Trojan Women Have More to Prove in a USC Football World


C&G Shades On is a special weekly column from Sara Kakuris, bringing a die-hard USC fan’s voice and perspective to Reign of Troy. 

I can’t stand Erin Andrews, but I also don’t envy her position.

Women commentators are not respected the way their male counterparts are and it says a lot that, instead of moving on to a behind-the-desk job at ESPN or Fox Sports or even the Pac-12 Network, she becomes the host of Dancing with the Stars (which, full disclosure, I’ve never seen, but I’m assuming even the addition of Michael Strahan couldn’t make it on par with football).

Being a woman is hard and being a woman who is a diehard football fan is even harder.

There is not a single non-SC man who takes me seriously out of the gate when I say I’m a USC football fan. The most common response is a roll of the eyes and, “Right, well isn’t everyone in LA?” and a figurative pat on the head. “Good girl, you knew the name of a football team.”

That’s usually the point when I turn around and point to the giant SC football tattoo on my shoulder. That tends to shut them up, as a bandwagoner would only go that far if she was an outright lunatic.

But, sadly, there are others who continue. A few years back, a guy in a bar actually quizzed me to try and trip me up on my claim of being a fan.

“What team drafted Marqise Lee?”

“…None of them, because he’s not even draft eligible.”

“Who is SC’s quarterback?”

“There isn’t one in particular. Actually, we have three at the moment. I doubt it’s going to be the freshman. It could be Max Wittek, but I see him going with Cody Kessler.”

“Which SC player won the Heisman this year?”


He didn’t back down. And, while this is the most extreme example of what I’ve experienced, it’s not the only football quiz I’ve been given in an attempt to make me seem like a dumb girl trying to be cool.

Last season, I was walking in my Nelson Agholor jersey on an away game day with my boyfriend who was SC-attireless.

A car drove past us, completely ignoring me, who was several feet in front (I repeat, IN A USC JERSEY) and proceeded to ask my boyfriend what time the game started. He had to defer the question to me.

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The worst part of all of this is that I actually don’t know everything about football. I wasn’t raised with it and I have literally learned everything I know from reading books and asking questions.

It bothers me there are still intricacies I don’t understand and I am lucky that I surround myself with people who respect my football expertise and are happy to provide an extra tidbit of info.

Unfortunately, if a girl asks a ‘dumb question’ about football in public, the eye rolls and the head pats start all over again. A guy would just get a quick laugh-off and a beer for the same question.

A lot of people probably think I’m just whining at the moment, and maybe I am. But I have a feeling there is more than one woman reading this column and relating.

It sucks to have to prove your football intelligence at every turn, simply because you have hips and wear lipstick (sometimes). The redeeming factor in all of this is that I have never received a pat on my head from a fellow Trojan, only respect and comradery.

Trojans are just happy to have a bar buddy with whom to discuss Kessler’s Heisman (too soon?).

I welcome hearing your thoughts and any future ideas you’d like to see in a column. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @SCTrojanSara and tweet me any time.

See you next week and Fight On!

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