My dad is one of the biggest women’s sports enthusiasts I know. When I was back home last December, he demanded that I say goodbye to my Real Housewives of Beverly Hills rerun (right in the middle of the now-infamous dinner-party episode), so he could watch the UConn-Stanford women’s basketball rematch (the two powerhouse teams hadn’t faced each other since the 2010 National Championship game). My favorite childhood memory is of playing backyard-hoop basketball with him when I was 8 and 9 years old, and one of my biggest regrets is not having stuck with the sport much past that age. Another regret is not having gone to more women’s home basketball games during college, to more consistently support my school’s nationally-renowned lineup.
It’s March again and the real Madness is the media’s ongoing devaluation of the female ballers, which has led to the general public’s devaluation of the whole scene. The 2011 Women’s NCAA basketball tournament kicked off yesterday, and I had to get onto Google to track down the schedule since all of the mass e-mails I’m getting about brackets, and all of the televised coverage I’ve seen, are about the men’s match-ups. I’m bored. Thus far, the New York Times’s treatment of the 2011 Women’s Roundup has been deplorable, and this morning’s ESPN SportsCenter report was just as lacking.
Research has continually revealed that girls and women who play sports tend to be more self-empowered than the ones who don’t, as they’re more likely to view their bodies as functional instead of purely decorative. The more athletically-oriented girls and women I’ve ever spent time with have been palpably more take-no-shit confident, emotionally secure, and happier than the ones who aren’t. The media likes to seasonally promote individual women’s sports like tennis, figure skating, and gymnastics – the ones where young ladies wear short skirts or leotards, and artistry/the aura of traditional femininity is usually more of the allure than raw athleticism.
There are a number of women’s games today on ESPN2 – a station that has also brought jump-roping competitions into our lives. This year’s Women’s NCAA Final Championship game is on April 5th – the night after the men’s business is officially squared away.
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