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Same Ol' Same Ol'

Posted by Alex W.C. on 11:14 AM
If the truth be said, any good boys high school team could beat a woman's basketball team. Watching woman's basketball is like watching midget wrestling. No one but dikes and divorced woman who hate men go to WNBA games.

Anonymity. It is quite an empowering thing.

I say this because anonymity is what allows people to make as well as allowing me to read wonderful comments, like the one above. It is really easy to make sweeping, generalized, ignorant, stereotype driven, spiteful, and downright rude comments such as these when you don't have to say it to someone's face. However, after careful review of the article it was related to, I can see why it attracted such comments.

This comment came on the heels of an article in the Arizona Republic with regards to National Women in Sports Day. At first glance, you would think that an event such as this getting mainstream media attention would be a good thing. Take a closer look, and you will see, even effort to give exposure to a celebration of womens achievements in sports, it is still laced with contempt for having to do so.

Let's begin at the top - the headline:

National Girls and Women in Sports Day: Who knew?

Who knew indeed. It seems that columnist Scott Bordow is having quite a revelation; the fact that people can actually have appreciation for girls and women in sports, and yes, have the desire to want to celebrate it.

I will give credit to Mr. Bordow, as he does start the article out with a great deal of statistics to indicate positive progress for women in sports. The effort is there, and for the most part, feels real.

Which makes me wonder why he would immediately follow with this statement:

Yet there remains the need - or desire - for a national day to honor female athletes. Meanwhile, we don't celebrate Boys and Men in Sports Day.

Whether that's insecurity or inequality, you decide.


Hmm, so I should decide? It seems to me that Mr. Bordow has already done so.

For the record, we do celebrate Men in Sports day. On any given day, one can one can log on to the front page of any major sports news website; you'll see a celebration and adoration of men in several sports, and the other men who write about them. What more could you ask for?

I remember a celebration of boys in sports day, the same year the Phoenix Mercury claimed their first championship title in 2007. As the first professional basketball team in AZ to bring home a national title, you'd think they would make the front page, or at least the front page of the local sports section. Nope.

So who did make the front page of the sports section you ask? A little league boys baseball team, from Chandler AZ, that competed in the little league world series. There's your celebration of boys in sports day. Yup, looks pretty equal to me.

But he does have a point; it is so unfair Girls and Women in Sports get their own special day, one single day, and Boys and Men appear not to. Forgive me Mr. Bordow if I don't shed a tear.

If you didn't sense the sarcasm in that last statement, prepare yourself. I'm just getting started.

Mr. Bordow doesn't stop there, and why would he? He's already established his platform of the-men-don't-so-why-should-the-women mentality when it comes to gender and sports. At this point, I am curious as to why, just a few paragraphs before, did he comment about the establishment of title IX, and how it has had a positive impact on high school girls and their involvement on sports teams? Prior to title IX, men and boys were the only ones celebrated in sports quite often on a daily basis.

I know I've made that point, but I still can't wrap my head around it. Anyway, I digress.

Again, giving credit where credit is due, Mr. Bordow does make another accurate observation, one with which I agree:

It's no surprise that Wednesday's 25-year anniversary has generated so little attention. For one thing, it's the same day as college football's national signing day. That's not the smartest scheduling.

Indeed.

However, it is followed by a statement like this:

Furthermore, isn't it the responsibility of the teams or leagues to earn media attention?


He gives the example of the UCONN women's basketball program, and because of their championship status, that they receive a great deal of press. While this is true, and that UCONN does so because it has had a history of amazingly talented teams, it is not the only womens basketball program out there that is worthy of media attention. In this situation, I'd like to know exactly what a womens team needs to do to "earn" this attention. I have yet to see womens basketball or womens sports in general give any reason why the media should not give them any attention.

Bridget Pettis comments on why this is:

"The media is deciding what's important," Pettis said. "I think they decide it's not as important as men's sports. You watch ESPN, and you'll see billiards more than you will see women's basketball. I think we deserve just as much exposure and let the public decide for themselves."

Agreed. Networks have the right to choose what they want to air, and what they feel is important. How can something ever be popular if you never show it?

In short, this article is nothing new. It represents the begrudging efforts and short sided perspectives that result in reporting events with regards to women and sports. There really isn't that much to say that has already been said.

Simply, it boils down to two words for me, equal and fair. Often these words are used interchangeably, but they are quite different with regards to the message they bring.

Question:

Would it be equal to have a Boys and Men in sports day just like there is a Girls and Women in sports day? Yes, it would. In ever sense of the word, both groups would get equal representation for that one day.

Would it be fair ? I would argue, no. As I stated, men get a majority of the sports media attention in this country, and usually have no problem continually doing so. Events like the Super Bowl are a celebration of masculine representation in sports, a luxury that women in sports do not often get.

And as long as there are people like Scott Bordow writing articles like this, I doubt the attention that women in sports will receive will be anything that resembles fair.

Bridget Pettis made this rather poignant comment:

"It will be great when we don't have to recognize it," with regards to women in sports.

How true. If only this columnist could emulate the wisdom of those he interviews. I believe that would be quite fair.

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