Saturday, July 13, 2019

Women's World Cup 2019

The Women's World Cup, does not yet get the attention afforded the men's version.  A pity.  Yes, women are not as fast, as strong and maybe not as talented as the male stars, but they do possess skills while speed and strength are relative.  The games can be just as dramatic.

A few random thoughts.

The U.S. trashing of Thailand 13-0 gave me very mixed feelings.  It demonstrates the Women's World Cup  is not quite ready to expand the format to 32 teams.  To sustain interest it needs to be competitive.  Americans seemed to rejoice as the embarrassment most of us felt for the underdogs.  Later a player mocked the English team mimicking their tea drinking habits.

Thailand got a shock that must have humiliated some of their players and country people, but also inspired them to want to play better.  Americans have a reputation of arrogance, but some of the goals were first goals, etc.  Sportsmanship suggests you need to lose gracefully, but others suggest to not gloat when winning.  It is good for everyone when anyone progresses as it forces the others to compete a little harder.  Thailand scored their first goal in the 91st minute against Sweden.  They demonstrated a joy comparable to actually winning.

US team sued American Soccer Association for equal pay with the men.  As some have pointed out it has marketing concerns.  What are fans willing to pay for?  If the fans are not willing in large enough numbers to pay actual money where is the money for equality to come from.   In many U.S. colleges the revenue from big ticket sports like basketball and football are shared with less popular sports in recognition that the other sports offer value for the students who participate and others who watch. 

 Apparently some men's teams have agreed to share revenue for the women's version.  Perhaps there are guilt feelings, but maybe they see some advantages.  Physical activity to good for all.  Most of us who spend time and money watching sporting events have had some active connection at some point in their life.  Women increasingly drive many decisions such what career to pursue, what things to buy, what people to have relations with.  The world is better off when women are listened to.

In passing I read one article about match fixing.  The more popular an activity is, it appears more people are interested to bet on the outcomes.  The more money involved the more attraction to cheat.  Cheating takes from the enjoyment of the fans and the participants.  Of course betting is often a major attraction for an event as those gambling have a vested interest in the outcome. 

As for me, I didn't bet, but I enjoyed the event and only regret that I didn't see more minutes.  The skills were more advanced than I anticipated.  I especially enjoyed trapping and passing.  Basketball is still my favorite sport where skills more often end up in a measurable result.  Soccer and hockey are much lower scoring meaning each goal is a combination of skill and luck and I feel the loser often could just as easily have won.  A centimeter or 1/10 of second can be the difference. 

Personalities do make a difference.  The top contenders all had an exceptional player that was a joy to watch.  The Americans had several.  Megan Rapinoe stood out not only as a goal scorer, but also for her very public declarations regarding Donald Trump.  She also made an excellent speech commemorating the importance of women in sports.

The Women's World Cup has made for a better world.  If you missed this one and think of yourself as a sports lover, don't miss the next one.

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