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ISABELLA… I have never been much of a fan of soccer, men’s or women. I have played a little bit of it and have used it for summertime cardio training in the past. That’s about the extent of my exposure to it. I have a rudimentary understanding of it and oddly enough, most of my viewing of it has been relegated to watching the USWNT soccer team in their various championship pursuits be they at the World Cup or Olympic level. There is something very intriguing about them as a team and as individuals. They play the game pretty much better than everyone else on a consistent basis and perhaps it is that excellence that draws me to view them so closely. They are outstanding athletically, play the game at a very high technical level, are unique and they are as “real deal” as it gets.
Unless you have been off the planet over the past month or so, the Women’s World Cup of Soccer had been taking place over in France and has had the rapt attention of the global sports viewing public within the timeframe of the competition. It has had several viewing-ratings records over the past few years with approximately 16mil viewing Sundays Gold Medal contest nationally (1bil globally) between the USA and the Netherlands. The 2015 championship drew a record 23mil viewers here. These totals have far exceeded what the Men’s National team has achieved and the women’s team has also won the battle of advertising revenues as well. These are remarkable achievements in the sports world be it from the men’s or women’s sports realm.
In becoming the World Cup champs the USA went 8-0 including the Group Stage. They also set a tournament record with the most goals scored in a single event. The team is a four-time Olympic and World Cup Champion, and if you examine their Wikipedia entry you will be examining a long list of overall greatness and domination. The same cannot be said of the men’s team but can be somewhat understood when realizing that soccer isn’t a prevalent men’s sport here but is slowly rising, emphasis on the “slowly”. I was fortunate to be able to view all the USA games in this tourney and of course was glued to the tube on Sunday morning when the team dispatched the Dutch entry in a thrilling, dominating 2-0 win. To say I was pumped up and happy for them would have been inadequate.
The team arrived back in the States earlier today and will have a NY City ticker tape parade in their honor on Wednesday. In between and afterward there will be TV, personal appearances, media exposure, endorsements and the like. Personally, I hope this will convert to some great financial success for these athletes because I am more than certain that they work as hard as any athletes in any sport. And unlike others in their athletic endeavors they got to the pinnacle of their sport. They WON their Gold. Now, will they get their “gold”? Well, that’s the question. If history is our guide the answer is a likely and firm “no”. Women generally don’t get the same financial rewards in this country for performing like work. That’s just a fact here. A sad one at that.
In the middle of my high school years the Women’s Liberation movement took flight. It got attention and issues were defined. This was in the late sixties. The issues were about the workplace, equal pay, sex harassment, violence against women, women’s independence, reproductive rights, equal managerial opportunity for women and a host of other related issues.
That was 50 years ago. Today, little progress has been made, the overall list is the same and that speaks some real pathetic volumes to me. But we usually don’t solve anything here in this country. We aren’t that bright nor are we that honest with one another, politically or otherwise. Yeah. 50 years. That sticks in my craw like a cactus in my shoe. Specifically, in 2016 the Women’s National team filed suit versus US Soccer over wage discrimination. The basic component here is that as of this year the pay for men’s team’s members is roughly 2 ½ times that of the women athletes. In 2014 when the men’s team reached the Round of 16 in the World Cup, US Soccer awarded the team $9mil. In 2015 when the women’s team won the World Cup the team received $2mil. If this was an incentive-based compensation situation, the men’s team would be starving, and the women’s team would be on easy street. The women’s team has accomplished so much more then the men have that the fact this situation even exists is laughable. But it’s real.
Not long before traveling to Europe for the tourney the team filed another suit based upon “institutional gender discrimination”. The suit not only speaks to the pay aspect of the matter but is all-encompassing regarding how the women’s team gets handled versus how the men’s team does. I wouldn’t want to be the attorney up against the women’s team, but in this country, being morally or legally right in a case doesn’t mean much. They might prevail, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t. What wins here in these times is money and power. Aside from the women’s team specific battle, they will return here as conquering heroines. And most, if not all the major issues facing women in this country will remain unresolved.
We have a political abomination of a GOP party right now that is firmly entrenched against equal rights for all women. They have been united in that effort from the start of this fight, particularly in the battle over women’s reproductive rights, sexual health, equal pay and opportunity issues. And they have had just enough “help” from wandering democrats and others on the left to prevail in this battle thus far. In addition, we have an individual sitting in the highest office of the land right now who, in speech, actions and deeds could not possibly be more vile and uncouth towards women in just about everything he says and does. He isn’t even smart enough to camouflage his disdain for women. This imbecilic fool couldn’t even qualify for a “heckuva job Brownie” for crying out loud.
This is what these dedicated, disciplined, very intelligent female champions will return to. When US star Megan Rapinoe was asked if she would go the White House if they won the Cup, she flatly stated that she wouldn’t go to the *&^$#@& White House. Rapinoe not only has being a woman going against her in Trump world, she is also openly gay, a double strike against her in this Oval Office. As an American kid I was conditioned to believe the lie about “freedom and equality” here. Today’s GOP has their own definition of who can be on that list and who can’t. Women and gays didn’t make the cut… PEACE