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Women play the right way

I haven't had a chance to follow the women's World Cup in Germany, but I caught snippets here and there of games on ESPN.  Soccer is probably the best example of a sport where I can watch women play where the game most closely resembles their male counterparts.  I also have a soft spot in my heart for women's soccer after the US won the in 1999 and Brandi Chastain privileged me when she tore off her jersey in celebration.  For the record, I was nine, so that was basically the highlight of my life.

Regardless, watching the games, the obvious differences between men and women sports are clearly present in soccer as well.  The game is just a little slower, touches rougher, and if one nation has an aerially-gifted player, they're probably going to win.  If the US advances on, I'll probably watch their games.  If not, I won't change my schedule to catch the rest of the tournament.  On the whole, I'm just not that interested in it.

But one aspect of women's soccer that caught my attention was how they react to fouls.  As most soccer fans know, to a male player, a brush on the arm or a step on the cleat is the equivalent to the medieval torture rack in their minds.  They lay on the ground, roll around, scream and beg for medical attention.  One minute later they are sprinting into the box crying out for a cross.  Flopping in soccer has become an issue of pandemic proportions.  And, worse yet, the flopping finds its way moving into basketball.  A fate worse than death in my mind.

The women are different.  They get knocked off the ball, and if they fall over, they are right back on their feet chasing after the play.  This grandiose spectacle that exists in men's soccer is nowhere to be found in the women's game.  The women play the game how it is supposed to be played.  The men make a mockery of the entire process.  The women show respect for the game and the calls.

The women ought to sit the men down in a video session and show them a game.  Show them that soccer isn't about drawing attention to yourself by pretending to be shot when the ball is poked away.  Create an instructional video to keep the game from worsening its reputation.  But most importantly, show the men it is okay for them to play tough too.


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