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If you are a woman, there are only three ways to get the sports world to notice you:

Old 01-25-03, 03:10 AM
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If you are a woman, there are only three ways to get the sports world to notice you:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/ins...ife_of_reilly/

Under Covered


by Rick Reilly

If you are a woman, there are only three ways to get the sports world to notice you:

1. Strip down to your panties and bra and wrestle over beer.

2. Play crappy tennis but look hot pulling the second ball out of your briefs.

3. Tweak Hootie's nose.

Break records? Win at unthinkable rates? Push the envelope of female athletic achievement? Forget it, sweetheart! How 'bout a boob job?

Exhibit A: The Connecticut women's basketball team wins its 55th straight game last Saturday, breaking the alltime women's record. But unless you happened to get the feed from the Connecticut Public Television network, you couldn't see the game live. ESPN will show men fishing heroically, and Fox will show a man trying to outrun a giraffe, but televise one of the landmark events in women's hoops history? Sorry, baby, you haven't come a long way.

Exhibit B: Tennessee's women's basketball genius Pat Summitt quietly wins her 800th game on Tuesday of last week, becoming the first woman and only the fourth Division I coach to do it. Nationally, it made all the splash of a marshmallow landing in a bog. When North Carolina's Dean Smith hit 800 in 1994, there was so much coverage, you'd have thought he'd just returned from Mars.

"I'm surprised she hasn't gotten more attention for it," says no less than John Wooden, the former UCLA coach who is one of Summitt's biggest fans. "She's only 50. She could win many, many more games." In fact if she coaches as long as Smith did -- until she's 66 -- and keeps winning at her current pace, she'd blow by Smith like he was roadkill and wind up with more than 1,200 wins. Hey, maybe then she'd get on Live with Regis and Kelly!

Exhibit C: At the Australian Open, Serena Williams tries to win her fourth consecutive major -- the Serena Slam, if you will -- and America barely looks up from Joe Millionaire. Of course when Tiger Woods completed his Tiger Slam at the Masters in 2001, a national holiday was nearly declared.

You remember Tiger, right? Used to be Most Dominating Golfer in the World? Not anymore. That title belongs to Exhibit D: Annika Sorenstam, who is coming off one of the most brain-bending seasons since Byron Nelson in 1945. The Ice Queen of Sweden won more than half her starts last year, 13 victories in 25 tournaments around the world. Tiger in 2002? He won six of 22 starts.

You mean you didn't see her on the cover of TIME? Or this magazine? Or Golf Digest? Or Golf? Or on the Today show? Or Letterman or Leno? No? Maybe that's because it never happened. "If Tiger had a year like Annika," says LPGA player Jill McGill, "they'd reschedule sunsets for him."

Sorenstam's agent, Mark Steinberg, also happens to represent Tiger. "She and I talk about it all the time," Steinberg says. "She'd love to have more opportunities, but what can you do?" Last year Tiger did whip Sorenstam in one department. He earned more than $60 million in endorsements to her $2.5 million. Hey, Annika, ever tried a short tennis skirt?

And forget anybody having heard of Exhibit E: Paula Radcliffe. All she did in October was run a marathon in 2 hours, 17 minutes, not only shattering the women's world record but also narrowing to 12 minutes the gap between the men's and women's best times. That means, in the past 40 years, women have improved their record by more than an hour and men by nine minutes. (And to think they used to warn women not to run because their uteruses might fall out.)

All of this crinkles the nose of Exhibit F: Gail Goestenkors, coach of the No. 1 women's basketball team in the land, Duke, which also happened to have the No. 1-ranked men's team last week. The Duke men have sold out every home game since 1990. The Duke women have never sold out.

It doesn't bother the unsquashable Coach G. "We play for ourselves," she says, "for our own excellence." In fact the only opponent who really scares her is George W. Bush. "I'm afraid he's going to change Title IX," she says of the law that requires equal opportunity for men and women to participate in sports at schools that receive federal funding. "He's talking about making [compliance] voluntary. That would be a travesty."

She would know. In seventh grade her school did not have a girls' track team, so she had to run on the boys' squad. The guys hated her for it, and when she'd get into the starting blocks, they would comment on her butt. Or the way she looked in her shorts. "We can't lose Title IX," she says, "because I know what girls would have to go back to."

True, Title IX has caused brutal cuts in men's sports over the past 30 years. But women suffered for 100 years without it. As Wooden says, "The problem with Title IX is that it started way too late. I wouldn't want anything to happen to that program."

