Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Two Cheers

The excellent Natalie Bennett, of this blog, has a piece up on CiF that questions the decision by the FA to forbid mixed gender teams after 14 or so. So say all of us. It's absurd that in any non-contact sport any factor other than ability should come onto it. I've played a lot of cricket in my time, and have faced a rather nifty female opening bowler in club cricket in Hampshire, and an extremely irritating spinner in Oxfordshire who happened to be 16 and have a long pony tail (and was a girl too). Neither was there as a favour, both were worth their place in the side, and hurrah for that.

If it is acceptable for a 16 year old boy to play test match cricket (Sachin Tendulkar in 1990, the Bangladeshi 'keeper last year) why should a woman not play, always provided she is good enough? This is not to say that women should play in football teams, but that there should be no reason why they should not. I do, however, part company with Natalie a touch when she comes to rugby. It is true that there are some half-backs who are as physically weaker than a hulking great forward, but I think Natalie misses a point. She says that most male opposition to mixed rugby would be that physical contact equals sex and that therefore no girls in the scrum.

There's a better, and more likely a truer reason most men balk at the idea of mixed rugby. Even a brief glimpse of a game of rugby (at any level) reveals the huge role violence has to play. In the scrum devilish things go on that no-one knows, and no-one tells. The presence of women in the scrum would either be a horrendous clash between expectation and reality, or else an end to a large amount of the inherent phyisicality of rugby. Because if there's one lesson that all real men get hammered into them from the time they can walk it is "You never hit girls." I think it's better if we stick to that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The woman's an idiot. She keeps on parroting that there is no evidence that men are better at sport than women.

My experience at school will not surprise anyone with a brain. Mixed school, everybody has to run a bit, some of each sex run on cross-country teams. We're not talking about girls that haven't been given any encouragement, we're talking about girls and boys that have had roughly equal sporting experiences.

Once a year, we had an inter-house race where everybody ran. The top girls were always well ahead of most of the boys, but they were also always well behind the top boys. The same pattern repeated itself further down the field - the clump of averagely-fit boys arrived home ahead of the averagely-fit girls. Even the ambulant blubber-mountain came home ahead of the fat girl.

Now, of course there were several girls
that could compete with the second-tier boys. It is not surprising that you've met a few competative female club cricket players. There's no reason why they shouldn't compete. Natalie's dream that in a few decades we'll be seeing men and women competing on equal terms at the top levels of sport, though, are absurd - women just aren't fit / strong / fast enough.

5:42 pm  
Blogger Tim J said...

Yes I agree with that, at the top levels of all but a very few, non-contact sports like golf or conceivably tennis, it is overwhelmingly likely that women will be unable to compete on a level playing field with men.

What strikes a bum note is the FA making it not allowed for mixed teams above the age of 11. There really shouldn't be any need for any such rule. If girls aren't good enough to compete, they shouldn't be in the team; if they are, they shouldn't be prevented by a rule.

6:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree.

I do take the point of those who claim that allowing the occasional female superstar to lay in the big boys' game will suck the talent out of the women's game, but I think it's a load of nonsense.

1. If an individual woman wants to compete against the men, it is manifestly unjust to deny her the chance because it would result in less TV cash for the other women, or some similar nonsense excuse.

2. If our female superstar is so far ahead of the other women, it'll be really dull watching her stomp all over the competition every year anyway - it'll make for a more entertaining competition to get her out.

3. If the women's game is interesting, the money will come, and the top women may well do better financially from being at the top of the women's game rather than from chasing behind the men.

10:58 pm  

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