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Archive for 2012|Yearly archive page

Do You Support Women’s Sports? I Haven’t And That Needs To Change.

In The Fan Experience on March 20, 2012 at 8:01 pm

For those of my readers who do not know, I actually have two blogs. The”mommy blog” is Connelly Confusion, and the sports blog is Gameday Goodness. GG has been terribly neglected since November but those of you in the blogosphere know how that can go.

Baseball season has arrived though, and I love baseball. The Gamecocks and Cougars are doing pretty well so far, and it’s awesome to see such great attendance for the games. My daughter has begun her softball season and so we’ve got cleats, bats, helmets, etc., strewn all around the house. It’s hard not to get into the spirit of the spring.

I skipped out of March Madness this year, because I really just haven’t been feeling it. Like I said, I’ve paid so little attention, it would be a total crapshoot anyway, so instead of throwing good money away, I just stayed focused on baseball. I knew somewhere in the back of my head that the Lady Gamecocks had an excellent season, but had paid them no mind either. I actually had no idea until yesterday that they were playing Purdue for a spot in the Sweet 16, or had set a team points record in the game that got them to the field of 32. Anyway, as a fan of the school, I figured I should just check it out.

Y’all. Let me tell you. That game was fantastic. The very outsized Gamecocks had total and complete control of that game from start to finish. The pressure these women applied on defense was outstanding. The shooting was excellent and the scrappy, never say die, don’t give them an inch style of play did not let up even once. At one point during the game, I said to my husband, “If women’s sports were always this good, I’d probably watch more of them. You know, if there were more than fifty people there and this level of play.” Mental pause. To self: WHAAAAT???!!!

I couldn’t believe I said that. It’s not the Lady Gamecock’s fault that typically their turnout isn’t the same as the men’s. They are an outstanding team. Way more successful than the men’s team, actually. It isn’t the school’s fault either – the women’s basketball team is promoted too. Whose fault is it, you ask? It’s mine. And yours. And everyone else like us who doesn’t pay any attention to women’s sports.

After hearing those ridiculous words come out of my mouth, I began thinking back to the last time I watched a women’s team in person, other than my daughter’s. I had to go back to college, which was longer ago than I’d care to admit. Why did I go? I worked for the athletic department – I had to be there. I have a distinct memory of being at a CofC Lady Cougars softball game, and no one being there but the team, the school employees, and maybe a few family members, friends. Less than twenty people were in the stands. They were good too and no one knew, or cared, as far as I can recall.

My children have been to several collegiate sporting events. Were any of them the women’s teams? Nope. As a parent of a girl, I’m ashamed of myself. She plays softball, and I took her to see baseball. She played soccer and I took her to see football. As the parent of a boy, I’m ashamed of myself. Is his sport more important than his sister’s? I know I’m going further with this than the reality, but I’m trying to make a point. If I am the gender equality mom that I think I am, my daughter deserves to be exposed to sports played by people of her own gender, or what message does that send to her? My son needs to know that the women who play these sports are just as athletic, hardworking and talented as the men, or what message does that send to him?

I hope to change this, sooner rather than later. There are tons of opportunities locally to see collegiate women’s sports, and yours truly is definitely going to go buy tickets. For all of us.

 

 

 

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

In Baseball on March 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I love baseball. Currently, this would seem obvious – as a Gamecock fan, it’s easy to proclaim the awesomeness of baseball while riding the wave of back to back National Championships. (We closed down Rosenblatt, in case you hadn’t heard) And, as usual per this woefully neglected blog, I am only referring to college baseball – the pro’s may as well not even exist in my little world.

But the sport itself is fascinating to me. Complex, yet simple, simultaneously. The premise is easy – the execution is the challenge. I don’t even bother trying to understand the record keeping. Recently I read Moneyball, and basically had to think really hard in order to understand the book simply because of the sheer quantity of information – stats, stats, and even more stats. Regardless, I pushed through and became privy to one of the greatest stories in modern sports. Numbers never lie, and once the pattern was revealed, Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane became a man obsessed with them. As an aside, if you are a sports fan reading this blog, I highly recommend the book, as well as the movie. Truly fascinating stuff.

Baseball moves slowly for play after play, and then, in the blink of an eye, points are scored, runners are thrown out and history is made. Anyone who has played a sport of any kind will attest that the waiting around for play action is enough to make you climb straight out of your skin. When you are sitting in left field while your pitcher throws strike after strike, it’s hard to stay focused, to stay as taut as an arrow on the string, ready to fly at the flick of a wrist. But stay on task they must, while those of us watching from the comfort of our sofas are lulled to sleep by the slow cadence of the broadcast. That one moment of acceleration to catch a outfield fly ball begins and ends in an instant, and yet can change the course of a game entirely.

There is a certain kind of mystique attached to America’s pastime, though. A mythical quality not yet breached by this country’s other love, football. For while the football fans are legion, baseball fans are different. They notice subtleties and dissect them endlessly, challenging the outcome of a game by posing possibilities that seem minute, but game changing nonetheless. Neither is superior over the other; they are simply different animals. Football is power while baseball is prowess. Football is the bear, while baseball is the wolf.

I grew up watching baseball, often supervised by adults holding cigarettes to keep the bugs away. Sitting on aluminum bleachers for at least two, sometimes three hours at a time, making countless trips to the snack bar for blow-pops, sodas and popcorn. Eventually I sat in real seats watching local minor leagues and my beloved Gamecocks. By then I was there for the socializing, the dollar beer, and the cheap entertainment. But now I’m back as a lover of the game itself, and am happy to report that it is exactly as it always has been – slow and fast, simple and complex, all at once. Take me out to the ballgame, sooner rather than later, please.

“Baseball is a ballet without music.  Drama without words.”  ~Ernie Harwell, “The Game for All America,” 1955