By Dan Bernstein
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team just set a record of some kind for their level of their sport.
Their sport is painful to watch for anyone with an iota of aesthetic judgment, yet too many people are expected to think otherwise because telling the truth is considered mean, and it deviates from the gender-equity guilt narrative.
I support fully their right to play, and support equally my right to not want to watch them do so, and to be allowed to state the obvious about how awful women’s basketball is. Everybody knows it, but too few can bring themselves to say it.
Don’t even bother with your indignant sputtering about fundamentals, teamwork and intangibles. We get all that from real basketball, just at much higher speed, with much more successful, explosive conclusions. It’s easier to see passes and half-court sets in a women’s game because it’s happening slower – it’s like saying you prefer watching a junior-high boy’s practice session because you can see how the game is “supposed to be played.”
When played by bad players, yes. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to look. If you claim to enjoy that more than something better, then you do not like basketball.
I really had no strong feelings about UConn coach Geno Auriemma, but now I see why so many people hate him.
“A bunch of women are threatening to break a men’s record, and everybody is all up in arms about it,” he said about whatever it was his team was doing. “All the miserable bastards that follow men’s basketball and don’t want us to break the record are all here because they’re pissed.”
Couple things, here. First, I didn’t even know the “men’s record” off the top of my head, nor do I care about it. Second, his team can no more “break” that mark than Wayne Gretzky’s 92 goals broke Roger Maris’s 1961 home run record, Sergei Bubka’s highest pole-vault eclipsed the best time run by Secretariat, or another Oscar nomination for Meryl Streep finally gives her the one she needs to tie Pete Rose’s seventeen All-Star appearances.
Those of us who enjoy the game played well are not miserable at all. In fact, any reasonable basketball fan would be made more miserable by bricked set-shots, mundane layups and rebounds that take forever to be grabbed.
The fact that Auriemma felt compelled to make such a comment proves he knows I’m right.
If networks want to continue to waste time and money pretending otherwise, they’re allowed. As long as David Stern is happy pouring away NBA dollars to subsidize the yearly millions of dollars of WNBA losses, he can. It’s all part of the big, expensive miscalculation that the good intentions of equal-rights support can convince people that the empress is clothed in the finest robes.
It’s over now, of course, this latest, occasional period of time that reminds us briefly of women’s basketball, and some of the bitter people involved in it.
So I’ll be watching Derrick Rose attack Washington tonight, and I’ll spend Christmas Day enjoying the Heat against the Lakers – LeBron James and Dwyane Wade against Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
Oh, the misery!