I Am Male… I am the default.
Most of my early memories revolve around sports. I can’t remember the televised bomb cameras of the Persian Gulf War, but I remember turning a Kleenex into a Homer Hanky for the 1991 World Series. I don’t remember much from 6th grade, but I do remember our perfect baseball season that summer. I can’t remember my family’s birthdays without a text from my sister, but I still remember playing competitive games of football alone, throwing passes to myself and falling to the ground as though I had just been tackled.
What? I grew up on a farm.
I played baseball, football, golf, and basketball. I played sports, which is why I was taken aback listening to the Half-Assed Morning Show on 93X a few weeks ago. The two DJs, Josh and Nick, were interviewing a Fox Sports North correspondent who would soon be covering Hockey Day Minnesota. Nick asked if she was ever injured while playing girls hockey in high school.
That was the moment I came to realize that I was the default. If something seems insulting about the fact that a sport is given a different name simply because of the sex of the athletes, then congratulations! You have at least the deductive reasoning skills of an elm tree.
But, hey! Maybe contact and checking are so integral to the game of hockey for you that women’s hockey isn’t “real” hockey. There’s something to be said for that line of reasoning. However, it still doesn’t take into account the much larger problem with “girl’s hockey.”
Men play in the National Basketball League. Women play in the Women’s National Basketball League. Men play on the PGA Tour. Women play on the Ladies PGA Tour. The message is clear: Men play sports, women play women’s sports. It’s not men’s sports and women’s sports. It’s regular sports and then the female variant of the be-donged default.
There are sports, like volleyball, that do the same thing in reverse. There are sports, like tennis, that get it right. Sadly, these are the exceptions to the rule.
Perhaps the most interesting part is that while men are the societal default, women are the biological default. Every baby is female until a Y chromosome gets involved (Thanks, Wikipedia!). Then, upon birth, that child leaves the relative meritocracy of the womb and enters American society. More like a merit-cock-racy? Amirite?
Maybe one day, after Title IX continues to guarantee athletic access to women, things will even out. Until then, I’ll just keep playing WNBA Live 2008.