2006-04-05

You Go Girl

My mom converted me to become a women's basketball fan.

It's the best entertainment around. The men's tournament games were not even close to being as exciting as the women's. George mason was a good story but come on.... Maryland won the tournament and they are a team of freshman, sophomores, and one junior with a coach who's only been at it for five years.

In one of the final four games, UNC was playing Maryland. UNC was undefeated for their entire regular season but for one loss to none other than Maryland. Even if I didn't like basketball, it was a game that was riveting. UNC was going to lose again.
In the final 27 seconds of the game, one of the UNC stars, Ivory Latta, lifted a Maryland player off of the ground and pretty much body slammed her.
A foul was called and the UNC player left the court, shook hands with the opposing coaching staff, adjusted her pony-tail and sat down on the bench.

If that had been a men's game, there would have been a fucking riot. First of all, a guy who gets body-slammed on national television in a theoretically non-contact sport would have his little ego hurting so bad, he would have to give some macho show of retaliation. The guy who did the slamming would come off looking like a punk who's pissed because he's going to lose.
Nobody would shake hands with anybody and there would be headlines the next day about how the sport of college basketball has been corrupted by the angry youth.

But the ladies?
Totally physical, totally obvious, and totally classy game-playing. They are smoother on the court and they work together better and they probably could handily out-play any of the menís teams that I watched over the course of the tournament.

So interestingly, in spite of all those things, Iíve recently started to find a reason as to why womenís team sports are generally looked down upon. A female athlete who succeeds on her own is a star. Mary Lou Retton, Joan Benoit, and Maria Sharipova all get attention and respect. Women who play on teams are assumed to be lesbians or entertainers.
Iím embroiled in a disagreement with my mother about Rollerderby. I donít get it. Itís a team sport with strict rules, detailed expectations, and a nationwide network of teams. She thinks it is entertainment, not a sport.

A friend of mine said that she hates womenís sports. She didnít really detail why expect to say that itís not as interesting as men. Part of whatís not as interesting is that men donít watch womenís sports so thereís not really anyone to talk to about womenís sports because men seem to generally dictate the topics of conversation in which we all engage. Not once have I been in a boardroom when the pre-meeting chit-chat was about cats, crocheting, or womenís sports. I think the simple logic here is that if men arenít paying attention, then thereís nothing in it that is valuable to me.
Men drive everything and thatís so stupid.
Men donít like womenís basketball because they see big dykey girls on the TV and whatís the value there?
Women donít like womenís basketball because there arenít any guys watching it.

If people who claim to watch sports because they like the game and say that they watch sports because there is nothing cultural or sexual driving that love of watching the game, if you put them in a room and showed one half of a menís game and one half of a womenís game every single one of those people would say that the womenís half was better.

I wish the stereotypes could be removed from womenís team sports but the fact is that they never will go away, ever. Rollergirls will always be considered to be exhibitionists who are more violent than their basketball sisters. Softball payers will always be called lesbians, even if they are just paying because they like to be in the company of a group of women without being competitive within the group. Volleyball players will always be on TV because of their swim-suits, not because of their athletic prowess.

Itís ridiculous that women play better, smarted, and sometimes harder than the guys and get no love because the guys are too busy with themselves.

Ridiculous.
Women are so suspicious of each other that even those of us who do genuinely enjoy the beauty of a game, any game, will assume that a different sport must be less of a sport and more of a venue for deviance.

I do not understand my gender and I am probably done listening to any member of it complaining about sexism unless that member is prepared to actually support her sisters.
Team sports have shown me that you donít have to be a lesbian, a man-hater, a nerd, or a relative to believe in and enjoy women. And you know? Until women are even remotely supportive of each other, girlsí soccer will get cancelled and boysí wonít; lacrosse teams will gang rape young women; and we will never get to talk about cats in the boardroom before the meeting starts.

arizonasarah at 2:18 p.m.

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