(And that “crazy” isn’t just an offhand word, it’s always crucial to the rhetoric to make sure the violent white person(s) can be at least vaguely described as such, to establish mental instability as the source of their actions.)
And I’m guessing we’ll soon be in for stories about his parents, and his childhood, and how troubled he was, and what might have led him to this desperate act, which we never do when POC commit these crimes—as though people of color had no inner life, no past, and no ability to be troubled, complicated human beings.
I’m sure all of you reading this remember the mother of all “disses” from when The Sandlot was at the height of its popularity. To the young kids in the movie, a lack of masculinity was the pinnacle of embarrassment. Of course, it wouldn’t be embarrassing at all if we were talking about American soccer. The entire world is aware of the United States Women’s Soccer Team’s international presence. On a global scale, the USWNT has been demolishing opponents for as long as I can remember in my 21 years. Even taking the loss to Japan last week in the World Cup Final into consideration, the USWNT’s all-time record is 369-52-56 - a winning percentage of almost 83 percent, despite seven different coaches at the helm spanning 26 years. So in a country where our female soccer players are, and have consistently been for decades, the best players in the world - why is there a Grand Canyon-sized gap between what professional American men’s soccer players earn in comparison to their female counterparts?
From May 2010-May 2011, David Beckham earned $40 million in salary and endorsements. Thierry Henry…$21 million. According to Jeff Kassouf’s “Player Wages - The Hot Topic in WPS” article posted in December 2010 on Sports Illustrated, the average salary of a WPS player in 2010 was around $27,000 - a barely manageable living for a college graduate on their own and abhorrent for an American professional athlete. One saving grace for the MLS here is that their minimum contract in 2011 is $32,604. However, there is reportedly a $565,000 salary cap on WPS teams; there are 12 players in the MLS who make $565,000 a year individually in salary alone.
Some people will inevitably argue that the female game is less entertaining than the male game. To those people I ask, “Where have you seen more thrilling, edge-of-your-seat soccer than the 2011 Women’s World Cup? Because I’d like to see that.” Not only was the USWNT’s World Cup thrilling, but the sheer quality and pace of play, tactical execution, and coaching of all of the teams playing were better than most of the professional male American soccer I’ve seen.
In an Time article entitled ”Is Women’s Pro Soccer Really Coming Back Now?”, it is reported that Mia Hamm’s salary was $93,000 when she was playing - and she was the best of all time. Some players who will make $93,000 or more in salary in the MLS in 2011 include: Dominic Oduro, Logan Pause, and Jackson Goncalves. With all due respect to these players, none of them will ever be as much of a household name as Mia Hamm, yet they make more money in salary per season than she ever did.
It’s clear that quality isn’t really the issue. The problem really is that we live in a country where the average woman makes $36,278 a year compared to $47,127 a year for males according to “Women’s Earnings and Income” on www.catalyst.org. We are a country that prides itself on the ideal of true freedom and that everyone is created equally. Yet, an American woman can only make 77 percent of what an American man can?
Me personally? I played Division 1 soccer for two years at Fordham University and Division 2 soccer for a year at Southern Connecticut State University, so I know my way around a soccer pitch. To be totally honest, the USWNT plays some of the best soccer I’ve ever seen…despite their loss in the World Cup Final. They have no exploitable weak link. They can win by demolishing their opponents or by coming from behind in the clutch. They play collective defense and fast-paced offense. They can beat you with wing play or passing through the middle. For the most part, usually, everything from the beginning whistle until the final whistle is carefully orchestrated and immaculately executed. For me, they are the best at what they do.
So why has there been such a struggle to keep a professional women’s league alive in America, a country where soccer is growing ever so popular. I blame poor advertising choices, and misuse of funds. The Los Angeles Sol disbanded and so has St. Louis Athletica. We live in the greatest country on planet Earth for women’s soccer, and we aren’t taking advantage of it. There is probably a WPS team somewhere near you, and you probably haven’t gone to a game. These women are simply incredible soccer players, giving their bodies and hearts to the sport, for the sheer love of the game.
In a country whose athletic reputation is soiled and tarnished with steroid use, doping allegations, and HGH accusations seemingly daily, shouldn’t God-given talent and dedication be rewarded anymore?
I’ll tell you what, I’d much rather spend my money watching Amy Rodriguez dance effortlessly around defenders or Alex Morgan try to burn a hole in the back of every net, than fork over my hard-earned income watching cheaters try to belt a baseball 500 feet. I’d much rather pay to watch people play the game they love, for less than a respectable living, than watch Lebron and DWade fighting at midcourt during the NBA Finals, trying to decide who’s the bigger chump.
Soccer is a beautiful game, and the players in the WPS play it beautifully. So the next time you tell someone they “play ball like a girl”…be aware of how much of a compliment that truly is.
Dan Hajducky attended Fordham University and Southern Connecticut State University, playing on the varsity men’s soccer teams at both schools. He has a BA in Liberal Studies with Concentrations in Professional Writing and Media Studies. He has had articles published by the New Haven Register and the Connecticut Post. Hajducky currently lives in Trumbull, CT. He can be reached at Hajduckyd1@owls.southernct.edu (email), @MrDuckus (Twitter), or on his blog at http://letsalllaughattheduck.tumblr.com.
“A woman’s worst nightmare? That’s pretty easy. Novelist Margaret Atwood writes that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, “They are afraid women will laugh at them.” When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, “We’re afraid of being killed.”—
This reminds me of a discussion we had in school, and one girl was talking about living in fear of her safety because she is a girl, and this guy chimed in and was all “It’s hard for guys too! I’m so awkward around girls! It’s embarrassing!” Yeah, not the same thing, exactly?
This reminds me of an article about online (heterosexual) dating that I read a while ago. It listed men’s and women’s worst fears about meeting someone from online. The highest ranked fear that men had was that their date would be fat, whereas the highest ranked fear that women had was that their date would turn out to be violent and kill them.