Friday, May 14, 2010

Love and Basketball


I was all set to ask my TGIF sexy survey questions to you all when I heard a rather ignorant statement made on the train this morning. Two girls were discussing their weekend plans, and one mentioned going to see Just Wright, the new romantic comedy starring Queen Latifah and Common...with his sexy self ;-)

The girls agreed that Common was the draw, but said they didn't believe there'd be any real chemistry between a guy who's supposed to be a basketball player and a "tomboyish" woman like Dana Owens. The one argued that perhaps it was her character's love of basketball that would draw him to her.

- "Nah, I doubt it...cuz only lesbians love basketball like that, and what man thinks THAT'S sexy?!"

What did she just say?

Only lesbians love basketball like that? da hell?

On what planet does that even make sense? All I could think of was all the women I knew growing up, and the women I know now, who LOVE sports - basketball, football, even hockey - who are FAR from lesbians. And what does sexuality have to do with loving, or NOT loving, sports? I know just as many "manly" men who have no interest in sports, or who have less knowledge of sports than I do. I don't consider them any less of a man because of it, even though society would probably tell you different. Strange? Perhaps. But less of a man? No.

Growing up, I can say I was what most would consider to be a tomboy. I scorned my sister's dolls, didn't walk around in my mom's heels, and I never tried to smear makeup on my face. I was interested in racing boys down the street, doing flips on monkey bars and going for rebounds while I scraped up my knees. I've had jammed fingers, a broken wrist, a hairline fracture in my right ankle and arthroscopic surgery on my left knee - all sports injuries. Sure, I'd jump double dutch and play jacks, but that was the extent of my "girlie" activities. For a brief stint, I had an obsession about doing my hair - which quickly gave way to me pulling it back into a ponytail everyday. And dresses? Forget it. Jeans and sneakers were my daily wardrobe choices - and unless it was the fourth Sunday of the month when I had to sing in my church's choir, you'd never catch me in a skirt. EVER.

My mom would say, "Can't you just wear a dress to school...just one day...for me?" And I'd say no, because "I hated pantyhose." She'd ask me to "dress up," and I'd refuse saying I wasn't comfortable in "frilly" clothes. The only times I felt the need to look like a "girl" were during my piano recitals, church, and the three proms I went on. And when I wore a dress...I WORE a dress. I still think I looked like Beyonce in my senior prom stunning, glittery, sexy dress...but I digress.

But "lesbian" never crossed anyone's mind when it came to me. I still had crushes on boys, told anyone who would listen that I was going to marry Michael Jackson, and all the members of New Edition were my boyfriends. My mother never worried about if I was going to be a lesbian simply because I loved sports. She never looked at me as the little doll she wanted to dress up in pretty pink outfits. She was proud of me and my sister just the way we were - and we were QUITE opposite. Nicole was the "girlie girl" who named all of her Cabbage Patch Kids (which I thought was totally lame) and who'd put on my mom's jewelry and dream of her wedding day. Me? Not so much.

If anything, I think my mother sort of admired my "boyish" pursuits. I was fearless, and had lots of energy because I was so active in sports. And I was also confident and ULTRA competitive, which carried over into all aspects of my life. I never did, and still don't, like to lose. EVER. My mother encourage that in me. All the adults in my life did. And not once was I made to feel weird about it. I never had trouble finding like-minded female friends. Boys respected (and feared) me, and not ONCE was my sexuality ever called into question.

So why on earth would these girls on the train make such an obtuse statement about only lesbians liking basketball? I can only imagine that they believe women engaging in "masculine" activities were somehow "harder" or "tougher" and not "soft" and "feminine." Maybe they believe that only "girlie girls" get the guy, and any signs of strength were too "manly."

Or maybe they just think Queen Latifah is a lesbian...who knows. But either way, who cares? And what does that have to do with liking basketball...or any other sport?

It has nothing to do with it.

Most folks are a bit more relaxed when it comes to women being tomboys. I think girls who have that label growing up ultimately find their photo placed under the "most likely to succeed" banner in their high school year book - I know I did. They're considered go-getters - competent, competitive, tough, smart, over-achievers who lead active lifestyles.

Men, on the other hand, who engage in or who have "feminine" interests, don't get that same benefit of the doubt. They make their parents, and those around them...nervous. It's the same homophobia that makes us cringe when we see a little boy playing with dolls that allows young ladies on the train to say all lesbians love basketball. We're more concerned with boys who seem feminine because the social stigma is much bigger. These boys are at risk of being bullied at school, or labeled and ridiculed for being gay even when they're not - simply because they love art and music more than they love football. All of which makes no sense at all.

Who knows where that ignorant statement came from the girl on the train today. The source of one's ignorance can come from many things - upbringing, peer pressure, the dreaded "media." Thankfully, I never heard such things from my parents or peers growing up. I was a tomboy, and no one cared. No one thought it was weird. No one thought I was a lesbian...and there would be nothing wrong with me even if I were. I didn't care about clothes, or hair, or being a "girl" - even though I will admit that to this day, I still wish I had learned how to apply makeup a little better (something my sister is an EXPERT at). Oh well, I can still learn right?

