A couple weeks ago, a "friend" on Facebook updated his status with the following commentary:
"Girls sports are a joke."
(SPOILER ALERT: "Friend" is male. Better stated, Friend is a boy.)
Merriam-Webster defines "joke" as "something said or done to provoke laughter; especially: a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist."
So, Friend, how exactly are "girls" sports a "joke"? I know that's a lot of quotation marks to compute, but I'm going to assume you made it to the question mark. Please share with us why, exactly, an entire category of athletic competition is undertaken to get you to giggle. Is it funny to you that women (a/k/a former girls) know how to run quickly away from something other than you? Does it tickle your funny bone that women can slam something other than a door in your face?
Help me. Explain to me how a woman stepping up to swish a free throw or diving in to break a world record or lining up to outpace wind is the first scene of a comic strip.
Better yet, help me help you. I've got a little narrative to lay down that'll just kill you with the hee-haws.
Here's the punchline: the U.S. Olympians of the female persuasion won two-thirds of our country's total gold medals and nearly 60 per cent of our country's total haul.
Too many fractions and percentages? Okay, amigo, let's break it down like this:
- U.S. women won 29 gold medals. U.S. men won 17. (29 is MORE than 17. In fact, it's 12 more.)
- If you stripped the U.S. of the 59 total medals the women won for their country, the U.S. would have left the games with a total of 45 medals. Which means China would have won the medals race and the U.S. would have finished fourth. You don't get a medal for fourth, do you? (If you don't know, ask a U.S. male Olympian. He's more familiar with a non-medal finish than his female counterpart.)
- The women were as successful winning their medals in individual events as they were in team events. In fact, women work well in teams on a variety of surfaces: turf, asphalt, hardwood, sand, uneven bars, grass, water, etc. Pop quiz: did the U.S. men's soccer team even compete in the London Olympics?
- The women who slayed the Olympics are not very rich and not very famous. The men who participated in the Olympics could have funded the Olympics and could have been the globally-recognized face of the Olympics, even if the only men who participated in the Olympics were the men's basketball team and Michael Phelps.
I am totally lol'ing right now!
Woops! I just ROFL'd. But now I'm back in a sitting position to say something even...okay, breathe, Abby, breathe....funnier. Ready?
The United States Olympic Committee is the only national Olympic committee that receives no government funding. In order to support Olympic athletes, the USOC relies on private donations. Go ask any Super-PAC (you'll have no trouble finding a friendly ear - they're run by men) what helps make the coffers fill up with the coinage. It's SUCCESS! Even a whiff of it!
So those under-paid, under-recognized, uber-successful, ultra-winning women just did the USOC a major solid by winning medal after medal. Because the medal-to-dollar exchange rate? It's very, very good.
Oh. My. God! I can't take it anymore! Stoppp!!! Am I still at Comedy Central's roast of Roseanne Barr?
Nope. I'm in reality. More people like Friend should check it out.
Happy 40th anniversary, Title IX! Two score years ago our legislators brought forth on this continent, a new playing field, conceived in equality, and dedicated to the proposition that women can kick as much ass as men.
Look where we are today. Four decades of fighting for and finally receiving sort-of equal opportunity and treatment in the world of sports, U.S. women are not only performing apace with the male ballers and torpedos and lightning bolts, they've just outperformed them.
Oh, so, hey, Friend? The joke's on you.
Like any good comedian, I say we beat this dead horse. I say we take the laugh-factory ladies and we deploy them to other segments of our society that have been so long dominated by men, and we see what they can do. I've got a notion that our female medalists could see some real success in, for example, politics. And that they could do a number cleaning up, say, Wall Street.
I mean, look:
Pres/VP: The Williams Sisters. I'd put Venus in as President because she's slightly more predictable and her handshake is gentler. Plus, Serena in the VP role, a la Dick Cheney, could prove revolutionary. Methinks with one grunt from her, Iran would rebrand its nuclear activities as "New-Clear," a national brand of acne face wash.
Secretary of State: A two-headed monster peopled by Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings. They are comfortable on the international circuit, their families are already used to lots of travel, and they perform well wearing very little. Plus, they like to be called by three names. So they're exactly like Hillary Rodham Clinton, only double the fun.
Secretary of Defense: This one is a layup. PUN INTENDED. The women's basketball team. Silky-smooth transitions from zone defense (for when Europe gets feisty) to man-to-man (Middle East, they're looking at you). Strong inside presence (Ayatollahs and Vladimir Putin, beware) with a quick-handed perimeter presence (get OFF that border, you drug runner!).
Secretary of Treasury: Carmelita Jeter. She was the anchor of the women's 4x100M relay who, as she capped off a new world-record time, haughtily pointed her baton at the clock. Clearly, this is a woman who is not afraid of numbers. Or records. (Hello, deficit!)
Attorney General: Jamie Lynn Gray. She won the 50-meter three-position rifle. A sharp-shooter who is calm under pressure. The right woman to shoot an argument to smithereens and then reload for the next target of b.s. All without breaking so much as an upper-lip sweat.
National Security Advisor: Kim Rhode. Gold medal skeet shooter. Let's see who wants to throw some piece of crap clay disc up in our business after she's blown it out of the sky.
Secret Service: Is there any question that this would not be Kayla Harrison (gold, judo) and Claressa Shields (gold, middleweight boxing)? Who you lookin' at?
Special Ops: No need for million-dollar helicopters or rope-repelling here. Our ladies can leap, jump, fly, balance and twirl their way into the most impenetrable of compounds. Just give them a pole (Jennifer Suhr, gold, pole vault), some running room (Brittney Reese, gold, long jump) or some hair spray (women's gymnastics team, minus McKayla Maroney, who is being saved for an individual role, below).
UN Delegation: The women's soccer team. Sure, they rankle a few feathers (sorry, Canada). But they've got the wisdom born of experience (Christie Rampone, 4-time Olympian and mother of 2), they've got the cunning born of rules mastery (Abby Wambach and all that counting), and they've got the "get that shit OUT of here" born of steely eyes (Hope Solo and those steely eyes). Plus, even when they get kicked in the face, they get up and return the hurt where it counts (Carli Lloyd, who was literally kicked in the face during the Canada match and then scored the two U.S. goals in the gold-medal win against Japan).
Supreme Court: The women's water polo team. Because the silly robes are replaced by the silly swim caps with ear cups. And because there's a lot going on underneath the surface of the water, but all that an observer sees is the ball getting drilled into the net.
Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York: McKayla Maroney. I mean, duh. Where else would her "I'm so not impressed with that" smirk pay such dividends? (Here, the pun is intended.)
Securities and Exchange Commission: The women's swim team. There are the laws, and then there is the gray area. Like water finds its way around a rock, banks and hedge funds will find their way around the law. But who's good at beating water to the other side of the rock? Missy Franklin, for one. Allison Schmitt, for two. I could go on, but I think you get my point.
The Banks: The women sprinters. They will try to outrun McKayla and the swimmers, which is good. We'll only know the watchdogs are doing their job if they can keep up.