COLUMN: Let’s crush stereotypes


Co-Editor-in-Chief Clara Sandler’s sports column analyzes current events in the sports world.

By Clara Sandler, Community Editor

My grandmother was the sports fan in my dad’s family. She was born in Dayton, Ohio, and went to Ohio State University, so she was a diehard Ohio and Buckeye fan. She loved football and she would watch baseball playoffs because otherwise it was too boring.

When she passed away in 2010, my dad included lyrics from Ohio’s state song on her headstone. And every week, when I sit down to watch football with my dad, we think of my grandma and all the nasty words she would call opponents.

My grandfather on the other hand, knows nothing about sports. He went to Yeshiva University, is a practicing doctor and fills his free time with either Torah learning or reading medical journals.

So for generations, my family has defied the stereotype that boys like sports, and girls do not.

My grandmother taught my dad sports, and my dad has taught me sports. I’m the firstborn in my family, and my dad did not care that I was a girl and taught me sports anyway.

My dad and I watch football, baseball and basketball together almost everyday.

I know sports and I love sports. I love writing about sports and watching sports and sometimes even consider going into a career of sports writing or analysis. But honestly, I am the least coordinated person probably ever, and I do not play sports.

Most of my female friends do not follow sports. Some definitely play, but in regards to watching, some get interested if the Dodgers are good or if they like a boy who’s into sports, but most do not care at all.

Because of that, I often hang out with boys so that I can talk about sports with other people who are interested. Sometimes, boys forget that I’m a girl and say things about other girls when I’m right there, that are either brutally offensive or inappropriate.

is culture of a boy-dominated sports world does not end in the teenage years — I have so often been invited to people’s houses to watch games, and the men sit on the couch and the women stay in the kitchen. And I do not understand that dynamic — when was it decided that men like sports and women do not? How can we change this paradigm?

I think I may have come to a possible answer. There’s an inherent, probably subconscious misogyny in the sports world. When you watch panels of sports analysts, most are men. Most sports reporters and writers are men, too. I think this culture of men in sports, especially since most sports are also dominated by male players, contributes to this misogynistic attitude.

Also, I have found that the women are often wearing lots of makeup and fancy jewelry. There have also been very noticeable mistakes that female commentators have made that have been frustrating. If you’re going to put women there, shouldn’t they represent women by being accurate?

In the wake of all the sexual harassment claims, we have the responsibility to recognize the sexual harassment that happens to boys and girls — that no one is immune to predators or prejudice.

I am not going to sit here and bash my guy friends, because I know that they’re great, well-meaning people with bright futures. Furthermore, I know that when I sit around with my female friends, we have said things that about boys that I would not want said about me.

As Jews, we are supposed to be the ohr lagoyim, a light unto the nations, so let’s start here in our Shalhevet community. I challenge all boys to teach sports to their daughters someday, or to try and get your mom to come and watch a game with you. I challenge girls to sit with your dad and ask the million questions so that you can understand the game.

Sports are beautiful. If you really watch, you begin to appreciate the beauty of a 40-yard hail-mary made on the football field, a 450-foot home-run that flies over fans or when someone hits a buzzer-beater to send the game into overtime.

Let’s crush stereotypes. And even if sports aren’t your thing, that’s alright. It’s equally important to be true to yourself. If you’re a boy who doesn’t like sports, that’s okay. If you’re a girl who loves sports, that’s fine!

I could not be more proud that my family has defied this cliche for generations. I know my grandmother is proud that I follow sports, I know that my dad is proud that his daughter loves sports. Finally, I know that someday my kids will appreciate that their mother yells at the players on the TV, because the players definitely hear my advice all the way from my couch.