World Cup heroes turned American villains? Male insecurities shine brightest when women earn spotlight in sports

For a nation that prides itself on being the best and using propaganda to influence that ideology, the United States sure is not embracing their own women’s national soccer team after another dominant World Cup victory. As the days go by, I witness more and more backlash towards the women’s team as if them winning brought disgrace to their homeland. Throughout their run towards their fourth World Cup trophy, numerous outlets took to social media to unleash their disdain towards the women. When they throttled Thailand with 13 goals, they were told not to celebrate a WORLD CUP GOAL. When Alex Morgan scored the game-winner against England, her tea-sipping celebration was highlighted as an egregious and vile act. The video that surfaced of the team dancing and basking in the glory of their win painted them as classless and distasteful. Today, another video has surfaced of Megan Rapinoe signing a ball for a kid but Rapinoe did not appear to acknowledge the kid’s presence for a mere half-second. However, we all know that Rapinoe not acknowledging the kid was the reason for recent criticisms. This gave a majority of males another form of obtuse justification for why they feel the need to silence and demonize women when they succeed in athletics.

You would think that in the 21st century, everyone walking on the planet, especially in a free country like the USA, would be given equal treatment for how they act. Unfortunately, in sports, this could not be further from the truth. Women in this country continue to be silenced and treated as second-class humans in the world of athletics. Female journalists are constantly told that they know nothing about the sport they cover. If women proclaim allegiance to a team, men feel the necessity to play 100 questions with them to “prove” their fandom. Comment sections on social media platforms are plastered with the pedestrian phrases, “Go back to the kitchen”, “Make me a sandwich”, “All women’s sports are boring”. Not one day goes by when someone loses self-control when it comes to their loathing of women in sports. Instead of praising and respecting our greatest female athletes for their achievements, they are always undermined when they get unfairly compared to their male counterparts. No matter who the female athlete is, whether it be Serena Williams, Alex Morgan or Diana Taurasi, they will never be given their due credit as sporting legends because “the men will always better than them”.

There is an undeniable truth that men get insecure when women are given the spotlight in sports. If the roles were reversed, and the men’s US team was winning World Cups and celebrating like the women did, they would be glorified and beloved for eternity. Men are elated when Baker Mayfield grabs his junk and Conor McGregor spouts out racial epithets in press conferences. Dare women to the same antics and they will be verbally burned to the ground. The average American male also values a female athlete’s beauty over their athletic performance. Prior to her steroid scandal, Maria Sharapova owned more endorsements than Serena Willams. Danica Patrick spent years struggling in NASCAR but was able to keep a top-level ride because of her raunchy advertisements with GoDaddy.com. Ronda Rousey was the promotional face of the UFC for years but Amanda Nunes, without a doubt, has garnered a better all-time resumé yet receives no promotion from the company. In a male-dominant society, we have created the narrative that female athletes only matter if they live up to our standards of beauty.

My thoughts are not targeted towards all men because there are plenty of us who were inspired by just how amazing our women’s soccer team is. Now is the time to take the next step in our perspectives towards women in sports. Instead of treating our daughters, sisters, wives, and girlfriends as pets when it comes to watching sports with them and feeling the need to keep them up to date about the happenings of an event without them asking, encourage them by bringing them into your passion for sports. Take your girlfriend or wife to sporting events, encourage your daughters to participate in athletics when they are young, and if a woman wants to ask a question about anything in sports, answer it without making them feel stupid.

Sports are beautiful regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race.

Photo via Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

 

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The Sunday Before Memorial Day is the Best Day in Sports

As Sunday grows closer, I have been giving a lot of thought to just how special the day before Memorial Day is. It is unlike anything in sports. It is an opportunity to give the spotlight to events that are almost always overlooked by Americans, and that is the day when the top three divisions in all of motorsports hold their crown jewel races. Formula One has the Monaco Grand Prix, IndyCar has the Indianapolis 500, and NASCAR has the Coca-Cola 600. They all take place on this special day. Nearly 15 hours of exciting racing from the morning until the evening and here are the reasons why each race is special and should be watched across the country.

Monaco Grand Prix

The pristine location of Monaco is enough to sell the visuals of this special race. Bordered by France and the Mediterranean Sea, the minuscule country plays host to the race that is seen as the most important in all of Formula One and one of the main events of the year in all of racing. The course is known for its tight corners and narrow straightaways to make demands harder for drivers. The circuit also passes by the famous harbor where two cars have fallen into the race’s history. The tunnel creates a sharp contrast between daylight and darkness that is unique to Monaco and not an obstacle on any other circuit in the world. The best part about the event is that it takes place during the morning in the United States. Wake up, eat your breakfast, and turn on ESPN to kick off the best day in sports with the Monaco Grand Prix.

