What We Missed

Director Kerthy Fix on her long-anticipated film Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre On Tour

Yemeni women call on international community to support their urgent demand for inclusion

Alabama lawmakers have introduced three heavily-sponsored bills that in concert would change how a person is defined in the state and potentially make abortion in all circumstances illegal.

Krystie pledges to support women’s basketball more deliberately. The NCAA finals are on tonight!

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3 Comments

  1. Posted April 6, 2011 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    I guess my community blog post on the basketball tourney final may have been a bit overkill, but a point I got around to was that Notre Dame and Texas A&M combined to take down the top tier of elite (at least the top four teams) by themselves. They did so without relying on (serious) injuries from the teams ahead of them. That two teams were able to come up with these kinds of performances show that while a team like Connecticut may still come up with a roster that crushes *everyone* from time to time, respect is due for teams in the top 8 and not just the top 4 (or less). If contenders can be found that deep in the standings, and you believe that teams like that can emerge as champions, you will be more interested in watching these teams play when they go head-to-head. This means you can take the tournament quite seriously at the “Great Eight” stage and not just in the Final Four or in the Final.

    I don’t track men’s and women’s with equal enthusiasm. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. To an extent this disparity is quite understandable. Men draw from a much deeper talent pool — society does a lot more to encourage boys to play the sport seriously compared to girls. On balance, women probably do not invest enough time into the game (sport and competition can be healthy from a physical and emotional perspective, so it can be a good use of discretionary time), and men probably put too much effort into the game (and are more likely to compromise on important life goals). This diagnosis is an overgeneralization, but it provides a justification for the way people act.

    But I am sort of a junkie of basketball and sport (and with a decent perspective on odds), so to some extent I am a little resilient against prejudice about sport. It may not be great that I take the first round of the men’s tournament (or whatever the round of 64 is called, not the bizarre play-in games or “first four” or whatever that round is marketed as) just as seriously as the third round of the women’s tournament — it is my experience (both from calculations and feel) is that they are about as relevant. The women’s game is simply not at the level as the men’s game… yet. However, I would affirm that the disparity in depth (particularly this year) is narrower than the average person believes. Furthermore, Title IX can pave the way for this difference to shrink over time, and so to some extent the transformation to the women’s game is under way. One should be cautious about the pace, but it is the sort of hope that may provide more promise (and thus more interest) in more games being relevant to the sport’s final outcome.

    I think the answer is just to gradually immerse yourself in the thing you think you are shortchanging. When they play their next season, don’t just watch any game — watch a game between two top-10 teams, or two ranked teams with mostly similar rankings (teams ranked #6 and #13 can be interesting, but #2 versus #19 will probably turn ugly). Watch games with schools you care about, playing in mini-tournaments or rivalry games or in conference tournaments. You don’t have to watch every such game — just watch them at your leisure, and be just a *little* less anxious to change the channel than you normally would. Don’t let a few bad games get you down — even with two evenly-matched teams (even in pro men’s basketball where we can have strong evidence of equal strength), either team can still blow out the other by 30 points on occasion. Don’t watch the game out of a duty; do it out of a sense of curiosity. Turn away from games when they bother you — you can always peek back in later to see if things have become interesting. The idea is not to watch women’s basketball. It is to enjoy women’s basketball to whatever extent one can do so.

    By the way, Texas A&M won a good game tonight. Many analysts/reporters are going crazy about how a former all-male military academy (with some alumni resistant to developing women’s sports) has won the most important women’s college championship. With their football program floating between mediocrity and lesser conference contention, and their men’s basketball program reasonably strong but not yet getting deep in their big tournament, the women’s basketball program will be something that a large swath of students will take notice of (in addition to the fan base they already built), and even schools in their area should be that much more driven to raise their game to compete with (and in Baylor’s case beat) Texas A&M.

    I’m fairly optimistic.

  2. Posted April 6, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I’m appalled by the article about Alabama lawmakers. I used to at least be able to understand where the pro-life crowd was coming from in terms of defining life. I used to feel like a conversation about when consciousness arises, quality of life, family planning, personal values, birth vs. other developments as the line, etc. could be productive. There are so many people who are pro-life personally but through these exchanges still support other women’s rights to choose. It is entirely possible to be pro-choice politically and pro-life in personally decisions.

    But this is just absurd. No words. I’m scared that there would be so many people driven by doctrine. Real concern for all life would mean a recognition of existing social inequalities based on race, class, gender, etc. Why not prioritize those? If any of those politicians ever used the term “anchor baby” when talking about immigration, I think I’m going to have an aneurysm.

  3. Posted April 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Alabama- First in frying candy bars. Last in civil rights.

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