My friend was pessimistic. She said there was no chance Team USA would even reach the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup, let alone win a game if they got there. I, on the other hand, believed that they were a given for the Round of 16 and that winning that game was a distinct possibility.
So, as sports fans do, we had an informative and polite discussion, with each of us explaining in great detail the merits of our argument while the other listened intently to understand our point of view.
And if you believe that last sentence, you are clearly not a sports fan.
What we actually did is call each other idiots while hurtling personal insults laced with beer-breath.
It’s not the fact that I turned out to be right that I remember this minor conversation from over three years ago, I’m not that petty (I was right Hannah. Ha!). No, the real reason this conversation has stayed with me is what my friend said after I began talking about the U.S. women’s chances in the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
“Ah, who cares,” she said. “Women’s soccer sucks.”
I was not only floored by the statement itself, but by its source. My friend had been a collegiate soccer player. She had received a scholarship and debt-free education thanks to the sport she now said “sucks.”
It's an unfortunate truth, but no matter the positive strides that have been made in girls and women’s athletics, the attention is nowhere near the same for the boys.
I’ve heard many arguments as to why. The boys are bigger, faster and stronger, and that leads to a game played on a higher level, seems to be the general consensus.
Generally speaking, I can agree with that. But at the same time, we are not talking about girls with the skills and athleticism of 4-year olds picking their nose in left field while the ball rolls past them during a little league game. We are talking about, especially in high school sports in North Fulton and Forsyth County, top-tier athletes who are not only fun to watch, but show that the gap naysayers speak of between the boys and girls game is rapidly closing.
Now that basketball season is underway, I have attended half a dozen or so games, and invariably, the girls’ games are sparsely attended. Then, with about 20 or so minutes before the boys are set to tip off, the student section arrives to meet the scant few already in their seats.
And that’s a shame. More times than not, those arriving just to see the bigger, faster and stronger boys missed some great players, great plays and a great game by skipping the girls contest.
To say you are a sports fan or the fan of a program or school and totally disregard women’s sports, it invalidates your statement.
So, give the girls a chance. You just might find that there are some exceptional athletes, teams and games you’ve been missing.