No, none of that was important to me. Being the best left wing on my field hockey team was all that mattered to me. Scoring 20 points and grabbing 15 rebounds was my mission. Upping my personal best in the high jump was my obsession. I didn't have time to worry if my shoes were cute, or if I left the house with earrings or lip gloss on. I was too busy preparing for my next track meet or basketball game...while wondering if any cute boys were gonna show up to cheer me on. Sure, I was a tomboy, but I still liked boys...and wearing sneakers and climbing trees didn't mean that there wasn't a girl lurking within. Not at all. The girl in me just had a better
jumpshot than you ;-)



JUSTBNME said...


Stef said...

Brooke! This was experty written! I love this blog!

The girls on the train just sounded ignorant. That was a stupid thing to say and it made no sense. People always think you have to be this pink, girlie girl to get the guy, and that is far from the case. While men like women to be feminine, it doesn't mean "frilly." I think there are lots of guys who like a tough girl with a sweet smile.

I think many men wouldn't think that you were manly at all Brooke, because you're tough and smart and feminine all at once. More girls should grow up with that spirit - instead of just worrying about being "cute" with no substance.

Great blog!

JUSTBNME said...

I agree with Stef,really great Blog!! I was a tomboy too and played basketball in highschool and college, and a couple of the girls on the team were lesbians, the vast majority weren't, we just happened to love the sport!

BTW..nice prom pic!

Jay said...

Brooke, you really need to get paid for your writing. Seriously!

That being said, this blog was great and summed up your thoughts beautifully. The girl on the train reflected what alot of women think of when they think of femininity and what they perceive to be "womanly." Women who love sports are lesbians and men who don't are gay...none of which is true or makes sense. But society has us conditioned to think this way, which is sad.

Women who are active, competitive, and ambitious are some of the most sexy and engaging women I know - and you are no exception. Like Stef said, more women should be open to interests that build character and give them substance instead of worrying about who thinks they're cute, putting on too much makeup or wearing clothes that make them look like Betty Boop or little girls. Sexy comes in many forms, and it doesn't require you to have your "hair did" at all times or a bunch of lipstick on. Confidence is sexy, and most women I know who love and play sports and have that confidence. Women who were "too cute" to get dirty or play sports were always a turnoff to me, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. While the plot to Just Wright is probably predictable and maybe a bit unrealistic, I think there might be a good lesson there to show that you don't have to be a size 2 or some dainty chick to get the guy. We like 'em all!

Great blog B!

Jay said...

And Brooke, you look sexy as HELL in that prom dress! Beyonce be damned! LOL!

annamaria said...

Those chicks were retards! Great blog by the way.. I was a tomboy. Always got dirty when they MADE me wear a dress. I threw my cabbage patch out the window (yes even back then I was homicidal...LOL) I even say Sophia will be forced to play sports because I will slit my wrists if I have to sit thru a ballet recital! LMAO
I love sports.. Baseball, basketball & football.. LUV THEM... And I don't think that makes me less womanly or sexy or makes me a
People are retarded!

Serena W. said...

Great blog Brookey!

I was a cross between girly and tomboy.

I still have all 13 Cabbage Patch Kids AND know their names :)

They are classics.

I collected and still collect porcelin dolls, etc. Jumped double dutch, Ms. Mary Mack, hop scotch...


I LOVED Basketball and Hip Hop danced! Ballet and tap was a no go!

And I'm sexy doing all of it and love men!

Those chicks are wick, wick, whack!

The stereotypes that are society have are startling! Very much so!

The nerve...

I always tell people that my future daughter will be like me. A B Girl jumping double dutch and playing with dolls lol!

Ain't nothing wrong with having a tomboy in you.

Oh and Brooke that prom pic is nice. But why can I see you at the prom with that dress doing the Kid n Play! Lol! Jamming on the one...

Brooke said...

Serena, you should see the pictures from the ACTUAL prom! I was wildin' out :) I was probably doing the running man or something :)

I think I just smiled pretty for the camera in front of my relatives who came to snap pics in front of the house - cuz I didn't come home looking like that. I probably had zero makeup on by the time I got home :)

Thanks for the compliments everyone and for not making fun of my "high hair." LOL! That pic is VERY 1991.

It was actually the one girl on the train who made that wack statement. The other one wasn't as bad, but you can tell she was trying to figure out if she should cosign that ignorance or not.

I knew plenty of women like you Serena, who were a great balance of both. They could play with dolls, then go bust your ass in basketball and not break a nail doing it. But sexuality shouldn't have anything to do with it. Just like there are big, strong, muscular dudes in the NFL and NBA who secretly are gay. You can't look at someone and know what their sexuality is...and it shouldn't matter, so long as they're good at what they do.

