USA Men v. USA Women … one match, national TV. Winner Takes All.
Millions would watch. Would be the GREATEST sporting event in US history.
One match. Winner Takes All. Let’s see who is the greatest.
I’m an athlete born to an athlete. My father was on college basketball scholarship when I was born. I was team mascot. His teammates taught me to shoot when I was in a crib. I was coached by legendary John Wooden. America used sports to teach boys how to develop the character needed to be better men.
To add support to my claim the U.S. women’s team disrespects our nation, minutes after TeamUSA defeated the Netherlands to secure their second straight World Cup title Sunday, midfielder Allie Long threw the American flag to the ground. She was more concerned about celebrating with Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe appears to step on the flag.
As a nation, we have failed to teach the importance of character development to our female athletes. I wrote earlier during World Cup 2019 that the U.S. women’s national team embarrassed and disrespected our nation and world.
Women seek equality to men in sports. The need to start by being equal to men in character.
Captain Alex Morgan’s tea celebration after the go-ahead goal drew the ire of some former English soccer stars. Pretended to sip tea after scoring. The celebration was perceived by many as mocking England — given the country’s fondness for tea.
“I expected Alex to grab a goal, but I’m not that happy with that celebration. You can celebrate however you want, but that for me is a bit distasteful … I could be wrong, but it’s based upon playing against England, and we love our tea.”
Lianne Sanderson, former England national team member
“I wish I was on the pitch to put in a tackle,” Faye White, former captain on the English national team slammed Morgan over the gesture.
Morgan didn’t apologize. She defended her action.
“I mean it’s like we’re at the World Cup. What do you want us to do? This is the biggest stage, the biggest moment. I don’t think anyone truly believes that we disrespect the game or disrespect our opponents.
We have the utmost respect for England and every team that we’ve faced, and every team that we will face forever and ever. That’s just part of the DNA of the squad.”
Morgan added, “I feel that there is some sort of double standard for females in sports to feel like we, you know, have to be humble in our successes and have to celebrate but not too much and have to do something, but it always has to be in a limited fashion.”
This is the character standard society expects from all champions. Champions do not gloat or rub it in. They demonstrate humility and grace.
The U.S. women are world defending champions. They are #1 ranked. To me, they are the best in the world. Society demands men who are the best to act like it. Rather than pound Thailand into the ground, the ladies should have throttled back a bit after being ahead 5-0 and allowed the young Thai team to score a goal.
It’s not cheating or condescending. I run a camp for Special Needs athletes. Imagine Larry, Mike or Magic coming to camp and repeatedly dunking on my athletes. Totally bad form. Every kid there wants to see the superstars throw down a couple dunks for show. It brings tears to all our eyes when The Greats lift up less fortunate athletes so they can dunk themselves.
That’s character. We have failed to teach this to America’s women athletes.
Strive To Be The Best We Can Be
I don’t consider men and women athletes to be equal. While I enjoy men’s basketball, I do not like watching the ladies play. The men’s game is more beautiful to me due their size, speed and power. I do not like to watch men’s volleyball. I prefer the women’s game. Their grace, technical superiority and superior teamwork is dazzling.
Coach Wooden said it best.
“We’re not equal in size; not equal in speed; not equal in talent. But we are equal in the ability to be the best we can be.”
As for soccer, I enjoy both equally. I was excited for women’s World Cup 2019. The lack of character demonstrated by TeamUSA in their gorging of Thailand was despicable. U.S. media has focused almost entirely on captain Megan Rapinoe. She seems more interested in politics than sport. Our family has not watched.
If women wanted to catapult their league to the top of world attention, the player that should have been this year’s feature star is Marta from Brasil. She’s the all-time best player in history of the sport. She’s Lady Pele and plays the Beautiful Game best of all.
This will likely be Marta’s last World Cup. I urge fans to read, “Marta Is The World Cup’s Best Story And Its Greatest Tragedy.” Author Travis Waldron wrote, “The Brazilian superstar’s career is a testament to what’s possible in women’s soccer — and also a reminder of how little attention the sport still receives.”
When I was in high school, the NBA playoff aired weeknights at 10:30pm — after late night news. Talk about little attention. Then came Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. They changed the game. The great East Coast v West Coast rivalry captured the nation. Racial undertones motivated fans. Hard-nosed, blue-collar White guys from Beantown waged epic battle against the high-flying, gifted Black athletes in Showtime Hollywood.
I graduated high school in 1975. In ten years the league had gone from who cares to who doesn’t!
Michael Jordan followed four years later. Everyone wanted to Be Like Mike. I graduated high school in 1975. In ten years the league had gone from who cares to who doesn’t! Three men changed the game.
USA Soccer Women Wasted This Opportunity
U.S. women’s soccer team is best in the world. I assume they’ll defeat Netherlands Sunday. They had an opportunity this World Cup to win Hearts & Minds.
