ICB: Women’s soccer up there with the Paralympics?
Welcome to this week’s I Call Bullshit. Yesterday, F1 racer Nico Rosberg was flogged with limp lettuce for bracketing women’s soccer in with watching the Paralympics.
Rosberg was pinned down in an interview about his level of interest in the women’s World Cup, and said he’d probably just watch the finals. “Then you have the Paralympics, which people also watch on TV,” he said.
German defender Saskia Bartusiak was among those who disapproved of his comments.
Quick segue here to point out that no one’s mentioned the journalist on the panel who, according to a transcript on Rosberg’s website, said: “Women are essentially handicapped.”
If you look at the full transcript you’ll see just how Rosberg was backed into a corner and finally came out with the truth.
I Call Bullshit on those who find what he said offensive.
Firstly, you can’t sustain this sort of outrage without being seen to denigrate the Paralympics, which would be up there with making jokes about disabled kids.
Then, women’s soccer is not on the same level as men’s. Not yet, anyway. The pool of talent is smaller because fewer females play.
Even fewer are taken out by Mum or Dad as bubs to start kicking a ball around; something that happens more frequently with boys.
Through school – although women’s soccer is growing at a rapid rate – it’s not as well resourced. Then you hit the amateur league. I’m not sure how it pans out in other states but in SA many clubs use the women’s teams as a cash cow to support their more successful teams – the men’s.
It’s hard to get good coaches, referees often don’t turn up, and the sport is a haven for violence-inclined misfits.
So, in a sense, that journalist was right when he said women were handicapped, and that plays out right to the top levels.
But – in a sneaky double I Call Bullshit – I also call bullshit on Rosberg that it’s only the level of skill that makes watching sport interesting.
It’s about the spectacle, the back story, the level of engagement. You want spectacle? Come and watch amateur women’s soccer. There are nipple gripples and six-pack holds (think about it. Or don’t). There’s screaming and name calling and death threats. And that’s just from the sidelines.
There are false accusations of gender bending, Samson and Goliath matches between enormous brick shithouses and tender young teenagers.
It’s a blood sport. I’ve seen women deliberately half drowned in mud, fingers deliberately broken, and also seen true love bloom on the pitch.
Tension between Elizabeth Downs and the University of Adelaide (my club) got to such a point a couple of seasons back that the uni had to hire private security guards for protection; last weekend another Elizabeth team were being instructed from the sidelines to break their opposition’s legs.
It may not be pretty, but it’s bloody good entertainment.
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