I heard a debate recently on whether or not females make good in-game sports announcers, primarily in football. The guy against them didn’t have a strong argument outside of, “I don’t like it,” and the guy for it played the equal rights card and suggested the best woman is far better than the worst male. While undoubtedly true, it’s completely irrelevant. He went on to jokingly call his opponent a sexist, chauvinistic simpleton.
Then I realized how strongly I disliked female football announcers too. Am I sexist? Am I chauvinistic simpleton? I say unequivocally no.
Don’t get me wrong. I love coming home to a freshly made delicious dinner my girlfriend has prepared. But I don’t want her in the kitchen barefoot with an apron. I’m perfectly happy that she cooks in her business casual attire after working all day long herself. I support her and the money she contributes towards the bills. I don’t have anything against women working, just as long as they aren’t the ones calling my football games.
It’s not that I think women aren’t capable. I’m sure their dads and brothers taught them the basic rules of the game, how to keep score, and where they keep the water on the sidelines. It’s not their knowledge, or lack thereof, that irks me when they’re behind the mic. It’s simply their voice. It just doesn’t fit.
We’ve all met someone whose voice didn’t match their body. Whether it’s the ‘roided-up gorilla meathead with a squeaky voice or the petite cutie that sounds like a sixty-year-old lifelong smoker, we have all run into that vocal paradox that makes our head spin. Everything that person says gets lost behind the trance their voice puts you in. They might as well have a baseball sized mole on their forehead.
This is the way I feel when a female announces a football game. Football is a man’s game. Outside of the few women who have made their way onto high school squads as kickers, it is the only sport that women don’t play. Football feeds the inner gladiator in us all. It brings out our primal thirst for violence while implementing war-like strategy. George Carlin described it best.
Football is played on a gridiron in a stadium with names like War Memorial Stadium. (…) The object of the game is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy despite of a blitz and even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory balancing his aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the defensive line.
To serenade such manly event with a feminine voice-over disrupts its proper atmosphere. It turns a poker game with beer, cigar, and farts into a game of rummy with pretzels and punch.
For those who insist it makes no difference, and that some women are extremely talented in the art of play-by-play, where do we draw the line? Would you be okay with a 10 year old boy announcer? He might be the most football knowledgeable 10 year old in the world, but everyone would agree his voice belongs in the Vienna Boys Choir, not among the Dallas Cowboys.
What about a 100 year old lady? Would that be okay? She has 80 years of experience watching football and remembers players you’ve only seen on ESPN Classic. Would she be a suitable announcer?
There are some sports I think women can call and nothing is lost. Take basketball for example. As bad as women are at it, they do play it a lot, and it’s not exactly the full-contact barbarian battlefield football is. Women even have their own (subsidized) professional league with games on TV and everything. Because of this female prevalence in basketball, it doesn’t make me cringe when they call a men’s game. They can have their free reign of volleyball, lacrosse, and field hockey as well. But when pads begin to crack and the cool autumn air hits, lets keep the estrogen in skimpy clothing on the sideline and let the fellas handle the play-by-play. We should be afforded that much chauvinism.