There’s a real breath of fresh air blowing through the world of professional sport these days and it’s being caused by the wonderful ladies who play cricket, soccer and several other previously male-orientated sports. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that it is becoming more of a gale than a breeze!
Today’s male cricketers and footballers seem, to the sports enthusiast, to be much more like businessmen than sportsmen; everything revolves around gate takings, player wages, how much the owner of the team gets and the value of the real estate that they play on (or perhaps more accurately we should say that they ‘do their business on’!). The very fact that a team can be ‘owned’ by some magnate, often from another country, seems anathema to me — surely, if anyone is going to own a team, it should be the players themselves, not big business. Without the players there would be no team! (Though I am forced to admit that maybe, without the foreign money there would be no team either!) I have to admit, of course, even if the players did own their teams, some of them get a lot more money than they deserve. I confess there are some highly skilled members of all communities, but of course this brings big business back into the picture again.
Sportswomen, on the other hand, seem to really enjoy what they are doing, despite earning much less than their male counterparts. There is pleasure in their games, for both the players themselves and also for the swiftly increasing number of enthusiasts prepared to turn out to watch them. Their footballing, cricketing and sporting skills are coming along at a pace too; tune in to one of their games on the TV and until you get a close-up of players, it’s often hard to distinguish what the sex of the players is. That is not intended as some veiled insult about the type of girl playing, it is simply that they play almost as well as the men, but with more enthusiasm and less aggression (and the male players often wear their hair long these days, so that doesn’t help). I just hope these clever young women get the same recognition as their male counterparts — their play is equal, so their pay should be equal.
There’s another game too, where I believe women can provide better entertainment than the men, not exactly the same game, but one is more or less the female equivalent of the other (and I’m aware that either gender can participate in both). I’m referring to basketball and netball. To an ignorant layman like me, too old to learn better, the one involves two teams of blokes rushing up and down a court, slamming a ball into a basket, then rushing back down the court, to do the same at the other end, whereas the women’s game requires the players to stand still while holding the ball and the tossing of it into the overhead net, rather than ‘slamming’ it, and without the benefit of a backboard to bounce it off as well, though both games are very fast and fun to watch. Now as I have said, I’m fairly ignorant of these games and I know there is a lot more involved than I have just stated, but I simply find, as a spectator, that there is a lot more interesting action in netball than there is in basketball! I have to award the points to the ladies once again.
I even enjoy watching women play AFL on the television; they lack the obvious strength and aggression of their male counterparts in my opinion, but they can still put on a good turn of speed and their kicking can be really accurately accomplished, as well as their distance kicking when needed. I would make the same comments here as I have for AFL, when I think of rugby (either union or league), both games requiring the physical weight and the desire to demolish the other side, that very few women possess. Even so, as with the other games, the women’s version can be very entertaining!
I really hope that this ‘unisex’ idea in sport doesn’t die out, the ladies have now proved pretty efficiently that they can ‘do it’, let’s hope they get the continuing support they deserve to carry on!