@Annamaria, I always thought I'd be cursed with a "girlie" daughter who would love dolls as my punishment for torturing my sister during our childhood for playing with dolls. If I DO have a girl who loves dolls and makeup and dresses, I'll still love her (but she'll have a basketball and football in her crib just to encourage the love of sports at an early age...just in case) :-)

The Cable Guy said...

Why am I not surprised Brooke played field hockey? :) LOL!

Brooke you look HOT in that dress! Who would EVER think you were a tomboy, let alone a lesbian??!!

The girls were dumb on the train, and women who not only love, but actually PLAY sports, is sexy as hell to me! You can box me out ANY day! LOL!

Serena W. said...

High hair was in! Especially the french rolls with the bump on top! lol!

I was once interested in a dude and he asked if we could chill on a Sunday afternoon back in 2008.

I said, "Sure we should go to the sports bar so I can watch my Giants destroy the Cowboys."

He was hesitant then finally said, "Oh I don't do football, etc."

Devastated and almost passing out I said, "Cool...I'll see you after the game."

Does it take away from the brother's gorgeous looks, great job, personality and spirit? Nope...he's just not into football but loves him some women lol!

Brooke you are so right! There are dudes up and down the court or on the field who are gay. They love the sport and are good at it and we can't take that away from them.

The other girl even though she didn't say much is wack too!

Brooke said...

LOL! Serena, you are crazy :-) LOL!

I know so many dudes who only watch sports seasonally, or who only play but don't watch, or who don't have any interest at all. While the ones who don't have ANY interest in sports AT ALL have baffled me at times, I never said "oh, he must be gay then" - I just thought he might be corny :)

And then I'd be proven wrong. He would normally wind up being a cool dude who just wasn't into sports like that. Go figure :)

Domina*tricks said...

and even if you WERE a lesbian, you'd be a HOT one ;-)

Great blog!

Serena W. said...

Baffled is a good term because I was very much so lol.

But never assumed the dude is gay. That's capital "W" whack for people who stereotype like that!

Anonymous said...

had a flashback...

I have always had a thing for althletic sexy chics...
i used to date this chic in HS who played ball right...and at every game there was her lesbian teammate (who was monstrous...)who would give me the stink eye bcs she wanted my girl...she was constantly trying to holla at my was awkward dealing with that..cuz you cant be aggressive like.."yo, dont look at my girl" TO a GIRL. So what did i do??...Everytime i came to a game and i saw the Cracken..i would give her the biggest hug (usually lifting her off the ground) and say...yo if i wasnt with my baby...ooooh you could get it! lol...(though the thought made me throw up in my mouth)it completely humiliated Magilla and threw her off her game..she would be ducking...trying to avoid me..and i would be chasing her like "come here girl where's my hug" girl use to crack up over that...
but i digress...Brooke..this is very well written blog...and ummm..

you look delicious in that prom dress...oooweee..that took me back's your booooy......

Serena W. said...

"Anonymous" is a trip!!!!!

Brooke said...

Zay ain't anonymous :-) LOL!

And I cracked up when I read "the Cracken" LOL!

Ms. Penn said...

This blog was great, and like everyone else said, very well written. I felt like I was reading an article in one of my favorite magazines or something. You really do need to get paid for writing Brooke, instead of writing just for US everyday, even though I do appreciate your posts!

Anonymous, that was a funny story! Although half of the women on my high school's bball team looked like and probably WERE lesbians, nobody cared. As long as they were winning games, that's all that mattered.

But to say that all women who like basketball or sports are lesbians is just silly. While I'm not the BIGGEST sports fan, I admire women who are and who have knowledge of any game - and I always feel like they have something I don' I would be more of a total package if I liked or knew something about sports...ANY sport. But that's just not my thing. That doesn't make me any more feminine than any other woman out there. Just means I'm not into sports, that's all.

And I know a few lesbians who don't know the first thing about sports. Generalizations like those are dangerous and serve no purpose but to isolate people. I hope those young ladies on the train get a clue. Great post!

Anonymous said...


Yes I AM Anonymous!!;0) It's your booooy...LOL..whiddup Re

Brooke said...

Okay Zay, you can be anonymous if you want to :-) think I look delicious huh? ;) LOL!

The Cable Guy said...

You look delicious to me! Now AND then!

Anonymous said...

ok here I am and I know I am a day late and a dollar short....ok first of lesbian never crossed my mind cause the only time I ever saw you in sneakers is while playing sports....I never pegged you as not being a girly girl cause you didn't play with a matter of fact I thought you were a girly girl just for the simple fact that you always wore dress shoes....I just thought you hated dolls!!!! yes I was a girly girl but you didn't tell them that I was your Coach too!!!! who got you through field hockey, b ball and track?!?!?! hmm that would be me...not Coach Bogan!!!! believe DAT!!!! I was the BOSS...still am that!!!!

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