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Indianapolis 500

Immediately after the Monaco Grand Prix concludes, flip over to NBC for the fastest sporting event in the world, the Indianapolis 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, otherwise known as the Brickyard, plays host to 33 drivers vying for a chance to kiss the bricks, drink the milk, and be immortalized as an Indy 500 champion. What other event is there in the world where you can watch cars hit 240 miles per hour in straightaways and 230 miles per hour in corners? None of them. Even as just a fan of the sport with nothing on the line, it is hard not to watch this race without white knuckles due to the fact that a single inch of a mistake could lead to disaster. The drafting that leads to passes in the straightaways is some of the most blood-pumping, adrenaline-rushing moments that you will experience in your life. This is the only race where you could see cars fly 20-25 feet in the air, thanks to the speeds and the lightness of the cars or see a driver with a big lead crash in the final corner of the final lap as is what happened to J.R. Hildebrand back at the 2011 Indy 500 race. You never know what can happen in this race and is why your eyes need to be on the Indy 500 in four days.

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Coca-Cola 600

The biggest endurance test of the year for NASCAR takes place at Charlotte Motor Speedway as 40 drivers will go around the 1.5-mile circuit for 400 high-octane laps. The Coke 600 gives fans and the country a chance to pay respect to the military and to honor the nation that protects its freedom for citizens. The cars are given military or USA-themed paint schemes. Some cars will be decked out completely in camouflage while other cars will be showing off the iconic red, white, and blue colors of the American Flag. The race will begin at sunset and end under the lights, which will challenge the drivers and crews to make the proper adjustments to find the right setup that will make the car work when the track is hot and slick to when the track is cooler and has more grip. It is a race of patience and knowing when to push your car as many engines have blown and many fuel tanks have been emptied before the race ends ruining a driver’s day. More eyes will be on this race than ever before as fans and media alike will be interested in how the aero package changes the racing over the four-plus hours that the race takes. Will long green flag runs spread the field out like a normal race? Will the cars run close together like at Kansas? Will it be easier or harder to make clean passes? So many variables are yet to be answered, which is why there is no better way to end your Sunday than with the Coca-Cola 600.

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, Charlotte
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How to Watch

Coverage for the Monaco Grand Prix will be on ESPN, beginning at 6:05 am PT/9:05 am ET. Coverage for the Indianapolis 500 will be on NBC, beginning at 8:00 am PT/11:00 am ET with the pre-race show. Race coverage begins at 9:00 am PT/12:00 pm ET also on NBC. Coverage for the Coca-Cola 600 will be on FOX, beginning at 3:00pm PT/6:00 pm ET.

Whether you are a racing fan or not, if you enjoy entertainment and sports, your eyes need to be on all three of these great races. The narrative that all racing is boring needs to be broken and the nation can change that by giving motorsports a chance. Watch it, learn from the commentators, and just embrace something new. Let’s go racing, ladies and gentlemen!

Cup Series preview: Kansas

Tonight is the Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway. It is the 12th race of the 2019 season and the 2nd night race of the year. This will be the first night race that will display the full aero package meant to keep the cars closer together and emphasize drafting. We could finally get what NASCAR has been looking for all year long as the cold air will allow high grip, making drivers be able to hold down the throttle longer in the corners. Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s for the entire race and there is even a slight threat of rain but it should miss the track.

Kevin Harvick is on the pole and he is seeking his first win of the season. He has not struggled when it comes to finishing but Stewart-Haas as a team expects wins and the team has not done that yet this year, but they have a great chance with Harvick and Clint Bowyer starting on the front row. Unfortunately for them, Aric Almirola and Daniel Suarez failed inspection and will have to start at the back of the field with Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, and others. These penalties will move William Byron, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, Bubba Wallace, and the Busch brothers up four starting positions.

Speaking of Bubba Wallace, his best starting position of the season should give him a shot of positivity as he recently opened up about battling depression. He has been dealing with some personal issues and it does not help that he is struggled with Richard Petty Motorsports since joining the team at the start of the 2018 season. Through 11 races this year, Wallace has no top 5s or top 10s, 2 DNFs, and an average finish of 26.9 with his best finish coming at Martinsville where he finished 17th. With a top-10 starting spot tonight, Bubba looks for his best finish of the season.

With many drivers moving to the back of the field due to failing inspection, it will be interesting to see how they move their way up to the front in what drivers, media, and fans are expecting to be a pack-heavy race with lots of drafting. We have seen glimpses of what NASCAR wants at tracks like Atlanta and Texas, but the package overall just has not provided the excitement that was expected so far. That could turn around tonight at Kansas.

My pick: Kevin Harvick

Dark Horse: William Byron

TV: FS1, Radio: MRN

Time: 7:30 pm ET

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NASCAR Images