It’s the mid-nineties and Australian Zoe Goss is bowling to the world number one batsman Brian Lara in a fundraiser exhibition match. He defends her first ball with an incredibly patronising exaggerated defensive shot, humiliating her in front of thousands of people at the Sydney Cricket Grounds.
As part of the fun the players were wearing mics and a commentator asked Lara, with a matey laugh), “You wouldn’t want to get out to a woman, would you Brian?” Lara laughed before stating in a serious tone that he was not going to get out.
He did a few more exaggerated defensive shots and then 10 minutes later faced up to Goss again, at which point she got him out. To really rub it in she actually got him out twice in the one ball (caught behind and stumped) which is something I’ve never seen before or since. Maybe the universe was trying to tell us something, but it doesn’t seem like everyone was paying attention – and I’m not just talking about current cricketer, Chris Gayle, who was fired from a professional team last summer after hitting on a female presenter live on TV during a side-line interview.
Closer to home, while coaching a girls’ soccer team two winters ago, the opposition coach let one of our parents know that since his team was quite good and ours was just all girls, his team was probably going to win! Much to our delight, we came back from 2-1 down to win 3-2, while that same coach spent the entire the game bawling his team out for the shame they were bringing him.
The previous year, I’d had to penalise a boy for trying to hit one of our girls because he was unable to catch her again after she took the ball off him (luckily, she ran so fast he failed to connect). Then there was the time a year ago when our girls beat a bunch of boys in a semi-final at a 5 aside tournament, leaving some of the boys in tears and another accusing me of cheating when I refed the second half. The boys might have won the game, but one of them was overheard beforehand telling his team mates that they’d win because girls were easy to get the ball off. That single act inspired the girls to play a tough physical game with the boys becoming visibly panicked as the match wore on.
Even closer to home, I’ve seen plenty of situations locally where girls have had to put up with things like boys laughing at their mate in goal whenever a girl achieves the, apparently, astounding feat of getting the ball past them.
Aside from offering this litany of stupidity, I’m not entirely sure where to go from here – except to emphasise how very sick I am of these silly attitudes.
I need to be clear about one thing though, I’m not here to criticise little boys, they’re only displaying attitudes picked up from the adults in their lives. Besides which, plenty of them have been on the receiving end of this sort of rubbish too, simply because their athletic ability isn’t as good as their peers. Maybe it’s time we stopped it.
A point of view is an occasional opinion column.