It doesn’t take much time spent around me to know this: I LOVE sports.
And beyond that, I love women’s sports. Years spent working alongside and covering Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols left me passionate about women’s sports, the women who play them, and the leaders they produce.
Over the years, I’ve watched many, many sports events. This weekend, I saw something that was a first. And I hope it will be a last.
On Saturday, I found myself a bit frustrated that the Vols football game and the Serena Williams match at the U.S. Open were being played at the same time. But a weather delay in the UT game gave me a break to catch some tennis.
What I saw were two totally different things:
- an exceptional match of tennis played by the eventual winner, Naomi Osaka
- a patronizing display of sexism and double standards exhibited by the chair umpire
Mind you, I watch both men’s and women’s sports. I know a great deal about all sports—if you’d like to test me, feel free. And because I watch so much, I know a double standard when I see one.
You see, sports in general have a problem. Men are expected to “be men” when they play—and can demonstrate any of a full spectrum of emotions, often without consequence.
Women, on the other hand, are expected to be “ladies,” even in the heat of a sporting event.
Saturday’s tennis match is one example of this ridiculous double standard. Serena maintained a relatively level, if heated and temper-charged, voice throughout. She was passionate in defending herself. But you’ll have a difficult time convincing me that her words—and calling the chair umpire a thief for stealing a point from her—rose to the level of “verbal abuse.”
You’ll have an even more difficult time convincing me that her actions merited that level of punishment on the biggest stage in tennis in crunch time.
Contrast that with the behavior of male tennis athletes, who often curse while yelling all during the course of a match. And yet that typically goes unpenalized.
This incident is far from the only time female athletes were penalized for “unladylike” behavior. You need only look at the increase in technical fouls called this season in the WNBA to see another example of women being penalized for behavior that’s accepted, and I dare say even demanded, in the men’s game.
If you believe that the punishment fits the crime, you’re entitled to your opinion. But if penalties were merited, they should also be instituted each and every time that the same behavior (or worse) occurs in a men’s event.
It’s 2018, y’all. It’s long past time for us to realize that women can be ladies and athletes with emotions and frustrations and intensity.
I for one am over it.
For other good content on this topic, see these links:
Serena Williams is owed an apology for much more than a penalty
Billie Jean King: Serena is still treated differently than male athletes
At U.S. Open, power of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka is overshadowed by an umpire’s power play
Each week, I’ll drop in a pic and description of my favorite sip or bite—and a recommendation, too!
This is the First Watch traditional breakfast, complete with scrambled eggs, bacon, whole grain toast, and potatoes. I intended to have it this week as my cheat meal, but it fit in my macros, so it didn’t count!
I finished up Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult last week. I seriously thought I’d read all her work, but this one was a new one for me. And I loved it as much as I loved all the others!
Now reading Beach Music by Pat Conroy. It’s a thick book, so it might take me a week or so. 😉
Audiobook-wise, I’m still listening to Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate. Kinda slow-moving, but still good.
Now surely, you didn’t think I’d create a blog without my baby love in it, right?!
Baby girl reading through some type of osmosis. This photo made me giggle.
Questions I’m pondering…
These things are on my mind—if you know the answer, please share! Sometimes these will be light-hearted, other times they will not.
- What goal/project/mission do you have in life where you consistently push past your boundaries?
- How do you determine when a relationship, a project, a job, or any other commitment is no longer in your best interest? When is it time to move on?
Quote of the week
Wrapping things up
The fall temperatures may not be here yet, but it’s fall, y’all. Lots of orange all around, football on TV on Saturdays and Sundays, and a calmer vibe. I’m here for it.
See you next week.