Sock it to me

Do I like soccer? Is the pope catholic?
Any European-born boy played soccer. Why? Because in my days (a few centuries ago) it was a popular game that did not require any fancy equipment. Having just a ball, was good enough. No uniforms, no fancy shoes, just some good fighting spirit, a quality never lacking in schoolboys.

In blue, Rose Lavelle who scored the winning goal

So yes, I watched many games of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and I enjoyed it. All the women were talented, spirited and fought hard. Did they perform as well as men? I don’t know, but I found it more pleasant to watch.

All the world-class male soccer players are overpaid drama queens. In a game, at the slightest body contact, they hit the ground writhing in seemingly agonizing pain. They all try to extort the lethal penalty kick which they hope, will give them an almost unstoppable goal. But a few minutes later, the “injured” party has miraculously recovered and is trotting on the field.
I did not see any women doing this. Yes, they took some solid hits and fell on the ground but didn’t patently fake or milk the incident.

I find a soccer penalty kick highly unfair.
The shot is taken from the penalty mark, which is 12 yards (11 m) from the goal line and centered between the touch lines.”
Such a kick is very difficult to stop and usually results in a goal. The goalkeeper has to anticipate where the ball is going to go and lunge in that direction. His/her chances of guessing right are extremely slim, but if he is uncommonly lucky, he sometimes succeeds.

The American women benefited from such a kick in the 58th minute of the game when Dutch player Stefanie van der Gragt (unintendedly) hit American Alex Morgan with a dangerous high kick. Morgan was not seriously injured, but she fell on the ground and it must have been painful.
The following penalty kick resulted in a goal for the Americans.

If the US team would have won the championship with such a kick, it would not have been a very glorious feat. Fortunately, at the 68th minute, American midfielder Rose Lavelle delivered a splendid true bona fide goal to settle the outcome of the championship.

Both teams played hard and well and both could have won. But in any competitive event, luck is always a factor. No matter how talented you are, you always need the benevolence of Lady Luck. This time, she was partial to the Americans.

Do women soccer players deserve a raise? Absolutely. Equal work, equal pay. Due partly to their success in the World Cup, I predict that in a few short years women’s soccer will be big. Very big. Maybe even bigger than men’s soccer.  On last Sunday in Lyon, 57,900 enthusiastic fans attended the final game. How often do men reach such a number? Give women a raise!

Now, is the US team going to accept the American Reichstag’s invitation? I doubt it. Speaking for herself, but reflecting the team’s mood, cheeky Megan Rapinoe was definite about it. “I’m not going to the fucking White House.”


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