A week or so ago after an old-timers match the boys were huddled as normal. A few refreshments were being consumed and injuries being tended to.
Some were discussing our extremely unimpressive 3-0 win, others were talking over current transfer rumors and then out of the blue a remark was made that first brought a stunned silence, and then a few seconds later nods of approval.
What was this unburdening of the conscience that made quiet the normally boisterous crowd?
It was that the Women’s World Cup was being watched and not only watched but enjoyed.
What’s more it was being given the same level of scrutiny that the lads would apply to the Premier League, international men’s games and the likes of MLS.
The countries that emphasized technique and quickness were praised and admired. Blunders were criticized, tactical changes were debated, and officials were….well, need I say more?
In addition, to a man they all felt that the lack of injury drama in the women’s games was something to be deeply admired. In fact many wished that the men’s game could return to a time when a knock was just a knock and that perhaps male players should learn to take it like a woman rather than the fan dancers that so many had become.
Now you may have the same reaction as some in the Fox Soccer Report newsroom had. “Well isn’t that wonderful, a bunch of chauvinist old guys getting dragged into the new century.”
But to jump to that conclusion not only misunderstands the context of the praise but also how far the women’s game has come in the last two decades.
Although our league is for players on the other side of 40 we tend to be one of the older sides. A good proportion of the players are also new-Canadians.
You need to understand that at the time this group was growing up it wasn’t a case of the boys watching the girls play and thinking “aren’t they rubbish” – girls just did not play, it did not happen.
It was what made the Bill Forsyth movie called “Gregory’s Girl” that came out in the early 80s so good.
For a group like ours to come out and praise so unequivocally what they’ve been watching over the last three weeks also tells you what many men would like “their” game to once more aspire to – and isn’t that a turnaround.
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