Do Women and Sports Mix?

We would like to think women and¬†sports go together like peanut butter and jelly ūüėõ Might be a bit more complicated than that. It’s like what Smither’s said to Mr. Burns,”Women and Seamen don’t mix.” Ha, maybe not really.

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Women and sports have a very interesting and at times depressing relationship. With all of the controversy surrounding Ray Rice’s less than harsh punishment for hitting¬†his wife versus the San Antonio Spurs hiring the first woman assistant coach,¬†it’s unavoidable to question the “real” place women have in sports. There¬†are several different sports that have a separate women’s leagues: WNBA, Softball, Soccer, Golf, Hockey. ¬†And who can forget, lingerie football. ¬†Kidding, kidding.

Of course the manliness sport has to have women play¬†in their underwear……

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These women leagues have yet to experience the success of the men’s leagues, and sadly, probably never will. ¬†Why? ¬†For one, they are not commercially viable in part because people¬†may think watching women play sports is not be as exciting as the big boys and flat-out just don’t care. ¬†If people cared, they would be lucrative markets and be broadcasted nationally. ¬†The popularity of the National Soccer League lasted¬†about as long as David Beckham’s screen time in Bend It Like Beckham, Softball ceases to exist in the Olympics, the WNBA is going to have to hitch hike overseas, The National Hockey League ended 7 years ago¬†and Golf…..well, let’s be honest, who the hell watches golf?

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Despite these women leagues, women athletes do in fact dominate other sports. Unfortunately, those other sports suffer the stigma of being labeled very feminine and dainty, displaying a downright sexist outlook on these women athletes. I’m looking at you Gymnastics, Figure Skating, Synchronized Swimming and Ballet. ¬†YES, ballet. ¬†Ballet is badass. ¬†Haven’t you seen Center Stage? Seriously, can you don’t see those ballet dance moves done by the frail and feeble.

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In typical sexist fashion, these ‘feminine’ sports are slapped with heavy makeup, tight bright spandex, blinding sequins and at times, just awful…awful music. Despite the feminine presentation, these women are badass athletes who work hard to jump 10 ft in the air, land that triple toe lutz, tread water for hours on end while starving themselves. ¬†That sheer dedication and their¬†athletic prowess is immensely admirable and shouldn’t be dumbed down by being too “gay” or “soft.” ¬†Because they are far from it.

The only sport that I can think of where women experience the same level of popularity and success as men is Tennis. ¬†Tennis has become one of the most popular international sports, boasting around 1 billion fans around Europe, the Americas and Asia. Yes the uniforms are a bit ridiculous but the athletic intensity remains the same. ¬†Serena Williams’ athletic power alone probably scares the hell out of men in Compton.

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It’s sad to say, but the¬†reality is that women and sports DO mix but make some sort of odd concoction that doesn’t tend to sit well with the general male public. Then again, you have the women who have left their permanent mark on the sport they played, coached, commentated or just even¬†loved.

Pat Summit

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Danica Patrick

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Jeanie Buss

Jeanie, daughter of Los Angeles Laker owner Jerry Buss, arrives at Time Warner Cable Sports launch event for Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes in El Segundo

The Williams sisters

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Linda Cohn

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The interesting takeaway from this diverse list of women in sports is that they all are influential, business savvy, and intelligent individuals, yet not all are athletes.  Can we say the same about men?

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Patt Summit is known as one of the greatest coaches of all time.  Danica Patrick defeated all the conservative odds and became the first popular woman race car driver to compete with the boys on the NASCAR track.  Jeannie Buss pretty much single handily runs the Los Angeles Lakers (one of the biggest brands in pro sports) with no thanks to her co-owner brother.  The Williams sisters have permanently made themselves tennis royalty.  Linda Cohn has been a witty sportscaster for over 20 years.

Men do run the sport, but it’s the women who make it interesting. A bold statement that may be. ¬†Bold enough to piss off the boys ūüôā

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In an ideal world, women would receive the same respect as men in every facet of life. ¬†But they don’t. ¬†And the sports world is no different, maybe even worse. ¬†Women and sports do mix but takes a bit more effort on the women’s side to make it functional. ¬†Hats off to the women who have and still are succeeding in sports, leaving their mark on a male dominated world.

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BTW: Screw Roger Goodell for slapping Ray Rice on the hands and Stephen A. Smith for saying “She had it coming.” Watch out boys, you may have it coming….

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America the Beautiful

This World Cup has already proven a lot to the United States.  For one, it proved that we as a country might actually like the sport.

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It’s not that we don’t like soccer, we just haven’t embraced it. ¬†If we fully embraced it, we would call it by its original name: FUTBOL.

Sadly, we already have FOOTBALL in this country. ¬†The two just sound too similar, so I don’t think that will change. ¬†We just love FOOTBALL too damn much. ¬†Hell, I don’t even have a category for soccer on this blog. ¬†I really should get on that…..

tumblr_n6y4myJiQB1ro7kx2o1_400¬†But this is the first World Cup that America actually cared because it may have been the best for our country. ¬†Without question, we witnessed some historic moments, we made it out of the “Group of Death” alive (and kicking, haha!) topped by some amazing late game dramatics in each of the knock-out rounds.

