The only time this column went viral was when I dared reveal I found women’s sport boring.
Judging by the reaction you’d think I’d ordered the extermination of every female athlete.
‘Misogynist’ (a hater of women) was the (printable) insult which was a bit harsh for suggesting women’s cricket and football were far inferior products to the male versions (check the attendances for proof).
One international hockey player suggested I watch how hard she and her teammates train thus completely missing my point. I hadn’t questioned their desire, work ethic or patriotism, just that I didn’t care for the final product.
A national media type sent me a message a couple of weeks after the article appeared to suggest I must have been disappointed after an England Ladies T20 cricket victory which rather baffled me as I’d support anyone and any team representing my country regardless of entertainment levels.
I attended England’s opening match at the World Ladies Hockey Cup at Lee Valley this year. I was surprised to see the pace of the game was slower than the men manage at City of Peterborough Hockey Club, but I cheered the late English equaliser nonetheless.
But making justifiable criticisms of female sports/athletes is fraught with danger and only those with a thick skin should attempt it.
Surely any sensible, honourable person with a working moral compass would say Serena Williams behaved disgracefully during and after her US Open Tennis Final defeat to Naomi Osaka?
She behaved like an arrogant bully. Her reaction to being outclassed by a 20-year-old was to look for someone to blame other than herself.
Umpire Carlos Ramos was quickly in her sights for daring to implement the rules regarding abuse, temper tantrums, illegal coaching and racquet-smashing. He was, undeniably disgracefully, described as a ‘thief’ for his troubles.
His actions were that of a sexist according to Williams and her fan club (which bizarrely included writer of fiction JK Rowling), although none bothered to find any examples of Ramos letting male players off for similar indiscretions to back up their claims. Even the discovery of video clips showing Williams attacking female players and line judges didn’t deter her supporters.
A proper champion tennis player Martina Navratilova summed it up best for me by saying - ‘we cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with’ - because let’s face it Williams was most upset because she was losing, badly. The rest of the laughable nonsense about her being unable to cheat as she’s a mum was a mere smokescreen
Predictably the people in power all rushed to back multi-millionairess Williams who was handed a paltry fine of 17,000 dollars for abusing an umpire whose match fee was $434.
Anyway the winner of the US Open was the real victim of the ungracious, spiteful on-course nonsense. Her brilliant performance in demolishing a bully in straight sets, while keeping cool amid all the madness was heroic. Well played Naomi, I hope you win many more Slams and that all are received with more class than this one.