Let sports be fun again
America has won four World Cup women's soccer tournaments because the rest of the world just doesn't care about women's soccer, argues Steve Sailer. With no real competition, the quality of play doesn't approach that of the men, as anyone who has even a nodding acquaintance with the game recognizes. In this land of pygmies, our girls stride the earth like giants.
Thinking about that led me to consider how strikingly the thinking in sports has changed from what it was in my youth in the fifties and sixties. We played for fun and to have something to do, coached by men who worked all day and then came home and coached their kids' teams. Today, many kids' teams have former professionals coaching them even at the youngest ages.
I don't have a feel for whether this is good, bad, or indifferent. Had pro athletes not politicized sports, turning it from war-by-analogy into a form of real war, I wouldn't feel conflicted about it, but the fun has been siphoned off and replaced with burning anger over issues unrelated to the game at hand. Today, at some point, half the crowd are likely to have ugliness rubbed in their faces as the other half cheer.
Rapinoe addresses the Women's World Cup victory parade crowd, July 10, 2019.
(Fox Soccer screen grab via YouTube.)
Whether you side with Rapinoe or Kaepernick isn't the point. The point is that there was never sufficient reason to turn something fun and healthy into something hateful and ugly, for disrespecting the country that gave you birth, not on international television or on the field down the street. Even North Koreans love their country (if not their system), and they're right to love their country. Imagine if you had been born there, or Rwanda, or anywhere else in the Third World. You might not have survived childhood. Yet you insult a country that made it possible for you to thrive.
Ugliness isn't necessary to make a point. Besides, whatever else, it's bad manners. It's unsportsmanlike and conduct unbecoming. Make political statements in other venues and other ways. Let sport be fun again.