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If we want to break it down, this World Cup had ESPN and Univision breaking U.S. ratings for matches played not only by the U.S. but also other countries.  Twitter had a good time too.  Here is a heat map courtesy of Bleacher Report, illustrating the Twitter activity taking place during the final game, Germany vs. Argentina.

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(On a side note: I think one of the reasons why this World Cup was the¬†most watched in the U.S. is because of its location: Brazil. ¬†Brazil as known as a diverse country filled with rich culture, food, music, ultimately exuding a passionate fan base. ¬†One of the greatest soccer players to ever play the game, Pele, is Brazilian. ¬†You think politically heated Russia and a¬†controversial Middle Eastern country,¬†Qatar, will get similar ratings? ¬†I can’t predict the future, but I can see the ratings take a little dive in these upcoming World Cups.)

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So where does this leave American soccer?

I think America is on a healthy track towards embracing soccer. ¬†It will just take time. ¬†Maybe a little longer than American soccer fans would like, but this isn’t something that needs to be rushed. ¬†Like anyone showing up late to the party, you’re not going to take 5 tequila shots to make up for lost time. ¬†Well, maybe….but that’s just asking for trouble…..and is completely dumb.

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Just like any sport we love in this country, we want it to be able represent a unique personal trait that we can be proud of, something that will ultimately define our character. ¬†Usually those terms include strength, perseverance, bold,¬†determination¬†and just straight up awesomeness. ¬†Our goalie, Timmy Howard, definitely proved to be worthy of that category, setting a World Cup record with 16 saves in a single game. Despite the loss, he persevered through¬†the rest of the world’s¬†disbelief in team U.S.A. ¬†Take that other countries who always do better than us in the World Cup!

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America prides itself on heroes, especially when it comes to world events. ¬†Why do you think we have a daily medal count during the Olympics? ¬†We have to feel like we are the best. ¬†And when it comes to soccer, we aren’t the best. ¬†It’s that simple.

If American history has taught us anything, we know we don’t like to lose. And when we do lose, we seem to overlook EVERYTHING that made us losers. ¬†Probably because we were drunk……

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Maybe we will be the best someday but for now soccer is¬†merely just a sport we are OK at, something we don’t want to fully embrace in our culture until we know we can unequivocally¬†WIN. ¬†I KNOW WE WILL WIN. ¬†The chant isn’t as catchy but at least exudes some type of American confidence. ¬†Besides, we started off as the underdogs and haven’t done so bad for ourselves thus far. ¬†Soccer could merely be just another stepping stone for our nation to prove to everybody else that we are the best.

Besides….we can’t always let the Germans win.

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Hispanics go BOOM.

OMG, Mexico did the unthinkable. They tied with Brasil….in a futbol game…..at the World Cup. ¬†Damn, and the hits just keep on coming.

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And Chile just defeated Espana today.

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The World Cup can be one crazy place where dreams come true. ¬†The top two teams have been knocked down to the minors, leaving the underrated and overlooked teams a chance to shine on the ultimate world stage. ¬† Although Brasil has yet to be eliminated (adios Espana), it is still a pretty awesome sight to see these dominant teams be defeated by smaller countries (who also speak Spanish, bah! Granted I know Brasil doesn’t speak Spanish….but Portuguese is Spanish+French…..close enough).

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Who knows who will win.  My money is on Germany.  Because who wants to piss off the Germans?

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Does the U.S. have a chance? ¬†Who the hell knows. ¬†If Chile and Mexico can do it, why can’t the U.S.?

The U.S. have defeated Ghana and will be taking on the illusive Portugal Sunday. ¬†They might not have anything to worry about if¬†Cristiano Rinaldo decides not the play. ¬†Not sure if the best player in the game right now will want to opt out and sit on the bench nursing his¬†wounds. ¬†Just look at those abs……

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We shall see if another smaller hispanic country will flourish this weekend, because if they do…..a little more respect should be given to the lil guys. ¬†The World Cup is all about respect. ¬†Come on, just look at how all the futbol players respect each other on the field. ¬†Never lying, never acting out, never harming one another. ¬†I think you can always count on a futbol player for being the most honest athlete out there.

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Who is more Badass?

It’s not hard to overlook the little guys running around the big bad athletes during a game. ¬†They are just so diminutive, dressed in dark colors and at times fat. ¬†Funny to think that these small men are the ones actually calling all the shots.

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With the power to call all the shots, they are at times public enemy #1.  With questionable play calling, enforcement of rules and sometimes downright stupidity blowing their whistles for no good reason, does that automatically mean we respect them any less?

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Referees, Umpires, Blue, Official, Ref, Reviewer…..call them what you will but I believe they are at times the true badasses in Sports. ¬†Considering they are the ones holding all the power, did you ever stop and think, do they deserve it?

