I am a woman who comes from the epi-centre of football country. I wear the tattoo of the OU Sooner fanclub on my heart. Crossing the border from Oklahoma territory to southern Ontario, hasn't decreased my zeal for all things Boomer Sooner. If anything, it's strengthened it. And speaking of my heart, its pressure is dangerously raised on Saturdays during the NCAA football season.
I am the daughter of a man who was interested in nearly every sport that involves a ball, and his interest was contagious. Although not every sport stuck with me over the years, I have played basketball, volleyball, tennis, soccer, and flag football. Throw in some neighbourhood baseball, track and field, and a few compound bow hunting lessons and you got yourself a regular tom-boy.
Growing up, I was told I could 'be whatever I wanna be' and to run faster, play harder, aim higher. I didn't always succeed at every sport or at every project thrown my way, but competition was bred in me at an early age and I have never been satisfied with settling or coming in second.
I am also the daughter of a typical Southern belle. My mother's decorated visage rose and set with the sun. Her barn was always painted, and painted well. She smelled pretty, polished her nails frequently, and crossed her legs properly. Growing up with her I was told, ''Rikki Lee, act like a lady,'' and "Close your legs. You're wearing a dress!'' Her interest in all things respectable was less contagious it seems.
Despite it all, I still 100% believed I was a princess. I loved lace and pink things and Barbie dolls. But I also loved 'kickin' a$$ and takin' names' as they say. I got into trouble both for arm-wrestling guys as a young woman, and for trying to shave my legs and wear make-up prematurely. I was and still am to this day, an uncanny mix of high heels and action.
Just the other day, my co-ed soccer team lost our play-off game in a bad way. My team cheerfully packed up their cleats and shin guards and remarked at how much fun they had. I, on the other hand, seethed a ''see you next week,'' and marched out with my backpack and over-sized spring-temps yellow leather purse on my shoulder.
As I continue to wrestle with this awkward balance of estrogen and a man-like fierceness, I do find some comfort in this blogger's words:
"It’s a complicated place for a woman who enjoys and celebrates being a woman to stand. I don’t want to be a man, but the desire for action, for heroism, for independent movement more than simply domestic often appears limited to masculine provinces."
I'm beginning to think I'm not alone after all. And that perhaps it'll be fun to watch 'nuture versus nature' battle it out a little while longer.