Waking up on game day is probably one of the best feelings.
Well, I should clarify; “game day” can mean a number of things.
Over the summer, game day is waking up just a few hours before the game, wrapped in a Mets blanket and changing from an extra extra large shirt I caught during the t-shirt toss at a game into a jersey. My “baseball season” playlist is blasting from my phone all day. A bag is packed with a portable phone charger, enough money for overpriced ballpark food, and hand sanitizer (because the Mets-Willets Point Train Station isn’t the cleanest place). I don’t eat much during the day, because I know I’ll be filling up on hot dogs and ice cream as soon as I get to Citi Field. After security searches virtually everything I own, the sprint to batting practice starts. I can usually get a few autographs and pictures, and my favorite Citi Field security guard (shout-out to you, John) always finds me to give me a ball or some gum from the dugout. From there, it’s sprinting up to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda or the Promenade Level, wherever my tickets are for that game, and settling in for a fun night. Throughout the whole game, I’m on the edge of my seat. From singing every player’s walk-up songs, to calling pitches and praying for the competition to strike out. However, I find that I’m able to relax the minute that “Piano Man” by Billy Joel starts playing during the eighth inning. The train ride home is probably one of the most agonizing experiences ever for this claustrophobe, especially after the Mets lose (which they do quite often).
In the winter, game day feels like waking up at 6:00 AM, because school is still a thing...even on *game day*. The “hockey season” playlist is on in my earbuds in between classes, and lessons have never dragged on more. I usually wear whatever jersey I’m wearing that night, and if I’m lucky I get a few fist bumps and compliments from teachers and friends. The train ride to wherever I’m going, usually Brooklyn, is absolutely agonizing, but I’ve learned to love it. I perform the swift transition from the train, to the Jamaica station, to the train to Atlantic Terminal while completely on auto pilot. It’s like muscle memory takes over, with my ticket in between my fingers to show to the workers coming around on the car. From there, it’s “follow the people in the Islanders jerseys”, even though my own jersey never matches theirs. Going down to the glass for player warmups is probably the place where I’m most content. Just watching some of my favorite people do their thing, annoying remixes of songs blasting through the speakers. I end up taking hundreds of pictures, and adjusting my hair under my hat millions of times. Some nights I even catch a few pucks...and give them to kids, obviously. Definitely don’t have a pile of them on my night table. After warm-ups, it’s back up to section 107, tucking my bag, jacket and game program under the seat. I’m a lot more relaxed during hockey games rather than baseball, and I somehow keep from shaking and shivering in the freezing cold Barclays Center, all while wishing I was watching the game at Madison Square Garden. Then, after the game, I’m sprinting back towards Atlantic Terminal, standing on my toes to read the board and see which train to take, and, within minutes, I’m napping against a window in the fourth car.
I’ve been a huge sports fan for my entire life. That’s my dad’s fault. I fell in love with New York Mets baseball when I was about six years old, wearing my pink David Wright shirt and bright blue Mets hat everywhere I went. The infatuation with hockey came a few years later, when the New York Rangers welcomed lovable goon Derek Boogaard, remarkable goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, and everyone’s favorite rookie, Brandon Dubinsky. But, as amazing as game day can be, there’s always a glaring issue. I’m a girl. I know that probably doesn’t mean a lot to anyone reading this, but it plays a big part in my experiences at these events. There are some things about my game day routine that I left out. On the train to Mets games? I constantly get asked if I actually like Jacob deGrom, or if I just have his jersey because I “think he’s cute.” And, of course, I’ll never forget when I was yelling about a swing that should’ve counted as a strike, and a man I had never met turned around and asked my dad if that made him wish he had a son. Hockey is a whole other story. Liking a “bad” player gets you chirped a lot, so I guess you all can imagine what it’s like wearing a Ryan Strome or Max Domi jersey to games. That warrants a few more “you like him because he’s attractive” moments. The best, though, is when complete strangers ask you if you know what’s happening. My favorite was, “can you see the puck, sweetie?”
The purpose of this article was not to rant, though it seems like I went off a little there. Sorry. The point is, if you want to complain about something, you have to be willing to change it. So, last summer, after another Mets game where I was asked if I knew who was pitching that night (it was Matt Harvey, for the record), I decided to start making a difference. I took all of my gripes with how female sports fans are treated, and I turned them into articles and blog posts. Being able to get on my computer every day and write articles showing what I know about sports will hopefully start to help with making a better name for female sports fans. That’s what I’m most proud of. My goal is for “game day” to be a totally fun experience for women, free of ballpark quizzing and getting your knowledge questioned in the middle of your favorite arena. So, the next time you’re going to ask a girl if she can pronounce the name on the back of her jersey, think twice. She might be able to recite that guy’s stats off the top of her head. But, that’s just what I see; from the eyes of a female sports fan. Maybe, one day, some of you reading this will see what I see, too.