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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why women's sports stink and why women know nothing about sport in two sick-making lessons.

Weren't they cute? Weren't they exciting? Weren't they so...sporty?

Didn't The Jug-Eared One watch with his distaff dimbulbs? Doesn't that mean that estrogen is the new black? [Or the new high yellow?]

No! They lost. News flash girls: As ol' Herm Edwards says "You play to win the game!"


From Washington's other newspaper:

Sally Jenkins: Give Those Girls A Participation Trophy!

For absence of all reasonable behavior, for fits, spasms, shouts and other involuntary reflexes, have you ever experienced anything like the Women’s World Cup? If we at home were insensible and raw-throated after all the “GOALS!” and the “OH NOOOOOOS!” can you imagine how the participants felt? It was past 11 p.m. in Germany, and Japan and the United States were dirty, limping and panting with exhaustion. But underneath all the grime, players from both teams were covered with something else, too. Call it honor.

By then speechlessness had set in — but what was there to say? Nothing, except a bewildered congratulations to Japan and thanks to both teams for such an unanticipated, enthralling spectacle — and thank God we don’t have to go through this again until 2015.

The only people who are entitled to feel bad about the United States’ enervating loss in the World Cup final on a penalty shootout after extra time are the handful of American players who thought the trophy was in their grasp so many times over the course of the game, only to have it wrenched away by — what? An unforgiving crossbar, for one thing. But for another, a Japanese team playing for more than itself, that trailed twice but wouldn’t leave the field without answering, and at last won thanks to their diving goalie Ayumi Kaihori , whose flailing shin blocked Shannon Boxx’s first penalty-kick attempt and put the United States behind for the first time all game. “They never gave up,” Abby Wambach said simply.

Let’s get this straight: The World Cup has no magical powers than can make a tsunami and a nuclear meltdown un-happen. But it can console, and uplift and send a message home about fighting back, and you’d be one ugly American to begrudge them this victory.

You’d be ugly, too, to criticize the American team unduly for the loss after such a memorable run. The penalty-kick phase was inglorious — Boxx, Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath each missed on successive attempts, no doubt affected by the pressure of the moment. But I’d defy any viewer or critic to hold up under the same circumstances, given the way Japan had seized the momentum with its overtime comeback. The Americans suffered from an invisible drag all game long, even though they dominated for long stretches, and twice led, including that 2-1 margin that came off Wambach’s header in the 104th minute. Though they ran themselves into the dirt mounting huge offensive surges, they were never properly rewarded on the scoreboard.

They had dozens of scoring chances — the United States could easily have led 4-0 in the first half. But balls bounced wide. They ticked off the post or the crossbar. Some went awry out of haste, or wrong decisions, or over-anxiousness. But in some cases they were just purely unlucky — Wambach missed one left-footed strike in the first half by a fraction of an inch. There was no understanding why shots simply wouldn’t go in the net. “You can’t,” Coach Pia Sundhage said.

You got the feeling it just wasn’t their day — and you got the feeling that they had that feeling, too.


Ack! Another one from USA Today:

Christine Brennan: I Don't Mind Being A Loser Because Losing Like This Is Sooooooo Cool

So this is what it might have felt like if Brandi Chastain and another teammate or two had missed those penalty kicks at the Rose Bowl in 1999. This is the flip side of the epic battle. This is the bitter taste of losing a game that could have, even should have, been won. This is the memorable game gone awry when it mattered most. This is the storybook ending that doesn't end right.

The remarkable U.S. women's national soccer team will wince for some time over its 2011 Women's World Cup second-place finish. In some ways, perhaps, the members of the team might never completely shake the disappointment of losing to Japan, especially the ugly way it was all frittered away at the very end. This is as intelligent, as dedicated and as classy a collection of teammates as has ever represented the USA, in soccer or any other sport. They know they had victory in hand in the World Cup final not once but twice Sunday but let it get away. That's not something that is easily forgotten.

Try as they might to finally escape the long shadows of their role models from 1999, they could not quite do it. The '99ers remain the last U.S. team to win the World Cup. That will sting for some time. So, too, will the fact that this team was beaten by a more relentless opponent, a deserving and gritty Japanese team that had an answer for everything the Americans tried, and in the end, simply did the little things better. Especially when it counted most, after the 90 minutes of regulation, then the 30 minutes of overtime with the game tied 2-2, then finally in that part of the game Americans have come to know quite well: the penalty kicks.

It's becoming fairly obvious that in the most crucial moments in U.S. women's soccer, Americans live by penalty kicks, and sometimes they die by them, too.

How do you explain the three consecutive missed PKs by the Americans at the moment when they most needed to rise to the occasion? Oh-for-3? This group of athletes? A week earlier, they had made them all in the crucible of the improbable Brazil game that rocketed them to instant fame. In 1999, it was the same, 5-for-5.

Now, 0-for-3? By the time Abby Wambach easily made hers, the game was effectively lost. It was just a terrible way for a riveting game to end.

But hadn't we seen something like this earlier in the same game? Not in PKs, not all alone with the goalkeeper a sitting duck, of course. But in the frenetic first 20 minutes, when the Americans had chance upon chance and sent the ball high, or hit the post, or just missed wide. It was only natural to think the USA should have been ahead by two or three goals — and yet the score still was 0-0. That's how the game is played, of course; close doesn't count. But as the match wore on, and Japan caught its breath and got its bearings, those missed opportunities loomed large. The PK horrors thus became a sad bookend of what might have been for the Americans.

"Evidently, it wasn't meant to be," Wambach said after it was over. "We worked so hard, we believed in each other through everything. I'm very proud of our team. Congratulations to Japan. Their country is very, very proud of them."

There was no shame in this, in losing to Japan. Not in this tournament. Not in this year. Such an organized and disciplined team, Japan knocked two-time defending champion Germany out of its home tournament last weekend. And, just four months after the nation's devastating earthquake and tsunami, it defeated the USA for the first time ever — its record against the Americans now is 1-22-3. To call this stirring victory Japan's "Miracle on Grass" is probably to get it about right.

The positives about this game for the U.S. team and the worldwide game they represent so well will eventually bubble to the surface, and there are many. It was a much more entertaining game than the 0-0 final at the Rose Bowl in 1999, and not just because there was actual scoring. The speed and skill of the women's game have improved tremendously. Parity has arrived, and its name is Japan. The game is good and getting better. No one has to explain themselves for loving women's soccer as they did in 1999. The raw, awe-inspiring athletic moments from this tournament will not soon be forgotten, and will bring more girls to the game around the world. That's a given.

So, yes, the Americans lost the World Cup on Sunday. But they once again were an integral part of another moment in the advancement of women's sports around the world. If there's such a thing as winning while losing, that's what the Americans just did in Germany. [Emphasis mine. - F.G.]

Sally! Christine! Put down the Microsoft Word and make me a sandwich!


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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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