We can say it: the U.S. women choked
I think the women's World Cup run was wonderful to watch.
I think the women's World Cup team showed an incredible force of will to advance to the finals with powerhouse teams like Brazil and Germany blocking their path.
I think the U. S. women's World Cup team completely choked in the championship game of 2011 Women's World Cup.
I think the U. S. women's World Cup will force all of us to re-evaluate our opinions of women's sports and all of sports in general.
The United States, Brazil and Germany were all worthy champions. Congratulations to Japan. They were not even close to the best team in World Cup yet they found a way to win. Whenever you win a competition as by far the fourth-most inferior combatant, you have superior coaching and superior heart.
Japan earned the World Cup Championship and nothing I say is an attempt to take away their victory. They beat a team far superior to themselves and they deserve every accolade for their effort.
If the U. S. had lost to Germany or Brazil in the final I don't think I would have written a blog. When a group of women lose to an inferior opponent, we are all forced to decide where women's sports rank.
The United States dominated the game but couldn't capitalize on their domination. They missed three easy scoring chances and another four challenged scoring chances that a championship player would have converted.
When the U. S. had the lead they did a poor job of making decisions. Possession is more important than long passes. Sure, aggression was the key to their success, but not reckless abandon. As I tell my kids that I coach at the 6th grade level: only the ball can score a goal so possess the ball.
In the final of the championship of the world the U. S. had one bad substitution, terrible possession with the lead and poor goaltending play in the clutch. There's a problem with what I just said though: I criticized women.
Both sides of the debate on coverage of women's sports have a tough decision to make the day after the loss. Twitter was bombarded with messages from fans supportive of the efforts of the U. S. Women's team. Why? The U. S. choked Sunday against Japan. They were the superior opponent and lost due mostly to sloppy decision making, un-clutch performance and a very small coaching mistake.
If women's sports are the equal to men's that so many women want it to be then those groups should be embarrassed. No human being at the World Cup championship level should ever send a penalty kick over the goal. No team ranked number one in the world should ever miss their first three penalty kicks. So why should I congratulate these women for a hard fought loss? Choking is choking no matter how it is dissected.
If women's sports are just cute little events to keep our daughters occupied, then this was wonderful. The U. S. deserves a ton of respect for trying their best and everyone should get a medal for their effort. However, I shouldn't receive any e-mails explaining why I didn't give enough time to the U. S. women's team on the show this week. If they didn't choke then it's not a real competition in which the athletes should be respected.
If women are equal, the U. S. should be judged as chokers. If women's sports are just a cute pastime, than we should be thrilled with how well they represented our country.
I choose to look at the money as my determination. With women's rights groups pushing different tennis tournaments to give equal payments to men's and women's champions, then women lose the right of chivalric protection. If you demanded American attention and loved the focus you earned through winning then accept the scrutiny of losing.
I could easily be wrong. It reminds me of UConn's decision to allow Nykesha Sales to become the all-time leading scorer in UConn Women's Basketball.
Sales had injured her knee and was out for the year. Head Coach Geno Auriemma felt terrible that he had taken her out of so many blowouts and, effectively, cost her the chance at breaking the record. He setup a free lay-up with Villanova to allow her to score a layup to start the game so she could take the record by one point while not defending the in-bounds pass so the game "started" 2-to-2.
It brings up a struggle to all men and sports fans in general. Do women actually get sports better than men? Women see no fault in what Auriemma did. Since it didn't affect the outcome of the game, men should let it go. As a man, I would never let anyone score an open layup; I would have blocked her shot or fouled Sales whether she was using crutches or not.
So who's right? Do women have a heartfelt view of sports by not allowing the outcome to determine their pride? Or are women hypocrites for expecting equal coverage and attention as their male counterparts during their events while rejecting the scrutiny that comes with the increased attention.
It's one or the other. Either men look at their own games the wrong the way and should appreciate the competition over the outcome like women, or women should not ask for equality if they aren't willing to accept the criticism that comes from failing to reach expectations.
I don't know if I'm right in the way I watched the Women's World Cup but I think they do deserve equal attention and adulation in victory. Therefore, the United States Women World Cup team deserves immense credit and appreciation for making the finals.
From that stand point, our women choked.