Quick, name the four schools that played in this year’s Women’s College Basketball Final Four. Tell me who is playing in the championship game tonight and tell me how your Women’s NCAA Tournament Bracket is doing. I am going to venture a guess that UConn is probably the only team you can mention and that you did not fill out a Women’s NCAA Tourney Bracket. The thought of doing so is as probably laughable to you as it is to me. But you could if you wanted to. ESPN does have a Women’s Tournament Challenge. I haven’t been able to find the total entries in the Women’s Tournament Challenge but I would imagine that the number is significantly less than the 11 million entered in ESPN’s Men’s Tournament Challenge and that over 50% of the entries in the women’s version came from the state of Connecticut. Connecticut appears to be the only state in the country that cares more about women’s college basketball than men’s college basketball. Last night’s victory for UConn’s men’s team was nothing more than an appetizer for Huskie fans who are eagerly anticipating tonight’s championship game against Notre Dame. But does anyone outside the state of Connecticut really care about women’s college basketball?
ESPN has done all that they can to hype up the women’s tournament (interestingly enough ESPN is headquartered in Connecticut). They after all do have the exclusive broadcast rights, and their hype machine almost drew me in last night with the discussion of two undefeated teams playing for the championship…and then I came to my senses and realized that UConn will undoubtedly beat Notre Dame by 25 points and that I would much rather watch a regular season NBA or MLB game than a women’s college basketball game.
I know, I sound like a dinosaur from the 1950’s. I am ignorant and a bigot. Or I share the opinion of millions of other sports fans across the country that really don’t like women’s college basketball but know it is not cool to say so. I gave up trying to be cool after I graduated high school. I am not anti-all women’s sports though. There are a number of sports for which I prefer the women’s version to the men’s. I prefer women’s volleyball over men’s volleyball in a landslide. I find every individual women’s Olympic sport to be just as good as if not better than the men’s version. But women’s basketball and men’s basketball are two different games for a couple of reasons.
First, men’s basketball at its highest level in Division I and the NBA is played above floor and at the rim. You find true jump shots, fade-aways and dunks and rebounds that take place well above the rim. The women’s game is for the most part played on the floor with set shots and the rim going untouched unless a few select players like Britney Griner are playing. Women who play for Division I programs and in the WNBA are great athletes and great at what they do, but the game itself is just not the same as men’s basketball. That is not sexism. That is a fact.
Second, the talent pool appears to be much smaller in women’s college basketball. What else explains the complete lack of close games in women’s basketball and the huge margins of victory of powerhouse teams like UConn? Watching UConn’s women’s team is like watching the 1992 Dream Team beat Angola by 55 points. Drama and excitement are key ingredients to good sports. Women’s basketball does not have either of these ingredients.
So no, I will not be watching the Women’s College Basketball Championship Game tonight, as much as ESPN wants me to. I refuse to pretend to care in the name of equality.
Posted by Hatch