Today there are growing numbers of women who watch not just the classy and gentle cricket, golf or tennis. They go to rugby or soccer matches and yell loudly to urge on their teams.
There is something about men in shorts and sweaty rugby or soccer jerseys that just pumps our adrenalin and drives us to do crazy things. We scream, we jump and others wiggle their bottoms and the truth is we never even think or worry about our weird behaviour.
On Sunday I watched the finals of the International 7 Rugby Tournament. The main event between the South African Buffaloes and Zimbabwe’s Goshawks drove the small but vibrant crowd of Zimbabweans of all shades, hues and sizes into frenzy every time the Goshawks got the ball. We simply had to win. Losing would have killed us.
When you spend so much time worrying about friends and relatives all up for mad political charges and facing the possibility of being locked up anytime someone wants to show how powerful they are, it is hard to imagine that we actually have brief respites of normalcy. Sunday was one such day when we actually felt like we inhabited a normal country.
When you are watching tennis, cricket or golf you control your emotions and celebrate in a much more controlled manner but the rough and tumble games of soccer and rugby just need a bit more spirit.
I am certain one day research will find out that when a soccer or rugby game gets rough, something is released in the air that when inhaled by spectators, turns them into euphoric or angry beasts.
My friends and I claim we do not like violence, what we should say is that we are against domestic and politically motivated violence. When our teams are out there playing we forget ourselves and are not past goading the rival team. We give as much as we get. It is a mad kind of freedom where you lose your senses for less than two hours. As long as the game is on, nothing else matters.
The truth is that when women watch sport, they are not doing it just for the fun of the game but they are also admiring some of the men. And yes, we also fantasise about some of them — why do you think women drool after David Beckham, Andy Carroll, Didier Drogba or Tendai Mutawarira? We look beyond those shorts. I could go on. Have you noticed the long legs and toned muscles of some of the cricketers?
While our men are salivating at the pretty cheerleaders at every touch down, goal scored or six hit, we are busy having naughty thoughts of our own — and they involve the sportsmen.
A friend of mine figures the reason why most women love Denzel Washington is because he is built like a basketball player. Women fantasise about being held in those strong but gentle looking arms.
I know we talk tough at work and want equal opportunities — the whole nine yards but we have our moments when we want to be dominated! That is also one of the reasons why some women will never go out with a skinny man.
You look around you and find a very small woman with a man that looks as big as Mount Kilimanjaro. She is just fulfilling her fantasies.
So many times after a game, men discuss that penalty or how that wicket was lost but sometimes I am one of those women who just sits there and I am thinking he has such an amazing build and carries himself so gracefully or what a beautiful smile.
When Arsenal’s Van Persie scored twice against Liverpool last weekend, watching the replay all I kept on thinking was how skilful and strong his legs were. I just did not have a woman sitting next to me to share my thoughts with but I can assure you they were very impure.
Anyway impure thoughts or not I did enjoy rugby on Sunday and it just gave me a warm feeling seeing the mixed crowd cheer on the Goshawks as one small family. Those who preach the politics of racism would have been very disappointed.
Let’s build on sport to cultivate love, harmony
Small pockets of sanity like the match on Sunday are what we should build on and refuse to be driven down the road to perdition. The small opportunities we get to build a solid foundation of love and harmony should not be squandered. I hope next time there is cricket or rugby; Harare Sports Club will have to turn back multitudes of people for lack of space.
By Grace Mutandwa