I know I’m opening myself up for criticism, but women’s team sports, as a rule, sucks.

With the exception of Olympic hockey ­– in other words, Canada vs. U.S. – women’s hockey sucks.  A reasonably talented group of junior B boys can beat women’s teams nine times out of ten.

Same goes for soccer. The skill level is there, except the pace is so much slower than men’s soccer, it looks like it is being played under water.  Call me sexist if you like, but it’s true… women’s team sports just don’t hold a candle to men’s.

Now that I’ve got my female readers (if such a thing exists) screaming mad at me, take a deep breath. I come not to bury women’s soccer, but to praise it.

Or more particularly, one player, Canadian star Christine Sinclair.

The women’s World Cup of Soccer is underway in Germany right now, and the Canadian women have a very good chance of going a long way. Since Canada’s men’s soccer team consistently shames itself, the women’s team deserves our unreserved support. Canada played prohibitive favourite Germany in its first game Sunday, losing 2-1. The loss was expected, and would almost have gone unnoticed if it were not for Sinclair, the pugnacious, pug-nosed player from Burnaby, B.C.

Sinclair scored a cracker of a goal that any man would be proud of.

But more importantly, she scored it with a broken nose, administered by an errant German elbow. Sinclair went down in pain, and the medical staff rushed to her aid. But Sinclair shooed them away, told them she wanted to play, and promptly scored her world-class goal.

Now, hockey players are famous for playing with all manner of disfiguring injuries. Remember Ryan Smith, taking stitches to the mouth during the Oilers’ last Stanley Cup run, and then racing back onto the ice? That’s the hockey mentality.

But soccer has no such mentality. If anything, it’s the opposite.

Soccer’s enduring shame is the dive, the fake injury, the flop. Perfected by South American players, who see no shame in feigning injury, the non-injury injury has infected the game worldwide. I’m convinced that diving and fraudulent injuries are the single biggest reasons why soccer has been mostly shunned by Canadian sports fans. Nothing enrages me more than seeing a soccer player falling to the ground in a heap, grabbing his face in “pain”, being stretchered off, then bouncing off the stretcher and racing back into the game. It’s disgusting, and indefensible. But for some soccer cultures, it’s part of the game.

In the pansified world of soccer, one would be hard-pressed to find a male player who would shrug off a broken nose, and then score a goal. Christine Sinclair set an example for all the coddled, diving, shameless “men” players out there who have no qualms about making the least little boo-boo look like JFK at Dealey Plaza.

Yes, women’s soccer still sucks. But you’ve got to love Christine Sinclair.


One thought on “Christine Sinclair shows the men how it’s done.

  1. I’m a woman and a fan of women’s sports. Not much that most men have to say about women’s sports usually interests me, and your blog entry isn’t really an exception. I did want to make two points, however. In defense of women’s sports, women actually play the games they play. For example, unlike the absolute shameless crap that goes on in the NHL, where every player is a goon and people watch it for the fights, women’s hockey actually displays the skills required to play the game because women don’t spend all their time beating the snot out of each other and calling that a sport. I’d watch a women’s hockey game any day over an average (and often very boring) NHL game for that reason alone. Women’s sports are also very poorly served by a largely male-dominated and navel-gazing sports media, which, especially here in Canada, is fixated on one or two sports and one or two professional leagues and still ignores most female athletes unless they are wearing skimpy clothing. It’s stupid and sexist and I hate it and no amount of men belly-aching that women’s sports are boring can justify the pathetic and patronizing way in which amateur and professional female athletes are treated. Second, in defense of soccer, the game itself is not to blame for the politics of diving, and I would be careful not to link the two as if diving is an actual part of the game. A lot of fans don’t like diving, but for some teams and leagues it has unfortunately become a strategy. I don’t like it either, but I don’t agree with your theory that that’s why soccer hasn’t taken off here, as if we’re so noble that diving offends our high Canadian moral standards, or macho sensibilities perhaps. Whatever. I don’t agree. Soccer just isn’t part of sport culture here although plenty of people play it at a recreational level. My guess is that there’s not enough violence and fighting in it to appeal to the average Canadian male hockey fan. I love soccer because it is a game that can be played anywhere by anyone, rich or poor, and it’s one of the few sports, if not the only sport, where international competitions involve teams from countries from every part of the globe, including ones you never hear about otherwise, like Cameroon and Tonga, and even North Korea! Regardless of what you think about the dive, there is no denying that soccer is a truly international game, and played without diving, it is a beautiful game. If Canadians are so offended by the dive, then get behind Christine Sinclair and her no-nonsense brand of soccer, which involves simply playing the game to the highest degree possible, which I think women athletes everywhere strive to do all the time, whether or not men notice or give them credit.

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