
And I could see it feeling like a violation, if women suddenly start speaking The Code, or at least understanding the language of sports well enough to a) question the knowledge of the male doing the talking or b) expose the symbolic nature of his statements.
I think of how I would feel if (heterosexual) men suddenly started invading our territory of Ben and Jerry's and weepy chick-flicks to deal with problems, or going to the bathroom in pairs. I'd feel kinda invaded.
But does that mean they shouldn't get over it? Should women expect equal treatment as sports fans, or should they be separate? Do men have a right to protect their social refuge? Whaddya say?