When I offered up this blog post about Hope Solo and Briana Scury I was fairly confident it would go largely unnoticed, mostly because it is about women's soccer. The reactions to this post intended as a shot at Hope Solo's comments from 2007 suggests that women's sports have come a long way.
Here are some of the reactions to that post ...
"Hope blew it.She is a great goalie and has grown her understanding of how to become a better ambassidor of the game & better role model to the young women that look up to her. She could have played better. I love the USA team. THey played really good just not good enough to get it done."
"Spot on. Spot on. Karma is a bitch. I wished there were someone to throw her under the bus."
"You moron. You have no clue about the game. Perhaps you can tell me ( without going to someone else for the information) what the problem in the flat back four in relation to the lack of support in the holding midfielders on the counter. You are an idiot."
If you're a woman sports fan, this is a wonderful development. This type of passion, vitriol and knowledge is normally reserved for NFL, NBA, NHL, college football, NASCAR et all. The women's soccer World Cup final is a good indicator that women's sports continues to evolve into something more than a Title IX lollipop to feminists. Not a lot more, but it's moving.
Sunday's final between the U.S and Japan set a Twitter record of 7,196 tweets per second. That's more than news regarding the death of Osama bin Laden, and the Royal wedding between William and Pippa's sister.
The four-lettered's ratings of the match registered an 8.6. That's more than the average of the Rangers-Giants 2010 World Series, and the most recent Stanley Cup Finals. To be fair, dogs playing blackjack often draws better than hockey in this country.
There are a million ways to cut these facts - there was nothing else on, Americans love watching Americans in the finals of an international event, etc. - but there is also one undeniable truth. After sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into women's sports and forcing the revenue-sucking Title IX down a nation's throats there is a residual. There is an audience for women's sports.
Having worked for women's college athletic teams at Kansas, Missouri State and TCU I can say with absolute certainty that the market for women's sports is a decimal point of a decimal point. The money invested by athletic departments across the country is a waste relative to the revenue generated as a PR campaign for the school's benefit. Kids will go to a certain college because of the atmosphere generated by a football game or a men's basketball game. No one does that for a women's sporting event.
But this is not to say there are no fans of women's sports. Someone is going to these games. Circumstances and the timing may need to be just right to generate big interest, but there is interest.
This does not mean that the U.S. can support a pro women's soccer league. Men's soccer has a hard enough time. If the WNBA didn't have the NBA to float them the cash to cover all of its losses this league would die, too.
The women who play and coach these sports should not necessarily just be happy with the status quo, and they should all be proud they have been part of a multi-generational movement that has established a tiny piece of footing that previously was likely thought as impossible.
If a game between two women's sports teams can generate this response from a fan - "You're a f***ing idiot!!!!!!!" - they are obviously making progress.
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