It’s simple. You should tune in to women’s sports because they’re enjoyable and entertaining to watch. People talk about the gender pay gap in sports, and they’re right to. But then they don’t do the one thing that would get women paid more: Turning on the TV and watching the women do their thing.
In a just society, I believe that people should get paid what they’re worth. As the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has shown us, that doesn’t happen. But that’s actually more of an anomaly than the rule and not the point of this column. Sure, some of this is due to a lack of media coverage, but if we tuned in, I guarantee you the media would be there, so I’m not speaking about that either.
The point of this column is not to tell you to watch a WNBA game just so that women can get paid more. I’m telling you to watch the WNBA because it’s good basketball. In the men’s game, there are plenty of complaints we get: James Harden’s never-ending march to the free throw line, video reviews that take forever, players chewing out refs incessantly, etc. So why don’t you tune in during the offseason and watch basketball that doesn’t have any of that. Not only that, but the WNBA game has more ball movement than any NBA game not involving the Golden State Warriors. If I’m coaching a youth team, I’m showing them WNBA game film. It’s a beautiful game to watch. Women’s college basketball too for that matter. Don’t worry, you’ll still get your crossovers, step-back 3’s, no-look passes, and Dream Shakes in the women’s game. After all, we’re not complete purists here.
Speaking of beautiful games to watch, have you seen the U.S. Women’s Soccer team play? If you haven’t, to say that you’re missing out is an understatement. The World Cup has always been one of my favorite events as a fan, and in the women’s game, we actually win it occasionally instead of failing to qualify like the men just did.
My favorite in-person sports memory remains the 1999 World Cup Final where the U.S. prevailed on PK’s. I’ll never forget that afternoon in the Rose Bowl with my family. The stadium was roaring throughout. . . Hey, what do you know? The World Cup starts today! So get those U.S. flags and scarves out. Get ready to be entertained. Speaking of entertaining . . . Remember that Abby Wambach goal a few years back? I know I do!
Another important aspect of women’s sports, especially for those of you with children, is that professional female athletes make terrific role models (and as to the children, no, I’m not specifying daughters; sons can learn from women too). Not only do the athletes exhibit discipline, competitiveness, and all of the other assets that professional athletes possess, but many female athletes are trend-setters and not in the neo-Kardashian sense of the word “trend.”
Female athletes have been at the forefront of social activist movements and societal injustice awareness, especially in the recent past. Although, if you’re a conservative, the social activism may not be for you. But alas, not everything is for everyone. But even for you conservatives out there, how about pointing to the courage of female athletes like U.S. Gymnast Aly Raisman for stemming the tide of sexual abuse in sports? We’re all anti-sexual abuse, right?
Sports are great because of the competitiveness, the unscripted drama, the lessons we learn from them, and for a hoard of other reasons I’m sure you can rattle off yourselves. None of those aspects of sports are missing in the games played by women, and it’s not just limited to soccer and basketball. Watch women play tennis, softball, volleyball, golf, anything really and you’ll see what I’m talking about. In fact, because the women are paid less, there’s far less ego, less attention-grabbing, but every bit as much energy, toughness, and drive. Not to mention the fact that you get to watch elite athletes do their thing at a fraction of the price it costs to watch their male counterparts play.
I hope you’re understanding now that this column hasn’t been about paying female athletes more money out of some sort of charitable or even equitable instinct. To wit, the NBA draws far more viewers and merchandise dollars than the WNBA and both are businesses at their cores. Therefore, the women playing pro basketball get less money than the men because they generate less revenue. Math is not discriminatory. Instead, I’m trying to convince you to ditch your innate sexism when it comes to your sports viewership and give women’s sports a try. If you need one final reason, remember, female athletes flop roughly 0.00000001% as much as male athletes. Wouldn’t sports without flopping and the subsequent griping at officials be nice for a change? Yep, they sure would. And all you have to do is tune in, sit back, and enjoy.