18 December 2010

Mr DeFord's comment this week

[Carol DeFord and her spouse, Frank, regular ‘Morning Edition’ commentator on npr on Wednesdays, lost to death from cystic fibrosis a child at the little girl’s age of eight. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Deford

I loathe that this ("In a crowded world of images, you need the extreme to upset the accepted; you need a phenomenon to change the everyday.") is true re struggling against sexism, in particular. But it is true.

Frank DeFord, although he is senior Sports Illustrated writer, is the only man in sports media (of whom I know) who .regularly. writes about -- -- and then, too, actually in his very own voice loudly and .regularly. speaks out about -- -- struggling against sexism.

Frank DeFord has long, long ago made My Edition list -- -- the registry of names, past and present and of short - to - moderate length, of men (of whom I know) ... whom I do and would ... trust.]

Sweetness And Light

by Frank DeFord // 15 December 2010


On the whole, far less attention is paid to women's team sports than to women's individual sports. The most recognized female stars are invariably tennis players, swimmers, skiers –– whereas most popular male heroes are team players.

After all, these guys are on our teams. They're playing for us. Women's teams have never enjoyed that sense of the possessive.

And it's not so simple as the old glass-ceiling analogy. No, it's more emotional: teams represent our city, our college. They represent us –– the old team spirit. So, for many gentlemen, having a team of girls representing us is too much to bear.

And to be frank, female fans have themselves miserably failed their sisters; they've not yet come to support women's teams as men do their own athletes.

O, there was that feel-good moment in the summer of '99 when our American women won the soccer World Cup. But an attempt at a women's pro soccer league quickly collapsed, and a new one barely survives. Women's pro basketball is humored –– forced to play in the off-season, the summer, so the desperate arenas can at least open the concession stands.

In college, women's softball, volleyball, and ice hockey are tolerated mostly just as necessary evils –– fill up the Title IX quota. They sure don't fill up the stands. Watch your local 6 o'clock news. How often does the sports guy even make a reference to a women's team game?

Sure, Serena and Venus get mentioned during the Grand Slams; the be-sequined figure-skater dolls every four years at the Olympics; maybe golfer Michelle Wie if she's in contention this weekend — but women's teams?

That's why the University of Connecticut's basketball team and its 87 consecutive victories mean so much. The streak places a spotlight on all of women's basketball.

The Huskies force people –– men and women alike –– to at least think about women's teams. The idea. Little girls see UConn and they realize they don't have to pick up a tennis racket or a pair of figure skates. By being so good, UConn has not just transcended its sport, but it's doing a number on tradition. On sexism, too.

And, well, as for numbers, the Huskies can, within a week, pass the incredible record of 88 wins in a row set by the UCLA men back in the 1970s. Whether the Huskies break that record or not –– and they're not so very good this year that they couldn't come a cropper against Ohio State this Sunday –– they sure have made people notice them.

By its success, UConn is to women's basketball sort of what the Baltimore Colts-New York Giants overtime game in 1958 was to the NFL. After that, fans stayed tuned to pro football. They bought tickets.

In a crowded world of images, you need the extreme to upset the accepted; you need a phenomenon to change the everyday.
"Under no persuasion could I be made to believe that a human sacrifice several thousand years ago vicariously redeems me from sin. Nothing could persuade me that that was true, or moral, by the way. It's white noise to me." Christopher Hitchens, @ the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 13 October 2010, and published in Freethought Today, Freedom From Religion Foundation, December 2010 issue.

"I wouldn't say that religion is a form of mental illness, but I will say that religion allows perfectly sane and neurologically healthy people to believe things by the millions that only mentally ill people could believe on their own. The social support of doctrine allows for quite crazy beliefs in the 21st century to be held and operated upon by perfectly sane people." Sam Harris in discussing his The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values and published in Freethought Today, Freedom From Religion Foundation, December 2010 issue.

"Staff attorney Patrick Elliott's correspondence with the Janesville (Wisconsin) Public School system got Alcoholics Anonymous dropped from the curriculum of a public charter school." The Annual Freedom From Religion Foundation Report and Year in Review for 2010, http://www.ffrf.org/publications/freethought-today/articles/overheard-november-2010

"Another judge maintained that he believed women sought protection orders in order to get the family home. Another judge refused to believe one woman's story because her husband was a physician and a 'pillar of the community.' Another judge refused to believe a woman because she had no visible bruises by the time she appeared in his court, and he suggested she come back after her next beating!" -- -- US Congressional hearing - testimony re "justice" meted out on to ."American". women -- -- http://www.mith2.umd.edu/WomensStudies/GenderIssues/Violence+Women/testimony-morella

No comments: