Sunday Paper (Year 3, Volume XXVI)
I've been thinking a lot about gender lately.
On Tuesday afternoon, my wife gave birth to our third beautiful daughter.
Unlike with our second daughter, we chose not to find out the gender of this baby, so we didn't know until 3:48pm (actually, probably like 3:49 or 3:50...those first couple of minutes were kind of hectic) on Tuesday that we had another girl.
So I've been thinking a lot about the female gender in particular, and the role sports plays in the lives of women.
When I got this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, those two subjects intertwined perfectly.
My oldest daughter comments on gender often. She has said things like, "Only boys can play baseball"...and I can understand why. There are no women on the Mets.
But I don't want her to grow up thinking that she can't participate just because no other women do. So I try to make equal time - if there's a college women's softball game on, I'll make sure to turn it on for a few minutes and make sure she sees it.
When the UConn women's basketball team was getting so much press earlier this year, I made sure to expose her to some of that. (Though it was interesting that she picked up right away on the male coach. I tried to point out female coaches when I could.)
Now, enter that Sports Illustrated article - the one previewing the women's World Cup. Not usually a soccer fan, I get caught up in the World Cup every four years...the men's version.
But now comes a team - the U.S. women - that's not just a popular pick to go deep in the tournament, but will have every game televised and get plenty of exposure...and they're coached, for just the second time in team history, by a woman!
I hope these young women turn out to be as positive an influence on my daughters off the field as they will be just by playing on the field beginning this week...but for now all I care about is being able to watch some women playing a sport.
That's all my girls will care about.
All three of them.
*As I was writing this article, it occurred to me that soccer must be the sport in which there is the least amount of difference between the game the men play and the game the women play...is that true? I suppose basketball is close, but there's a closer 3-point line in women's basketball...other sports involve more physical play in the men's version (lacrosse, hockey). If there are differences in soccer, I'm not aware of them. Anyone care to weigh in?
*And for what it's worth, I've always rooted for the WNBA to succeed, but I've never been much of a fan. I'll let my daughters' interests drive how much time we spend watching women's professional sports for all of their seasons...but I'll tell you this: I have a suspicion these women's sports - the WNBA, the WPS (do I have that right? The soccer league?), and women's college games - are all more family-friendly events to attend than Major League Baseball.
*Last comment on the main topic here - I went out Saturday to find a women's World Cup jersey for my girls...nothing. Not even through the Nike site online. (There were adult sizes online, but not at the store.) I know that they probably wouldn't sell as well as the men's versions...but marketing, too, would be a step in the right direction.
*I have a hard time not taking Jim Riggleman's side with his resignation from the Nationals...it kind of seems like he's right. The Nationals are going places. I already think I'm picking them as a wild card or better next year - they're getting Strasburg back, they're going to have Harper up, he's looking like the real deal. Obviously they're playing well right now. If I'm Riggleman, I'm going to want a longer-term commitment too...and when better to strike then when the iron's at its hottest...i.e. winning 10 of 11 or whatever it is. And I guess if you're getting that kind of response (as in, no response - or more accurately, a reluctance from the GM to have a meeting to talk about your future), good for you to sticking to your principles and stepping down. And now that Davey Johnson is in charge...I'm going to have a hard time not rooting for the Nationals to have some success.
*Davey Johnson and Jack McKeon back in managing....The Winnipeg Jets back in the NHL....what is this - 1987?
*I guess I should say something about the Mets here (this is a Mets blog, after all). A big 14-5 win over Texas on Saturday! Unfortunately, those kinds of offensive outbursts are the exception rather than the rule...once the Mets start consistently playing well, I'll start paying some closer attention.
*Random thought - my personal e-mail account that I use most often is an MSN account. They have the worst iPhone e-mail checking app out there. I might make the complete switch to gmail at some point. But you don't have to worry about that - if you're interested in contacting me, use firstname.lastname@example.org - that'll go straight to my iPhone no problem.
*I should have written this in last week's Sunday Paper, but there was a lot going on: I'm far from the person most affected by the death of musician Clarence Clemons...but I am a fan. And I'm happy that my last memory of Clemons is such a positive one. In the Mets season opener in Florida this past April (I'm almost positive it was the Friday night opener, but if not it was definitely the season-opening weekend), Clemons played the national anthem on the saxophone. It was simply just about the best version of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' that I've heard...and I've joked occasionally since then that it was the highlight of this Mets season for me. What more can you ask of anyone gone too soon other than that your last memory be so positive?