Monday, 24 November 2008

Good Girls and the Business of Losing

Following on from the FIFA U17 success the Herald featured a girls' soccer team that plays in the boys' league. The team performed well with six wins, a draw and three losses. But what interested me the most was the typical gender roles at play.

"Neither of them like losing. The boys hate it - sometimes they don't even shake hands, they're just gutted."

Yup. Apparently there is still nothing worse in sport than losing to a girl and the way to show your disrespect of their abilities is to not offer congratulations to your opponents on their win.

The girls were not too macho about the matches. They become cheerleaders before kick-off - proudly singing out their rousing team cheer - which "the boys get a bit peeved about".

Yup showing emotion and singing before a game is clearly very girly and has no place in real sport. Our top sportsman never perform any show of pride before a sports game. None whatsoever.


Anna said...

Will I sound crusty and old if I complain about the declining value placed on sportsmanship in our society? Sigh.

Of course, you see poor sportsmanship from both men and women - but this article suggests that being beaten by girls is such an horrific violation of the natural order that it's OK to be too upset to be polite. I don't know much about soccer, but I would assume that a men's team refusing to shake the hands of another men's team would be considered pretty rank.

Something that irks me (on a slightly related note) is that cricketers who walk these days sometimes get criticised for letting their teams down. Commentators support this with dumb comments like, 'It's disrespectful to the umpire to second-guess him by admitting you actually got out'. It's as though being honest is a sign of weakness.

Brett Dale said...

I follow football, if a team refuses to shake hands with other team, that is bad form, the parents of those boys must be cavemen or something.

Anonymous said...

Some of our local kids leagues would disqualify teams for that. The rest would punish them in other ways. We have had serious issues with bad sportsmanship from both players and parents, and the response has become almost savage as a result. I'm talking "next parent who touches a referee goes to jail" response, because referees were becoming quite hard to find.

IME the kids take this stuff on quite readily because it's easy to explain as fairness. It's more the parents who struggle, because they have this idea that winning is the most important thing. Overcoming the "but they're girls" objection should be easy enough.

I'd be tempted to say that teams can forfeit the match rather than play girls, and for the above thing they get to forfeit a bonus match *and* a second set of winning points to the team that beat them. That way you're compensating the girls and punishing the sulky boys. Hopefully you'd end up with the girls winning the overall competition just to bring the point home to the parents who are having issues.

Moz (in Sydney)