Monday, July 18, 2011

Women Are From Venus, Plaschke Is From The Early 1900s

Reading Sunday's Bill Plaschke article on the US Women's World Cup Team, "Putting together a sports team of winners? Men need not apply", I was flabbergasted by Plaschke's gross generalizations of women athletes as selfless team players, versus male athletes of conceit and egotism.

Plaschke has daughters of his own, so he is probably aware of the women's suffrage movement in this country of almost a century ago. But there was his article, based in a premise that implied a lack of understanding of gender equality in the first place:

With their status often based on nightly highlights and rich endorsements, the men's team athletes in this country are increasingly about themselves. How many times do you see a team achievement overshadowed by an individual celebration? How many times is their biggest competition not on the playing field, but their locker room, everyone wanting their touches, their moments, their fame?

Perhaps because they receive little of the attention and none of the riches, most of our women athletes are all about one another. Our most hyped women's soccer star, Mia Hamm, never acted like a star. Our most glamorous women's basketball player, Lisa Leslie, was forever leaning down to give credit somewhere else.

Perhaps Mia Hamm never acted like a star because, rightfully or wrongfully, her salaries and endorsement contracts weren't as astronomically lucrative as her male counterparts (including her husband, former Dodger Nomar Garciaparra--who also was a pretty nice guy on and off the field despite being a star in his own right). Or perhaps Hamm is just a nice person, like plenty of other male athletes.

Perhaps Lisa Leslie was leaning down to give credit somewhere else because she is so frickin' tall, too.

But wait a minute, Plaschke can't be simply insinuating that women athletes are more compassionate, right? Because we wouldn't want to be obscuring the exciting accomplishments of our national team with a heaping scoop of gender stereotyping, I assume.

"I liken the situation of our women athletes to that of this country's new immigrant populations," said Donna Lopiano, former longtime chief executive of the Women's Sports Foundation and one of this country's most influential women's sports figures. "Those immigrant populations were given an opportunity they had never been given before, so they embraced it, and just outworked the opposition until they prevailed."

Lopiano, who has coached men's and women's volleyball teams, said a basic belief difference between the genders is also a factor.

"Women have a higher level of sensitivity and recognition that they might not be able to overcome errors with strength, speed or reaction," she said. "Men always think, oh, I'll get there."

In other words, women athletes believe they need one another, and men sometimes don't.

Men also don't stop for ask for directions. Or put the toilet seat down. Or drink Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers. Plaschke has this whole men-women thing all figured out.

Come on, Plaschke. Surely you can appreciate the US Women's team for what it is: a fierce, resilient, accomplished, intimidating, masterful, and impressive group of incredible athletes who are even more potent as a cohesive team. They have been an absolute joy to watch and cheer on throughout this 2011 World Cup tournament, among many others, and I'm proud of them for their inspiring performance on an absolute level, not a relative one.

And even though they didn't win Sunday's final against Japan, I still hope they hold their heads up high and walk as champions.

Unless, of course, you want to write an article assuming that the US players lost because they were soft, weak, and emotional.

Oh, and if I did want to make a relative comparison between the US Women's Soccer team and any other mens team, I'd say that the US Women's Soccer team is pretty damn tough, gender irrespective. this video kinda says it all.

12 comments:

Dusty Baker said...

Spanky drinks wine coolers.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Since female athletes offer all of the fantastic morals that sports are severely lacking, Plaschke should dedicate the rest of his life to giving these neglected stars some attention. They are clearly the superior of the species and play the game the right way, whatever that game may be.

Except for Lindsey Jacobellis. Total glory hog and all-around bitch.

Steve Sax said...

that part in the video where the blood is literally streaming down wambach's head?

yeeeech.

Eric Karros said...

I prefer Seagrams wine coolers

Steve Sax said...

that's what we're taking away from this, people?! wine coolers!!!

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Hey, I actually talked about the article, so don't blame me.

Eric Karros said...

Wait - you're providing wine coolers to take home with us?? Pomegranate Raspberry, please!

Jason said...

What about Zima? Can I get some of that to take home?

Steve Sax said...

Zima for Vma.

Jason said...

Okay fine, I'll take Vma home instead.

Pistol Pete Reiser said...

Plaschke's got a lot of self-loathing there, me thinks...

Of course, he's not alone, a lot of people loath him.

Dusty Baker said...

@Saxy

Sorry, didn't mean to lose the point you were making in your post....wait, hey, is that a Matilda Bay four-pack?!?!? Yes!!!!