Everything I know about sports comes from either my father or my husband, and even at that, the sum total of my knowledge could fit on the head of a pin. But I love how some players — of various sports — are such rampant individualists. I have to imagine that most men in a testosterone-fueled field such as football would hide any interest they had in a traditionally “feminine” area such as needlework. So it came as a very pleasant surprise to me to read this:
“People say ‘crochet, isn’t that something old ladies do?’ ” said Rivera… “Football is masculine and testosterone driven, but I think it shows you can do other things and be well rounded.”
So many people fall into the “what I do is who I am” trap. They let their occupations define them, rather than describe them. To get so caught up in one aspect of your identity seems unhealthy to me.
But more than that, to openly talk to ESPN about crochet shows real character. People often view things that are coded as feminine as being less valuable or worthy than things that are coded as masculine. For example, we view girls who want to do “boy things” with understanding, if not always approval. Who wouldn’t want to engage in higher-status behavior? But a boy who wants to do “girl things” is news — and a cause for concern. Feminine professions are paid less, traditionally feminine pastimes are viewed as “sissy”, etc. For a man in a very masculine profession to openly embrace a (devalued) feminine hobby such as crochet, and to view it merely as a part of being “well rounded” shows a thoughtfulness and consideration that is rare in today’s society (viz. the recent flap about the J. Crew toenail painting ad). It is very cool. And it reminds me that Rosey Greer likes to needlepoint — even authoring a book entitled Rosey Grier’s Needlepoint for Men. Which is also very cool.
* For a great picture of him teaching crochet to kids, take a look at this news story.