I am prepared to be a pariah in the progressive world. Modern
commentators (and who can be more modern than the New York Times) seem
to be engaged in a full-court press to have women accepted as men's
equals in sports. In ancient Greece pre-puberty girls were allowed to
compete, if nude, in the Olympic Games in the morning, but adult women
were forbidden to attend the major games under penalty of death. So much
for ancient tradition.
I will yield to the facts. The second half of the 20th century has
seen women make enormous progress in fields such as law and medicine,
but once a movement gets launched its defining borders often become
fuzzy. Many of the sporting activities included in the recent Olympic
Games in Sydney were never intended by God to be women's sports, but
women (and a handful of ardent male supporters) have a whole pack of
male fellow travelers who write about synchronized swimming as if it
were a fine field to display athletic talent. Whereas, far from an
Olympic sport, I think synchronized swimming is no kind of sport at all,
and would be better handled as an annex to a ballet school.
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This goes for trampoline and other such novelties invented for women.
Women's weight lifting, tae kwon do, judo, hammer throw, and shot put
have only recently been introduced as women's events in the Olympics and
leave me slightly uneasy. The Olympic Games were supposed to represent
some sort of male ideal. Are great, rock-like, bulging muscles also a
A feminine characteristic that was much celebrated by the press in
the recent Olympics was women's superior sportsmanship, demonstrated by
their great hugging and kissing each other after a close contest. In the
first women's modern pentathlon, Mary Beth Iagorashvili of San Antonio,
Texas, who finished only fourth, was searching for her teammate, Emily
Deriel of Philadelphia, who finished second. As soon as Mary Beth
crossed the finish line, she was searching for her teammate, Emily,
kissing her enthusiastically when she found her.
"It makes me so happy," Mary Beth said. "I'm so glad to say I was
part of getting her ready. She's a great athlete. I'm so proud of her."
Mind you these are the words of a woman who was just defeated in a
fairly close race. What sportsmanship! An absolutely huge proportion of
women victors and losers at the games broke into tears when they won (or
lost), including, to everyone's surprise, American tennis champion Venus
Williams. In all this hugging and kissing, sympathetic journalists found
a wonderful example of sportsmanship.
Now, when I was a Midshipman at the Naval Academy I was an undefeated
welterweight boxer. But no one ever cried. No one even seemed to get
very emotional about it. The most emotion I encountered was from another
Midshipman named Sullivan, who, in my corner before the last round,
whispered to me urgently, "Don't slug with him, Dick. You're ahead on
points! Don't slug with him!"
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Although I was fighting the previous year's regimental champion and
yearned to deck him, I followed Sullivan's advice. And won on points.
After which, I went forth into the fleet to fight for my country. The
boxing was all in preparation for the real fight, they told me then. And
so it seemed.
All through the televised version of the Olympics, I searched for
myself, or Sullivan, or my opponent whom I let off, who as I recall was
named Wigglesworth. But I didn't find in the Sidney Games any
equivalents to any of my old buddies, NBC apparently having decided that
boxing, as opposed to synchronized swimming, was too brutal a sport for
One of the modern ideas that has taken hold is that women are, or
should be, the absolute equal to men in everything. As doctrine, I think
it madness to accept this as a valid universal proposition. It not only
weakens men's masculine qualities, it decreases women's feminine
qualities. I view with some bitterness the coming fashion (being pumped
up by the New York Times of course) for women in professional as well as
At present three movies are in release, or are about to be released,
about women boxers. After a trial run the movie people might find it
wise, following the new Olympic style, to replace women's boxing with
women's synchronized boxing. What this will look like I have no
idea. But extreme feminists, lesbians, and progressives of all sorts
should be happy.