Tell me this isn’t so.
Members of the U.S. women’s soccer team got spooked by the haters after last week’s 13-0 thrashing of Thailand to open World Cup play, and they went from a perfect 10 to a pitiful one (at best) on the enthusiasm scale during its 3-0 victory Sunday over Chile.
What a shame, particularly since these women are blowing it for themselves by not staying wild and crazy.
Such things happen when you don’t stick to your principles while losing sight of the big picture.
About that big picture: These women want to get paid. You know, as much as their male counterparts. That’s why they’ve spent the past three years grumbling to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission that the United States Soccer Federation compensates them considerably less than their male counterparts.
The truth is, men’s soccer on the world stage is way more profitable than the women’s game. Forbes mentioned three months ago that this women’s World Cup in France will produce $30 million in prize money compared to the projected $440 million for the men’s teams during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
There also is that massive gap in attendance. The men’s World Cup needs a lottery system due to ticket demands from around the globe. In contrast, FIFA said last week that just 14 of the initial 52 matches for the women’s World Cup in France were sold out, but this was striking: Both games involving Team USA ranked among those exceptions.
The American women have been splendid currently (a deep roster with experienced players) and historically (winners of three of the previous women’s World Cups and four Olympic gold medals) during international play.
Not only that, but those haters were full of sweat socks when they said the U.S. women shouldn’t have danced and screamed and clowned their way to that record blowout victory against Thailand before a stuffed house.
The Americans offended so many folks by their actions that they played before another sellout when they met Chile.
U.S. Women’s soccer coach Jill Ellis had it exactly right after the Thailand rout.
“As a coach, I don’t find it my job to harness my players and rein them in, because this is what they’ve dreamed about, and this is a world championship,” Ellis told reporters. “When you have a deluge of goals like that, it’s important. It’s a good feeling. It’s a boost of confidence.”
It’s the way it should be.
It goes back to the whiners in college football when Steve Spurrier crushed opponents by ridiculous margins with his Fun ‘n’ Gun offense at the University of Florida.
Nolan Richardson unleashed similar domination in college basketball at Arkansas through his relentless offensive approach called “40 minutes of hell.”
That Cincinnati baseball team of legends Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Joe Morgan wasn’t nicknamed “The Big Red Machine” because they showed mercy on folks.
In the words of former University of Oklahoma basketball coach Billy Tubbs, whose pounding of foes included a 173-101 victory over U.S. International, “If they don’t like it, they should get better.”
For U.S. Women’s soccer, they like it.
I’m talking about “they” as in the fans.
As for the critics, who cares?