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Macho Media Moss-backs Vs. Women's Soccer Champs and X-Gamers

Some moss-backed sports traditionalists, from naysaying newspaper sports columnists to the macho men of sports talk radio, are freaking out over the prodigious popularity of the World Cup Champion US Women's Soccer Team and even the not-as-popular but interesting X-Games. Too many of the masculine men of sports media have a rather non-inclusive bias against nice young women soccer players and skinny boys in baggy-britches on skate-boards who are capturing the public's fancy and daring to dominate in their domain of over-paid giants and gladiators.

They whine that the "momentary popularity" is due to a summer lull in traditional sports action, but mid-summer is All-Star Game time for the "Great American Pastime" of baseball, and the time when the world's biggest golf and tennis tournaments are played. The record-breaking TV ratings and public attention of women's soccer and the interest in the X-Games on television are a tribute to the attractive young women on our World Cup Team whose skill, teamwork, and determination allows them to make soccer plays in international competition that put their male counterparts to shame and to the minute misfits on skateboards in X-Game competition whose athleticism, courage and innovation level is higher than that of an NFL offensive lineman.

Most of the mossbacks come from an era pre-dating Title IX that gave a federal mandate to schools that received federal funds to provide equal opportunity for women in their athletic programs including athletic scholarships. Many major football coaches and athletic directors and their universities spent big bucks resisting its application in lawsuits contending that Title IX would ruin big-time college sports. The macho men of the sports media moaned the same sexist song of gloom and doom that funds from big revenue-producing college sports like football would be drained by non-revenue producing women's sports like soccer and cause disaster in the overall athletic program. Interestingly, they failed to mention the money-gobbling budgets of big-time football which have been known to run deficits.

With Women's World Cup Soccer filling up major stadiums throughout the United States culminating in a 90,000 plus sellout at premium prices in the finals in the Rose Bowl and the highest U.S. TV ratings ever for any kind of soccer, its no wonder that the sports dinosaurs' desperate diatribes about "short-lived popularity" and "unobjective media hype" have reached a crescendo. Then there's the phenomenal success of women's college soccer at schools like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who substantially out draw men's soccer in attendance and women's basketball at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville that averages 17,000 fans a game. So Title IX has finally brought the macho mossbacks of the media kicking and screaming into the new millennium of major media women's sports.

Then there's the no-place-to-go-but-out-of- the-limelight argument because America loves sports heroes who play a regular schedule and all there is for women's soccer is the Olympics and the World Cup competition every two years. The traditionalists say that since men's professional soccer's attendance and ratings are stagnant a women's league would fail. They are also the same folks who say that U.S. fans don't like soccer because there is not enough scoring and therefore its boring. The main reason that soccer has been slow to catch on with high ratings and revenues is that the U.S. Fans cannot stand to lose, particularly to small nations where soccer is the national pastime. In recent years when the U.S. men's team began to win a few games, the ratings went up. The U.S. Men's professional league is not as good as several other leagues in the world, which pretty much mirrors the U.S. National Team's global performance, but our Women's National Team is the best and a U.S. Women's professional league would be the best in the world.

Finally, the macho media mossbacks need to relax and understand that everyone can be included in our wonderfully diverse world of media proliferation and niche sports and new markets. Just because they might remember and revere the era of 3 or 4 TV channels that carried only baseball, football, and basketball along with a bit of boxing and wrestling, doesn't put their manhood in jeopardy if millions of us get excited and become rabid fans of our Women's World Cup Champions or even the pint-sized skateboarders who compete in the X-Games.

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and peace activist in Columbia, SC. His blog is

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