Friday, March 30, 2007

The Women's Final Snore

The Women's Final Four comes to Cleveland this weekend, with the semifinals on Sunday and the national championship game on Tuesday night. Rutgers plays LSU in the first semifinal game, while North Carolina takes on Tennessee in the second.

Want to know a dirty little secret? I can't even begin to pretend to care about any of this. As far as I'm concerned, women's basketball ranks almost as high on the unwatchability index as curling or a State of the Union address.

Before you sic Connie Schultz on me for being a women's sports troglodyte, let me defend myself by saying that I think many women's sports are much more fun to watch than the men's version of the same sport. I think that's definitely the case with soccer, at least in the United States. The women generally seem to play a much more attacking style and they even score on occasion. What about the men's game? I think the MLS version looks a lot like this. America's a great country, but when I want to watch men's soccer, Britannia rules the waves.

The same is true with tennis. We can stipulate that tennis blows, but women's tennis blows much less than men's tennis. Seriously, it isn't even close. Men's tennis usually involves two guys in short shorts and 1980s haircuts trading rocket serves that neither can do much with other than flail at and hope to put in play. On the other hand, women's tennis offers extended back and forth volleys requiring tremendous athleticism -- and that's before you even consider the fact that the athletes in question are often damn nice to look at.

I just don't feel the same way about basketball, at least beyond the high school level. Sorry ladies, but I think your game is a slower, below the rim (with rare exceptions) version of the men's game that just doesn't appeal to me. That's not a judgment I've reached after watching a game or two. I've actually seen a fair amount of women's basketball, on television and in person, starting more than 20 years ago. Come to think of it, maybe that doesn't say much for my expertise. After all, the way the NBA and ESPN have force fed the game to us in recent years, who hasn't watched a fair amount of women's basketball? Hell, the WNBA is pro sports answer to brussels sprouts. They know most of us don't like it, but they think it's good for us so they make us swallow it anyway.

If you like women's basketball, hey, more power to you. Enjoy the games. Personally, I'll be watching Barnaby Jones reruns.

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