Yesterday, from approximately 4.20pm until its conclusion – joining millions of other Brits and television viewers all around the world – I watched the build-up and then the dramas of England’s epic 2-1 (after extra time) victory over Germany in the Final of the women’s Euros 2022 tournament.
I shall leave it to professional journalists in the media – and indeed quite possibly our own brilliant scribes in the sports department – to review and analyse the course of the action at Wembley stadium and then the potential future impact of this historic outcome.
I happily bow to their greater intelligence and expertise in this respect.
However – all that registered and at the risk of both falling foul of the 21st Century’s obsession with “wokeness”, equality, positive action and also being accused of being an out of touch party-pooping old git – but, taking the entire spectacle into account, not least the much-featured “hopes of a nation”, the anticipatory sense of occasion and then the hyped-up hysteria of relieved euphoria and celebration as witnessed and described during the television coverage, I couldn’t help coming away afterwards with something of a reserved and negative response to it all.
Let me don my Army surplus tin helmet and expand.
At the end of the day, when push comes to shove – whatever the activists, campaigners, players (whether of the former, current or even would-be varieties), sports administrators, feminists, media pundits ad infinitum might say – female sport is de facto an inferior product to its male equivalent.
I don’t care which game or sport is under consideration – well, perhaps bar these days those either involving horses (e.g. horse racing, three day eventing, show jumping, dressage) and/or other competitions in which strength, power and speed are irrelevant and/or eliminated from the equation – that’s the truth of the matter with any female version of any sport.
To put no finer point upon it, the inherent acknowledgement underpinning the female version of all sports is that they represent “the best that females can do” at them. There, I’ve said it.
Consequently, there’s a fundamental disconnect between the all-consuming drive and obsession with “giving female sport and sports stars similar exposure, publicity, wages, whatever …” as their male counterpart(s) – whether this be as a nod to “equality” for elite participants in what inevitably is a short career, or as part of some bigger cause such as improving female involvement in sporting activities generally in the interests of the health of the nation – and the actuality of what happens on the pitch and/or in the sporting arena.
Why am I being so churlish in my comments today?
I venture to suggest it is this. No amount invested in providing any female sport the same hype, build-up, television coverage, live internet streaming – yes, even equal wages, sponsorship and commercial opportunities – as is habitually afforded the male version … will ever make it as good as the male version.
If the reality was any different, there would be no need for separate gender versions of any sport. I could go further and say that – touching upon a current controversy – furthermore, you wouldn’t need to worry about whether or not transgender athletes should be allowed to compete against real women.
Sport would be a perfect pastime in which, whatever sex you are (or identified as) would be irrelevant.
Which brings me to my “call to arms” for today.
Starting this week, the Rust is going to establish a men-only netball team and take its case for “equal treatment” to the Government, the national sporting bodies, the British Olympic Association, the Netball Superleague administrators, the terrestrial television companies, the sponsors and indeed the fans.
If there is any justice and true equality to be had in our very woke and diverse 21st Century, I have no hesitation is predicting that the Rust Raiders – as our new venture is going to be called – will win the English Vitality Netball Superleague within five years.
Any men between the ages of 17 and 30 who excel at sport and would like to apply to become part of this great crusade for men’s equality should write to The Editor, The Rust, at our usual address immediately.