I know, I know a loaded question, but it still is an important aspect about the game, an aspect that can make or break a game. ¬†Their level of their significance to the game is indispensable, without them we wouldn’t have sports. ¬†Every sport needs rules and regulation to function, hence someone to enforce the standard yet is it possible to give more respect to some refs over others? ¬†You know, the refs that are more badass? Does the level of a ref’s badass affect our perception of them and in turn affect our perception of the game they are refereeing? ¬†All of these questions can’t really be answered unless we had the luxury of interviewing a number of refs from every sport, but it is nice and convenient to base an argument on mere observation. ¬†Thank you Television.

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We first have to pick our sports: NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL and Soccer.  Every sport requires their refs to have the same level of professionalism and acute decision-making but calls on different athletic ability.  The difference in athletic ability is what separates the badasses from the feeble in referee world.  Some refs are expected to get into the game full throttle, rubbing elbows with the athletes, putting themselves at risk to get hit, harmed and bashed.  Kind of awesome right?  While other refs are expected to sit in the backfield, stand around and wait for the plays to happen.  Basically they are the lucky guys getting paid to watch a game on the field.

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The level of badass among refs is definitely not distributed equally among sports.  Now that you have been reading my banter, you may be asking yourself, who are the most badass refs in sports?  Ha, my works is done.

5. NBA

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These guys do in fact have to run up and down the court, but let’s be honest, the court ain’t that big. ¬†I can’t recall one of these refs ever getting hurt or smashed by a giant basketball player. ¬†Even though bald men can be super badass (Bruce Willis….Kojak…..Mr. Clean), I just can’t really take NBA officials too seriously with their funny kicks in the air, chop block technical foul calling and high black pants.

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For some reason, it’s their play calling that appears to be the stupidest because the game always has to be put on hold to be reviewed via instant replay for about 2 minutes. ¬†Unlike the NFL, NBA refs seem to stay far away from the player when in action. ¬†Their level of badass seems to deplete when they get all chummy with the basketball players. ¬†There is so much small talk in the NBA with players and referees it’s almost nauseating. ¬†It almost looks as if they going to grab a beer later, which is cool but so not badass. A badass ref wouldn’t have to explain their calls to the players either.

4. Soccer

I don’t know too much about soccer but can tell you, the most physically fit refs are probably the ones in soccer. ¬†Unfortunately their level of badass begins to crumble when soccer players begin to get “hurt.” ¬†You gotta hand it to them though, soccer fields are HUGE so constantly running up and down the field can get tiring and quite possibly fatigue their play calling abilities and judgement. ¬†I get it, you can’t be two places at once nor can we the refs get magically built by that radioactive spire and have super human vision to see all.

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I ¬†feel like a badass ref in soccer wouldn’t stand for those “fouls” and Oscar-winning performances of I’M BEEN HURT< I”VE BEEN BLINDED. ¬†Perhaps it is apart of the game’s culture but a real badass ref wouldn’t stand for it. ¬†Maybe more red cards need to be given out…..then again if more red cards were given out…all the best players would be thrown out of the game….and then there would be shitty soccer. ¬†Meh.

3. MLB

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Even though these are the refs, or umpires, that probably do the least amount of physical work, they still have their badass moments. ¬†Baseball umpires are in the game, perhaps more on the sidelines with one squatting behind the catcher and a couple of them standing on the edge of the foul lines but are still very involved. ¬†These batch of umpires are probably as fat as they come but that doesn’t deter from their level of badass.

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The umpire behind the plate is the king…directly facing 90 mph pitches on a daily basis. ¬†One thing you have to take into consideration are the fights. ¬†Have you seen any other refs get in a full on scream match with baseball players or coaches? ¬†It happens on a regular basis. ¬† Their level of badass is validated even more so if their screaming matches, game tossing antics ignite a baseball fight involving both teams complete with the bull pens running out into the field. Love it.

2. NFL

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The dance moves alone separate them from the rest. ¬†Despite the embarrassing too much commercial time dance moves, these refs put themselves right into the action. ¬†They are the refs that can get tackled, pushed and shoved to the ground by players. ¬†Players don’t even mind hitting the refs because NFL refs are considered to be apart of field, not actual people. ¬†Have you ever seen any other ref taken out on a stretcher? ¬†That alone is badass.

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There is some running up and down the field, but not to much physical exertion with these refs. ¬†Their level of eagerness to be IN the game alone is badass enough. ¬†They are so close to the player makers, I wouldn’t be surprised if they slapped Peyton Manning on the ass.

1. NHL

Dallas Stars v New York Islanders

Beyond badass. ¬†These refs take the Badass Cake and spit it back in your face. ¬†I think it is safe to say that these are the only refs expected to have the same athletic ability as the players: to skate like the motherfuckin’ wind. ¬†NHL refs have to keep up with all the players thus have to skate as fast as them. ¬†Plus, the small ice arena alone where slamming players against the wall is customary can involve refs as well. ¬†Now comes the age-old question, is hockey more violent than football? ¬†You decide America.

The refs wear a protective helmet for god sakes.  What other refs have to do that?

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These refs also support Fight Club.  Badass.  Hockey players are almost encouraged to thrown down and get in a fight while the refs stand and watch.  If the refs were truly badass they would get in on the action, but ehhh, they gotta follow some rules too I guess.