Women’s Basketball Doesn’t Need Justification
The game speaks for itself.
“April, 2011: the month that women’s college basketball caught up to men’s college basketball.” – Bill Simmons via Twitter, April 4, 2011
Hi, Bill. My name is Earth. Have we met?
Let’s see if I’m understanding this correctly; the Butler vs. UConn national championship game featured two teams combining for 94 total points, 88 missed shots, 17 turnovers, and field-goal percentages of 18 and 36 respectively…and that means the women’s game has finally caught up to the men’s?
Ironically, he (along with thousands of others who have said similar things in the past 24 hours) probably meant it as a compliment.
That’s like when my dad told me after a game during my sophomore year of high school that I played better than Brett, our star player.
Thanks, dad. Brett was actually high on weed and left the game in the second quarter to throw up/pass out in the bathroom…but I appreciate the kind words.
Why in the world would any female basketball player with a soul feel good about a back-handed compliment like that?
In Simmons’ defense, he wasn’t the only person who made such a statement. Thousands of tweets included condescending messages (though, probably inadvertent) of how the women’s national championship game will undoubtedly be a better watch.
Do you not see the problem here? It’s like saying, “My goodness, I know it’s hard to believe but, golly, I bet even the lowly women will shoot better than Butler did (chuckle, chuckle, nudge, nudge). They could teach the vastly superior men a thing or two. <insert a thousand stereotypical comments on traditional gender roles here>.”
This type of attitude and preconceived notion has constantly plagued women’s basketball over the years. Seemingly, through faulty comparisons, for the women to ”catch up” to the men’s game it’s not going to be from the evolution of women’s basketball, but rather men’s basketball taking a huge step backward.
Why do we feel the need to compare the two?
It has become increasingly apparent that the comparisons of the men’s game to the women’s game are inevitable and something we can’t avoid. And while it’s great that so many people are jumping on the bandwagon to watch the women’s national championship game, it’s disappointing that it is being compared to the men’s game in general; it is an entirely different game and neither is better than the other.
Let me be clear about something – the women’s game doesn’t have to prove itself, validate itself, or justify itself to anyone. We don’t need an abysmal men’s NCAA championship game to feel better about the state of women’s basketball. The women’s national championship game between Notre Dame and Texas A&M (and, for that matter, the entire women’s tournament) is going to be/has been phenomenal from top to bottom and has showcased the growth of the women’s game spectacularly.
It makes no difference if the men’s national championship game between UConn and Butler was regarded as one of the best in history as opposed to one of the worst; correlation does not mean causation.
Ultimately, the problem lies deep within individuals wanting to believe that women’s basketball is “less than.” If that’s the case, you’ll look for reasons to prove your point rather than simply watch the beauty of the game. Whether this stems from a place of fear or something else isn’t always known. If you want to believe that your high school team could beat a WNBA team or that you could take a WNBA player one-on-one, you’ll believe it and come up with ways to justify it.
It’s easy to do.
So, when you watch the women’s national championship game between Notre Dame and Texas A&M tonight, try not to let the feelings creep in of making it “better than” or “less than” anything else.
Basketball is basketball; enjoy it.