I like soccer. I like women’s soccer. I like it in large part because they’re ruthless psychos who take no prisoners, tend not to dive, kick the shit out of one another like a three-legged (wo)man in an ass-kicking contest, and – yes – because Americans are clearly superior to the rest of the world. To take the one thing countries like Argentina have over America and destroy them at it, and to do so because we are freer and treat our women better, is awesome.
And I understand why it was necessary to score 13 against Thailand. This is the World Cup, the biggest and most important thing any of the women will ever do with their lives, that will lead some of them to fortunes and modeling contracts worth fortunes and non-modeling contracts worth fewer fortunes but still some fortunes, and the goal differential is important to advancing out of the group stage, and you definitely want to be the best team in your group because being the best is the entire point of playing, so you’re gonna go balls to the wall. After all, Sweden also gets to play Thailand and everyone knows the Swedes will take any opportunity beat on lesser opponents, as is their Swedish Way, and you’d hate to see your chances in the tournament hindered just because you were nicer than Sweden.
Still, y’all danced and celebrated like you’d won the actual World Cup and hadn’t instead just scored a 13th fucking goal against Thailand. Thailand. And, I even get that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for some girls and so let them enjoy and celebrate because they earned it, dammit. I’m sympathetic to that, to be honest. I scored a goal once in high school – during gym class – and to this day I will lie in bed and think, “I really was pretty good, wasn’t I?” so if I’d scored in a real game, let alone a World Cup, I would’ve had a celebration designed by Drake and Cardi B.
But spare me this crap about women being treated differently than men for how they play a game.
There are approximately 800,000 examples of men being told to “act like you’ve been there before.”
- The NFL is so draconian in it’s approach to happiness that it is humorlessly known as the No Fun League.
- There are hockey players whose primary job is to get into fist fights for revenge on behalf of teammates who have been slighted.
- In baseball, if you hit a homerun and look at it for too long – forget about pumping your fist, doing a backflip, and high-fiving people – or don’t run around the bases at the completely arbitrary speed of “fast enough,” the next time you come up to bat someone will throw a 100 MPH leather-skinned ball at your fucking head – usually because his manager demanded it.
I could write 10,000 words on how baseball does everything it can to prevent any sort of jubilation – Bryce Harper and Manny Machado both signed contracts in excess of $300m this past summer, that’s how talented they are at sports, and people still openly talked about if their “attitude was right” – and still be on chapter one.
I’d give an example of the US Men’s Soccer team doing something improper as they celebrate a victory but, you know … However, when Germany thumped Brazil in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup 7-1, a victory so thorough the game has a title akin to those given famous scenes of war: The Mineirazo (The Agony of Mineirão), German players went out of their way to not celebrate in their opponent’s humiliation:
“You have to show the opponent respect and it was very important that we did this and didn’t try to show some magic or something like this. It was important we played our game for 90 minutes.” – Mats Humels, Germany defenderhttp://www.nydailynews.com/sports/soccer/germany-vowed-not-humiliate-brazil-world-cup-semifinal-hummels-article-1.1861976
Whether it was right or wrong, those male players knew they’d be chastised for the perception of celebrating a goal scored against an over-matched opponent. (Unless one expects me to believe that Germans are inherently nice people.)
If you want to tell me Alex Morgan had to score five goals, if you want to tell me she had to celebrate each of them, if you want to tell me there are no friends in sports and that the only thing that matters is winning, so be it; I’m on board with kicking foreign ass on foreign soil. But stop with this nonsense that the negative reaction to celebrating beating a crappy team is driven by sexism. Sports have been played by men since the British invented them in the 1800s and all these weird little unwritten rules and unspoken expectations have been there from the first whistle.
After all, the term is: sportsmanship.