Blood. Sweat. Tears. Endless hours spent in the gym shooting hundreds of shots every day, running sprints until you feel like you can’t run anymore, but know you have to push through the pain. These are the sacrifices that need to be made in order to put yourself in a position to be successful in the game of basketball. The guidelines are not specific for professionals or amateurs, boys or girls, men or women. The key to success is the same for everyone: hard work. So if players of all caliber and gender are putting in the same amount of time, effort, and work to give 100% to the game of basketball, what gives spectators the right to not respect all players for the tremendous amount of practice and dedication they put into the game?
More importantly, what gives the media the right to televise the women’s games on secondary channels and at less popular times compared to the men’s games that are streaming during primetime on ESPN? In today’s society, we let the media portray many of our opinions, and by doing this to women’s basketball games, spectators are drawing conclusions that the women’s game is not entertaining, while the men’s game is a competitive thrill. In my book, the only difference between the game of basketball on the men’s and women’s side is the gender of the players.
Women’s basketball is anything but boring. Have you ever heard about the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team? Anybody who knows about this team would also agree that calling the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team boring to watch is an act of utter disrespect. The University of Connecticut, also known as UConn, women’s basketball team is playing at an elite level right now and has been for the past eighteen years. UConn has won ten Division 1 National Championships dating back to the 1999-2000 season. The University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team, under head coach Geno Auriemma, set the record for longest win streak in men’s and women’s Division 1 collegiate basketball history with having won 111 games straight. That long stretch began in the fall of 2014 and, unfortunately, came to an end in the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament semifinal game in 2017. In this historic run, Geno Auriemma led his team to two National Championships and their fourth consecutive championship trophy.
If that is not impressive enough, make sure to note that this UConn team is consistently scoring an average of 89.3 points per game. I am not sure anyone will be able to find a resume as remarkable as theirs in any sport, men or women, or be able to back an argument on how this game is not exciting to watch. Geno Auriemma and the University of Connecticut have created a platform and have set an extremely high standard to meet in the women’s game. Some may argue that UConn is ruining the women’s game by continuing to out play every opponent they come across. However, slowly, but surely, the women’s game is becoming more and more competitive in order to live up to UConn’s reputation. This year’s NCAA Women’s March Madness Tournament marked the historic run of the two number eleven seeded teams in Central Michigan University and Buffalo University. This also marks only the third time in the history of the women’s tournament that two teams seeded eleven or higher reached the sweet sixteen in the second weekend of action. In addition, fourteen games resulted in upsets where the higher seeded team defeated the lower seeded team. This shows that the women’s game at the Division 1 level is continuing to raise the bar and produce more talent to all one day be able to play at UConn’s highest standard consistently.
So please, stop associating the word boring with women’s basketball. Learn to respect the fundamentals and talent that goes into playing the game. These amazing Division 1 players are continuing onto the WNBA where only twelve teams exist in the league with each roster only consisting of twelve girls. This shows that the WNBA is really made of the best of the best. Even Steph Curry says, “I learn a little bit from them, as well.” Or take it from Jimmy Butler, he thinks, “They are the best at what they do.”
Joseph, Adi. “Let the NBA’s Biggest Stars Tell You Why They Love the WNBA.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 1 May 2017, ftw.usatoday.com/2017/05/wnba-watch-me-work-nba-all-stars-stephen-curry-kevin-durant.
Voepel, Hays. “First Look at the Women’s NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Field.” ESPN.com, 20 Mar. 2018, http://www.espn.com.au/womens-college-basketball/story/_/id/22839399/first-look-women-ncaa-tournament-sweet-16-field.
Wagner, Tony. “Why Aren’t People Watching Women’s Basketball?” Marketplace, Marketplace, 5 Apr. 2016, http://www.marketplace.org/2016/04/05/business/why-arent-people-watching-womens-basketball.