Violence in women’s sports has made the news, thanks to the recent YouTube exposé of unsportsmanlike play in a match between the University of New Mexico and BYU. And while it’s generally nice to read ANY press about women’s sports, this is some unwelcome attention.
In response to events, some are taking the opportunity to make bad jokes. Others are pausing to debate the direction of women’s sports. I like that. (And on the bad, bad, bad “jokes” front – someone should do a dissertation on the comments people write on YouTube videos – and what they reflect about our culture. Pretty disturbing stuff.)
Anyway – as for the direction of women’s sports – I was a big celebrator of Title IX back in the day. But having watched how things have evolved, I have to say it’s a mixed blessing. The biggest loss it has propogated so far, in my estimation, is the dearth of opportunities to be a three-sport athlete in school. It’s well-nigh impossible at most colleges – and is becoming unusual in many high schools, too. This is a big loss.
I see it as indicative of a trend in our culture to focus on outcomes. “Measurable outcomes” is the catch-phrase these days. Everybody is striving to put up numbers – be it in healthcare, education … sports. There are winners and losers. Success is what everybody wants, and it’s clear to everyone what it means. You’re hard pressed not to teach to the test … and certainly, you’re gonna coach to win … and play to win. There’s too much at stake.
Lost are “nuances” like what you can learn from sports … win or lose. Character-building? That’s for losers. Your coach’s job and your scholarship depend on how you perform. There’s money on the table and you are being measured.
This doesn’t excuse anything that happened on the pitch the other day … but man, are we ever on the wrong track!