A piece of advice, Mr. President: Don't touch Title IX, because the only thing women resent more than being ignored is being denied.
Old 01-25-03, 05:55 AM
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What, exactly, is Rick "take the test, Sammy" Reilly's point? Perhaps, that we should be obliged to watch women's sports more often, because it's the right thing to do? Or, perhaps, they should be afforded the equal opportunity to be seen in the sports pages, among last night's box scores? Both are unrealistic and unmarketable options. I think Reilly has no real point: he's been writing buffoonish, unintelligent columns for quite some time now, and SI would be better served in putting that last page to a higher purpose. In my opinion, of course...
Old 01-25-03, 08:59 AM
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I'm trying to figure out how the existence or non-existence of Title IX would make people care about women's sports.

And, argument against Reilly's first point: Venus and Serena Williams
Old 01-25-03, 09:58 AM
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Originally posted by WildcatLH

And, argument against Reilly's first point: Venus and Serena Williams
This thread is about women
Spoiler:
not man-beasts
Old 01-25-03, 10:03 AM
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Quit your bitching Rick Reilly. So what. Sheesh - I'm sorry I prefer watching the best athletes in the world, which happen to be men. I'm sorry I don't like women, who look like men, crushing the ball all over a tennis court (which is the same reason why men's tennis is languishing) - can you say boooooring. I'm sorry that I am sexually attracted to 2 beautiful women wrestling with each other and pulling off each other's clothes.

Rick Reilly, if you are so sensitive about women's issues, why do you work for a magazine whose biggest selling issue involves beautiful women, not even related to sports, wearing next to nothing.

Hypocrite!!!

Old 01-25-03, 10:19 AM
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I will play the devil's advocate here and say maybe the reason this stuff isn't publicized more is people just aren't interested. Sure, there are people who follow women's sports, but it certainly doesn't draw the following that men's sports do. I am not saying that is right or wrong, but television has always been and will always be about drawing ratings.
Old 01-25-03, 10:39 AM
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Originally posted by Deftones
I will play the devil's advocate here and say maybe the reason this stuff isn't publicized more is people just aren't interested.
No, you're wrong. People are incredibly interested. Instead television networks decide they hate making the tens of millions they could televising this stuff. . . Seriously though, I agree, you're right.

And how about crappy examples by Rick?

For at least a few years tennis was the one sport where the women's game was more interesting than the men, because of the personalities. It is kind of sucking now because of the dominance of a couple of amazingly un-marketable, uninteresting, unappealing sisters. Sorry to say it, but men's sports rely on charisma as well (Michael Jordan, anyone? Sammy Sosa? Joe Montana? Steve Young? Tiger Woods?).

And women's college basketball? SNOOZE. Objectively, it is of lower quality than the men's game, and up until March Madness, the games on regular network cable are kind of few and far between.

I think Rick's panties are in a wad here, for no fair reason. Maybe he got into a fight with his wife and is trying to work his way back into her pants.
Old 01-25-03, 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by Bushdog
No, you're wrong. People are incredibly interested. Instead television networks decide they hate making the tens of millions they could televising this stuff. . . Seriously though, I agree, you're right.

And how about crappy examples by Rick?

Another vote here. Plus add to it the fact that there is a serious shortage of involvement by women at the highest athletic levels, and you get feats that are less important. So not only is there relatively no interest in the LPGA, but Sorenstam's accomplishment in much less meaningful that of Tiger's for example.

And there is a women's basketball league?
Old 01-25-03, 12:41 PM
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Geez, Reilly ... is this was it takes for you to get laid?

The most laughable comparison is the Serena Slam to the Tiger Slam. Might as well hold up a sign that reads "I'm with Stupid" with a giant down arrow. Hell, this notion of a "Serena Slam" is moronic anyway since many have won a legitimate "Grand Slam," most recently Graf in the late 80s. Someone should call Graf up and tell her she's now been awarded the "Serena Slam" for winning the exact same tournament selection that Serena just won in 1993 - 1994. The comparison between Serena's success in women's tennis and Tiger's domination of men's golf is so absurd it's amazing the editor didn't kick him in the nads for suggesting.

Oh, and spare me the "crappy" tennis nonsense. I play very good tennis myself, and I still don't see two Grand Slam trophies on my mantle.

das

Last edited by das Monkey; 01-25-03 at 12:44 PM.
Old 01-25-03, 12:54 PM
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Originally posted by WildcatLH
I'm trying to figure out how the existence or non-existence of Title IX would make people care about women's sports.
Yeah, Reilly just kind of threw Title IX out of center field. Could he throw that far, I wonder? But college women's sports would not exist without it. Interest is one thing. Allowing everyone to truely and reasonably pursue their goals (dreams?) is quite another. I'm of the opinion that just because the sports media focuses largely on the men's sports and ignores the women's doesn't make the females' accomplishments any less grand or important. But surely a women's college basketball game would draw better numbers than a stinkin' fishing show.

And I think Sorenstam isbetter than Tiger Wooooo.
Old 01-25-03, 07:53 PM
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Title IX sounds an awful lot like affirmative action.

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