23.8.16

REVEALED PREFERENCES.

Footie is popular with eight-year-old girls in the United States, and adolescent males all over the Third World.  Perhaps U.S. policy contributes to its omnipresence.  In Brazil, by contrast, the resources tend to go to the adolescent males.
“This is a macho country,” [former captain Aline] Pellegrino says. “And soccer is seen as a male sport. Whoever plays soccer is a strong man, that is the image, so having a woman play soccer does not match that. They want women in the kitchen, all beautiful and sexy. Not in a soccer jersey kicking a ball around.” Brazil’s affinity for soccer is unmatched anywhere in the world.

While the rules of the modern game were drawn up in England, Brazil can claim to be its spiritual home, a place where the game and life intertwine effortlessly.

The 2014 World Cup, despite Brazil’s crushing 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semifinal, gave the world a glimpse of how the vibrant national personality draws inspiration from the planet’s most popular sport.

Women, however, have been lost somewhere on the periphery of that idyllic scene.

Even with the women’s game enjoying more global popularity than ever, Brazil has not caught up. The Brazilian women’s team is one of the favorites for gold in Rio, but the treatment of girls who want to play at the grass-roots level is disturbing, to say the least.
Old-style sex roles apparently hamper the development of youth footie for the girls.  Perhaps, too, there aren't enough minivans yet.

For all of the attention Brazil and the States pay to footie, and to beach volleyball, the winners in the Olympic women's footie tournament and on the beach were ... the Germans.  Deutsche Frauen, Deutsche Treue, Deutscher Wein und Deutscher Sang.

In the men's tournament, it was Brazil beating Germany.  By penalty kicks.

Doesn't that say something is wrong with an activity more suitable for kids running around a field with rudimentary equipment than as a worldwide sport?  You run around for ninety minutes, plus some unspecified extra time incurred because there are stoppages of play and out of bounds set plays and somebody who never went to clown college doing a bad parody of a pratfall, and after that, there is no score (nil-nil, for the purists) or it's tied (sometimes in the extra time) and then you go to a bad parody of overtime in college football?

And people say watching yacht racing is boring?

Why not try something else?  Emulate hockey's regular-season rules, in which each side plays with fewer skaters (yes, this too, goes to penalty shots, but the point of fewer skaters is to provide more room to shoot).  Because it's for a title, allow rotations in order that the side on the field at the start will each get a blow should the running around go on for ninety minutes or longer (as Chicago Black Hawk fans have experienced in the past few seasons).  Perhaps to expedite matters, go to the reduced sides at the beginning of extra time, but play it out as it's currently done; then it's sudden victory.

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