First Person Singular: Kimberly Hollingsworth, founder of Even the Score

Hollingsworth: "Sports is like this one thing that can break down barriers and get a conversation going if you know what you're talking about." (Benjamin C. Tankersley - )
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

I could watch sports 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if someone would let me. I've always been like this. My sister always wanted me to play with her tea set and dollies, and I was like, "Nuh-uh." Every Christmas, I'd beg for one of those electronic football games, the ones that shake and buzz, with the Cowboys -- that's my team -- on one end and the Steelers on the other. And then for, like, four Christmases in a row, there'd be one under the tree, and every time, it would go to one of my brothers.

I always knew I wanted to do something with sports. I was having these parties, just as an excuse to get my girlfriends to watch football with me. I knew this was a real opportunity -- there had to be other women like my friends who were always, always asking me to explain what just happened.

It wasn't that they hated sports; they just hated not having any idea what was happening and looking stupid. That was when the light bulb went off: I could host parties for women; we could relax, have some cocktails, watch games, and I could teach them about the rules.

In 2007, I started doing focus groups, and the number one thing I heard from women was, "Let me into this world that my husband loves." I also heard from men who were afraid we were going to invade their territory, where they go to escape. But that's not what we're trying to do; we're not trying to take sports away from anybody. There's enough of it to go around. It's fun. It's not politics. You get to root for a team and feel part of something, well, loud and crazy. And you can get a manicure or a head massage while you're trying to learn why the penalty flag was thrown or talk about LeBron.

And the funny thing is, for as many women we have signing up, we get a lot of guys, too, who just want to better understand the game or meet some women who do. Sports is like this one thing that can break down barriers and get a conversation going if you know what you're talking about. I'm trying to help more people know what they're talking about.

I was a little worried about burning out, spending every football game "on" as the Even the Score woman, but I'm still fired up about this. But I'll tell you, some of the best Sundays are when I get up, go to the early service, then get home to my own couch, put on my Cowboys jersey, get some wings and watch the game all by myself.

Interview by Amanda Long

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