Saturday, July 28, 2012

Respect The Women

A friend of mine from high school stated he wasn't going to watch the women's boxing events at this year's Olympics.  A lot of men -- and some women, as well -- don't believe female athletes competing in sports that were formerly the exclusive domain of men can bring the heat.

In the case of boxing, some don't want to see women trading blows.  "Women are delicate, women should be frilly, fighting is not ladylike," and other tired, played out statements are uttered.

There are still male coaches who like Frank, Clint Eastwood's character in the move Million Dollar Baby, who growl, "I don't train girls."  Some like Frank, eventually see the light.  I've heard male coaches, including the one I have now and the one I had before him, say that females are easier to work with because they listen better.  Females don't appear to come into boxing gyms with the ego problems that a lot of males -- regardless of their experience or lack of  it -- seem to have. 

The first boxing matches between women took place in 1720, in London, where the 2012 Olympics are being held right now.  Those women had to be rough, because they were allowed to maul, scratch, kick, and use their knees in order to get a win. 

This year's Olympics is the first time women's boxing has been included officially.  But during the 1904 Olympics held in St. Louis, women's boxing matches were included as a featured event. 

The first official women's boxing match was held in 1876 in New York City.  I could keep going on with other historical facts about women's boxing, but the point is, women's participation in the sport has been going on for awhile.  It's not going away despite the disrespect that continually is hurled at it. 

I'm concerned that if none of the American women on the boxing team come home with medals -- doesn't matter if they are gold or not -- critics will use that as justification to continue to not raise the profile of women's professional boxing, but to downgrade women's participation at the amateur level, too.  Women have fought too hard, both literally and figuratively, to be put back in a corner. 

I will be cheering on all of the female boxers from every country who's participating in this year's Olympics.  I'm especially proud of the young women from America who worked hard to get to London.  All of deserving of respect for reaching for excellence in the toughest sport in the world. 

No comments: