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An essay on Women's football by a Uni acquaintance: giffgaff lll 012%D 09:50 Aao S://m.facebook.com Thoughts on the women's World Cup: 1) Whatever truth there once was in the notion that the goalkeeping in women's football is especially bad, it certainly isn't true anymore. 2) The standard of play in general is very good The players are not as fast or as fit as their male counterparts, and most of them aren't quite as technically skilled, but they are certainly good enough to be worth watching, and rather more so than some of the men's teams I've seen. I don't believe many of these women could play at the highest level of the game with the men who competed in Russia last year, but I suspect that a few of them could, and probably should be given the opportunity. Ms Rapinoe is no Cristiano Ronaldo, but she is no Christopher Bart Williams either. 3) The very fact that the women's game is not as physically aggressive as the men's means that the technical skill of the players has more room to express itself. From the little I have seen of the tournament, and other games before, it seems there are fewer fouls in women's football and (perhaps as a consequence) less diving, allowing the game to flow more freely. (Admittedly I did not watch England vs Cameroon, which from what I've heard about it may have left a different impression.) I have known people who have seen more of women's football than I have to say the same thing. 4) In spite of enjoying the tournament, I still could not take it as seriously as I have taken intarnational fonthllon nlovod h monI giffgaff Oa 11%I09:51 1 S://m.facebook.com 4) In spite of enjoying the tournament, I still could not take it as seriously as I have taken international football as played by men. I missed all of England's games, not becausel didn't want to watch them but because there was always something else to do - something I would never have allowed to get in the way of the World Cup last year. Indeed the final was the only game I made sure to watch in its entirety. Why is this? In part, yes, it is something to do with the relative skill level on display in the men's and women's tournaments. The female footballers are good, and some of them are very good indeed, but as a group they cannot be considered to represent the best of the best; and when people start demanding, in effect, that this be ignored I am tempted to laugh. When I was around 17/18/19 I played for the learning-disabled XI of my county. I thought then, and think now, that it was a great thing that people like me had our own teams and our own competitions, our own little footballing world, and I was very grateful for being given the opportunity; but we would all have laughed out of countenance any suggestion that our football was to be considered in the same light as that of the first-class professionals. We didn't take our own game that seriously,let alone expect anyone else to; and as long as high-level sport is segregated by sex millions of people, myself included, will have a similar attitude towards the female versions. It's good that they exist, but it doesn't quite feel like the 11% 09:52 a giffgaff high-level sport is segregated by sex millions of people, myself included attitude towards the female versions. It's good that they exist, but it doesn't quite feel like the real thing. It lacks what Christina Sommers has called the "Promethean drama" of humanity continually challenging and overcoming itself, of the pursuit of "arete" for its own sake, that we see in truly world-class competition. The very fact that it is called the "women's World have a similar Cup," whereas its male equivalent feels no need for an equivalent prefix, bears witness to the fact But this is only part of the reason. I do not know how representative I am of my sex in this matter, but if my own self-reflection is right, there is a reason quite apart from skill why I and perhaps millions of men find it hard to take women's sports as seriously as we take our own, a reason which might well be called "gendered." (However much I hate that word.) It is not, as some feminists assume, that we do not take women themselves seriously. It is that we take Woman very seriously indeed. Woman, as seen by Man, represents the primary things in life. First and foremost, rightly or wrongly, she represents sex and childbirth and motherhood - all the staggering, stupendous facts of life which are simply too big to be ignored, the things without which nothing a man does means anything. She represents Life, with a capital L. These are not the only things which a woman can represent, but they are the first things which Woman, qua Woman, cannot but represent. She is, to use the word literally for once, an awesomely serious thing, who by her mere presence makes almost everything 11%D 09:54 giffgaff with a capital L. These are not the only things which a woman can represent, but they are the first things which Woman, qua Woman, cannot but represent. She is, to use the word literally for once, an awesomely serious thing, who by her mere presence makes almost everything else seem trivial by comparison. Now, football matters precisely because it does not really matter at all. We can safely focus our hearts and minds on it for a couple of hours at a time, scaling down the cosmos to 9000 square yards of grass (give or take 4000), only if there is nothing bigger than the game between the field of play and the lens of our mental microscope When Woman appears conspicuously in such circumstances, she makes a mockery of the fiction that football is big, her hugeness revealing by contrast the minuteness of the things which surround her What are the practical implications of this for the future of football? I honestly don't know, but I do think that the truly great female football players will get the recognition their achievements deserve only if and when the higher reaches of the game are opened up to them. Going back to my earlier example of myself: the team I played for was not the same as the first team, but had any of us been good enough to play for the first team there would have been no formal obstacle to our doing so. I think they deserve the same opportunity. This may result in less exposure for the sex-specific women's professional teams, and may hurt the careers of some involved, just as the racial integration of Major League Baseball hurt the Negro Leagues; but it need not render them obsolete in the same way the Negro Leagues 11% 09:54 giffgaff all 0 them. Going back to my earlier example of myself: the team I played for was not the same as the first team, but had any of us been good enough to play for the first team there would have been no formal obstacle to our doing so. I think they deserve the same opportunity. This may result in less exposure for the sex-specific women's professional teams, and may hurt the careers of some involved, just as the racial integration of Major League Baseball hurt the Negro Leagues; but it need not render them obsolete in the same way the Negro Leagues were made obsolete, precisely because of the rarity of those women who would make it through. Even if every prejudice about Afro- American baseball players not being good enough for the Major Leagues had been generally true, the presence of even one Negro player who was good enough would still have made the colour bar an abomination to anyone with the interest of the game at heart. If there be even one female footballer who can ete with her male counterparts at the highest level, where she can be seen not as a woman playing football but as a footballer who happens to be a woman, her exclusion is no less an exclusion than that of Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Turkey Stearnes, Cool Papa Bell and Buck O'Neill. It is just as much of a barrier to a person fulfilling his/her potential in his/her field. Should this barrier be removed? I don't c know. I can see some good reasons for keeping it in place, but if we do keep it in place we should at least know what we are doing Like Comment An essay on Women's football by a Uni acquaintance

An essay on Women's football by a Uni acquaintance

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