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Odd Woman Out: Why Men Need To Stop Belittling Female Sports Fans

The year 2015 was one of equal rights for female sports fans.

There is nothing better than watching your team win a championship: the nail-biting baseball games, the football games that make you literally jump up and cheer and the hockey games that have you at the edge of your seat.

Sports are around to entertain and evoke passion.

They are a way to stay active, be a part of something greater than yourself and discover something you love.

Sports are for both men and women.

All my life, I've known I wanted to be a sports writer. I've known it with every fiber of my being.

I religiously follow the New York Yankees. I read the paper every morning, cut out clippings of my favorite articles and hoard them away to look back on later.

When people hear of my dream, the reaction I get is often, “Wow, you like sports?”

Just because I wear dresses and care about my appearance, doesn’t mean I can’t have a passion for sports.

The other reaction? “If you’re a Yankees fan, what is their starting rotation this season?”

Not only am I asked this, I'm also asked many other ridiculous questions such as, "What was the 1965 starting second baseman’s blood type?"

Seriously?

First of all, I know the answer. Second, why should I have to prove myself to someone else?

Would it be okay if I asked a guy the same question?

No. He would be offended that I questioned his knowledge.

Why shouldn’t it be the same way with women?

No girl should ever have to prove herself to any guy when it comes to her love of sports. Women are just as capable of being passionate about a specific team or sport.

In fact, there are many women who have more passion for their teams than some men.

When men hear another guy is from the same fan base, they instantly become best friends.

When they hear another guy is a fan of a rival, they go into all the reasons why their team is better.

With women -- no matter if they’re from the same fan base or not -- they're constantly questioned about the validity of their fandom, as if one simple question could discredit their genuineness.

That's not right.

Women shouldn't have to prove their loyalty to a sport or team to anyone.

The only competition should be the one on the field, court or any other sports surface.

Now, more than ever, is the time to accept the fact that women are equals in the sports fan world and deserve to be treated as such.

Not all women watch other women play sports.

Not all women go to the ballgames to socialize.

Women have just as much of a right to be involved in the joys of sporting events as anyone else.

The problem is, everyone assumes that when women express interest in sports, it's for some ridiculous reason, not because they like it.

They think women are trying too hard to impress guys.

They think women just want to join the conversation, but ultimately know nothing about sports anyway.

It's time to challenge that way of thinking and make people realize female sports fans are more than a figment of the imagination.

Yes, we do exist. Yes, we know our stuff.

This one is for all the women who prefer eye black to makeup and would rather spend Sundays watching football than waiting on people hand and foot.

This one is for the women who will gladly get in the middle of sports arguments because they know they're right.

Sports and passion should not be defined by gender. More and more women today are proving that.

So, the next time a woman has something to say about her favorite team, listen.

You might actually learn something from us, whether you like it or not.