This week was a trainwreck. No, not just because of the plague running rampant or the panic in the supermarkets. I mean for women’s sports.
Well, the first part does have to do with Coronavirus. On Saturday, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced that they would be canceling the Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships in Halifax. Not postponing, canceling. They’ve postponed the NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS, even the Boston Marathon. Instead of rescheduling the biggest tournament in all of Women’s Hockey, as they have with everything else, they just scrap the whole thing.
Are you kidding me?
American and Canadian female hockey players have worked hard to promote the sport of hockey for women. They’ve partnered with the NHL, having a USA vs Canada match during the NHL All-Star Skills competition, which reaches millions of fans internationally. They sold on the Honda Center in Anaheim back in February for the US-Canada rivalry series. Fans have stated that watching the women play was just as exciting as watching the men, which is a massive accomplishment in of itself. These women had the momentum to break ground on an empire from the collapse of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which had employed a good percentage of players on their national team’s rosters.
Had. Now, these women have to go back to the drawing board and start from the beginning again.
And Another Thing
And as if women’s sports couldn’t take a bigger hit, the most successful US team, bar none, was spat in the metaphorical face by their own president. Earlier this month, 28 players of the USWNT filed lawsuits against the USSF on the grounds of gender-based discrimination. On Tuesday, in court proceedings, the president of US Soccer dared to say that the women’s team does not have the same level of “responsibility” as the men. Uh, excuse me??
Let me put this in perspective for you. The US Women’s National Team has only lost one game since 2018. One. They have four Olympic Gold medals and four FIFA World Cup medals. They have only competed in eight Olympic Games and only six World Cups. The men, on the other hand, have never won an Olympic tournament, nor a World Cup. The closest they have ever come was Silver at the 1904 Olympics and Bronze at the 1930 World Cup.
So, by this logic, the men’s responsibility is to lose? Wow, they might be right, the women really aren’t cut out for that.
On Thursday, the USWNT played Japan in their She Believes Cup tournament in Texas. Spectators immediately noticed something was off during warm-ups. Not a single US warm-up jersey displayed the crest; they were all inside-out. That is the boldest, most elegant middle finger I have ever seen from any team in any sport. These world-class athletes are not playing the misogyny game and I am here for it.
A Few GOOD Things to Come of It
The best thing to come out of this entire dumpster fire is that President Numbnuts (Cordeiro, for those interested) resigned on Friday. The second best thing is that people are actually selling t-shirts of the inside-out design (I’m not sponsored by them, but I would love that).
I should say that the USSF has issued an apology, but by the sounds of the responses from the players, they aren’t buying it. I’m with them.
This is not just a woman’s fight. We’ve been fighting these same battles forever. It’s time that men stand with our female athletes, especially our male athletes. The love of a sport should not be a divisive issue.
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-Heidi Thomas (@damselondrums)