Garret Mathews / Lifestyle & Retirement

In Defense: My Embattled (Male) Gender

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   I rise today to speak in defense of my embattled gender.

From Boston to Berlin, we hear the same outcry from females of the species:

“Why do you idiots park your carcasses in front of TV for hours at a time to watch brutes in red uniforms commit felonious assault against brutes in blue uniforms?”

Put in simpler terms, ladies, you want to know why we males love sports so much that we would howl in protest if a playoff game was interrupted for team coverage of the end of the world.

Ladies, I have two answers to your burning question. Would you prefer the simple or the more complex version?

(Loud chorus: “The simple one, fool. You’re not smart enough for complexity.&rdquoWink

Very well. This strikes at the very root of our existence. Males like to be spectators at events where there is an excellent chance somebody is going to get hurt. Women go for the “Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” Guys go for life-saving crews.

In baseball, a hitter can be beaned by a 98-mile-per-hour fastball. In hockey, a slapshot can go completely through a player’s body and exit in the goal. In football, if you fumble the pigskin, you will find out how it feels to be a doormat at a prison during a jailbreak.

The resulting agony fuels our passion for the game. We count the number of ammonia capsules it takes to get Brutus breathing again. We count the number of surgeons it takes to put his esophagus back in place.

Then when the guy re-enters the game after taking more dope than if he was at a Haight-Asbury picnic, we cheer his courage and devotion and wish we could be just like him.

And that’s why we watch sports. Understand, ladies?

(Loud chorus: “That made absolutely no sense. Give us the complex version and this had better be good.”

Very well, ladies. Shaquille O’Neal is a very large man who used to play professional basketball. He is more than 7 feet tall, weighs 350 pounds and can bench-press a factory.

Imagine Shaq at the top of the key with the basketball. He thunders toward the basket with plans to deliver a rim-rattling dunk.

A much smaller player on the opposing team has the job of getting in Shaq’s way. He will fail miserably and be knocked into the 10th row. Then he’ll be put in a body cast and be medivaced to the nearest health-care provider.

Males watching at home will praise the defender’s testicular talents as they open another six-pack.

There are 10 TV replays of the injury, each showing a different X-ray. The men will exclaim that there hasn’t been such bravery since the Alamo.

They will salute the fallen player and hope he recovers at least a portion of his mental capacity. Then, in a ritualistic display of male bonding, they will put hands on each other’s shoulders and go around the room in an alcohol-fueled conga line.

(Loud chorus: “Guys are morons.” )

   First and goal on that.
Editor’s Notes:  Garret Mathews tells us:   I’m retired from writing the metro column for the Evansville, Ind., Courier & Press. In a 39-year career, I penned more than 6,500 pieces on every subject from moonshiners to murderers. You can read some of my work by going to and clicking on the Favorites icon.  For information on other projects, click on Coming Together and FolksAreTalking on the Plugger site.” Also, go to, and, for even MORE great articles from Garret, click here!  Email Garret at He’d love to hear from you!

Garret Mathews is retired from writing the metro column for the Evansville, Ind., Courier & Press. He penned more than 6,500 pieces on every subject from moonshiners to murderers and Appalachian snake handlers to mail-order brides. His legacy website ( contains links to columns – his (“Favorites”) and those mostly written by others (“Columnists: While We’re Still Around”). At “Coming Together,” you can access interviews Mathews conducted with civil rights volunteers who went South in the ‘60s to register voters and desegregate schools and businesses. At “Folks Are Talking,” you can read several dozen feature stories and columns (early United Mine Workers organizers, early coal hand loaders and a female furrier who dissected muskrats while eating peanut butter sandwiches) that Mathews wrote during the ‘70s when he worked in Southern West Virginia. He and his wife MaryAnne moved to Carmel in 2013 to dote on their grandchildren, Gavin and Ben.

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