Mia Hamm did. She competed in four FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments: the inaugural 1991 in China, 1995 in Sweden, 1999 and 2003 in the United States. She led the team at three Olympic Games, including: 1996 in Atlanta (the first time women’s soccer was played), 2000 in Sydney, and 2004 in Athens.
America and the world loved Mia. She stayed out of politics first of all, and she exhibited grace, courage and character both on the pitch and off.
The U.S. women’s national team is currently suing the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging gender discrimination. It’s true women make less than the men. It appears to be true U.S. women’s soccer games have generated more revenue than U.S. men’s games over the past three years in the U.S. market.
Fox Business News reported (7.8.19) the U.S. women’s team, after winning the championship on Sunday, is expected to take home approximately $292,119 from all the qualifying games, bonuses, prize money and victory tour earnings.
This is a wealthy nation. Winners are always paid well. Maybe the women can begin to demonstrate the character of champions now.
According to audited financial statements from U.S. Soccer Federation (Wall Street Journal), from 2016 to 2018, women’s games generated approximately $50.8 million in revenue compared with $49.9 million for men’s games. Nobody questions the women’s team is superior in their league compared to the men in theirs.
Men and women compete in different leagues. Consider professional basketball. NBA winner, James Harden, makes about $29.5 million. WNBA winner, Breana Stewart, earned $56,793. Is this gender discrimination?
Both are top in their league. Yet one-on-one, we assume Hardin defeats Stewart. The NBA makes massive sports revenue. The WNBA does not.
In the U.S. soccer market, women draw slightly more revenue than men. They deserve to be compensated fairly in our market. Yet I pointed out [story] women soccer players worldwide actually divide up a higher percentage of winnings than do male soccer athletes. Soccer is a global competition and world market.
There’s a simple solution. Equality is equality. Let the U.S. men play the U.S. women. Would be a historic match. Fans in the nation and around the world would love it. Winner take all.
Some might argue a match between the women and men U.S. soccer teams wouldn’t be fair — as women are not as strong, swift or talented. If this in your argument, then women aren’t equal to men. Not being equal, they shouldn’t deserve equal pay.
If a female doctor is as skilled as a male doctor, we agree both should be paid equally. None would claim a female doctor who isn’t as fast or successful in the operating room deserves equal pay simply because she is smaller in size.
Keep Politics Out of Sport
U.S. women’s captain Megan Rapinoe created controversy (again) today. She was visibly angry FIFA scheduled three soccer finals the same day. FIFA believes this will boost attention for all.
- Women’s World Cup final will start at 11 a.m. EDT on Fox and Telemundo
- Men’s Copa America final will start at 4 p.m. EDT on ESPN+, Telemundo and Univision
- Men’s CONCACAF final will start at 9:15 p.m. EDT on FS1.
“I don’t really understand why there’s such a resistance against going all-in on women,” Rapinoe said. “I think it’s pretty clear women in sport have not been treated with the same care and financing and all of that that men’s sports has.”
As demonstrated with basketball, fans pay more to watch men. They pay more worldwide to watch men in soccer. Fans decide. They vote with their dollars. Fans didn’t pay much in 1975 for NBA basketball. Three amazing male athletes changed this.
Sunday will be a Soccer Festival around the world. I like the idea. Most importantly, the women go first. Their 11 a.m. EST start is prime time Sunday for Europeans and Americans. Rapinoe considers Sunday’s Soccer Festival to be the final insult.
“It’s ridiculous, and disappointing, to be honest.”
Megan Rapinoe, U.S. Women’s team captain and midfielder
Rapinoe wants the day all to herself. She doesn’t like sharing. Equality means sharing. I believe that sums up the character of the U.S. women’s team. They didn’t exhibit any compassion or willingness to share in the match against Thailand.
Champions find a way to allow everyone to share the joy. A great player knows how to look like he is giving his all — yet stumbles at the final second so the other player can score. Maybe both players know it was a feint. Yet ultimately, the lesser team and their fans get to experience the thrill of success.
Rapinoe became engaged in a nasty fight with President Trump dropping a series of f-bombs. U.S. soccer federation had to make a rule change, as Rapinoe refused to stand for the U.S flag during the anthem. Rapinoe doesn’t participate in the national anthem at World Cup, as she refuses to put her hand over her heart.
As mentioned, the U.S. women currently sue their own federation. Alex Morgan upset British fans. Rapinoe now claims to be insulted about FIFA scheduling. This does not win Hearts & Minds. Mia Hamm didn’t act this way. Mike, Larry and Magic didn’t either.
The point of sport is to allow us all to share in the fun — to escape the drudgery of ordinary life. It’s not about winning. Coach Wooden was clear. Rather it’s an opportunity to be the best we are capable of becoming. Coach never mentioned winning.
“My idea is that you can lose when you outscore somebody in a game, and you can win when you’re outscored.”
The U.S. women have outscored their opponents every match this World Cup. They have not won any.
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