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Gender Wars – Soccer Style

January 26, 2011

As someone who religiously follows sports teams, and pegs my emotional well-being to the highs and lows (mostly lows) to their successes and failures, there are few things I resent more than someone who jumps onto a bandwagon just as a team prepares to win a championship.

So, when Mads announced that she was a Phillies fan shortly before they made it to the World Series in 2008, something I had not been aware of despite 15 months of courtship, I was understandably miffed. Fueled by a decade of misery as an Orioles fan, I decided to test her  stance as a true fan. Made confident by a near 100% success rate in such situations, I challenged her to name more than three current Phillies players.

“I’ve seen her play softball, no chance she’s watched a full game of baseball before. Plus she’s a chick. How could this possibly go wrong?”

She proceeded to name roughly 15 of the 25 man roster. I was embarrassed.

She left me that October for Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Cliff Lee. Not really, but in spirit.

I learned my lesson that day, and fortunately suffered only minor consequences. This week, two soccer commentators in UK were not so lucky. Prior to a Liverpool v. Wolves game (which ended in a glorious 3-0 W for Liverpool), Andy Gray and Richard Keys made some comments that, amongst other things, showed their lack of confidence in a female linesman’s ability to make an accurate offsides call.

As luck would have it, the game’s first goal resulted from a no-call in a potential offsides situation from the female linesman, Sian Massey. Sure enough, after several replays it was clear that Massey made a terrific call. What followed was an amazing media storm that included prominent British athletes speaking out against the announcers, several journalists condemning what was said, and ultimately ended with Gray being fired (after another clip hit YouTube that includes the phrase “tuck this in, love“) and, interestingly, a rush by women to become referees.

We already knew the gender gap is closing, but when there is this strong of a reaction to this kind of situation, it’s all the more obvious.

Personally, I’m all for it because it means more people talking about sports and less about reality programming on Bravo. I’ll take the unthinkable reality of dating a Philly sports fan because I know it means more Terps and Caps and fewer episodes of Guiliana and Bill or Millionaire Matchmaker.

A world in which women love sports is a happier world. Now, we just have to figure out who is going to make the meals while the game is on.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2011 11:32 am

    The number of sexism videos is growing rapidly:

    They are being added by the hour. Incredible.

  2. Wayne-o permalink
    January 26, 2011 5:20 pm

    Awesome, my son. Simply well stroked!!!

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