It was one heck of a weekend for women in sports as two major sporting events saw history-making performances by women.
In the Daytona 500 Danica Patrick became the first woman to start the race in the pole position and the first woman to ever lead a lap in the biggest race NASCAR has all year. She ran a great race and finished eighth.
In the UFC, Ronda Rousey beat Liz Carmouche in a bantamweight bout at UFC 157 In Anaheim, Calif.
Kevin Iole, who is a Mixed Martial Arts expert reporter for Yahoo! Sports, wrote the following about the match: "This was a moment comparable to the 1973 Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. That match squashed the outdated notion that women were somehow a weaker sex and couldn't compete with men."
He continued with "King-Riggs was an exhibition though; Rousey-Carmouche was very much the real deal. They proved that women could compete on a show featuring men and still be the star attractions. Too often, women's sports are given secondary roles."
He has got to be kidding. The King-Riggs match was a seminal moment for women tennis players. After it was over, major tournaments increased prize money and now the payouts are equal across the genders.
The UFC thing is a transparent gimmick. Forget for a moment that MMA is a gruesome display of unbridled violence egged on by a crowd of rabid bloodlusters. It is a sport (and I use that term loosely) where pandering is an advantage to building its popularity.
And the fight between Rousey and Carmouche is pandering to our basest beliefs.
Think about it: Put two women in scanty clothes into a locked room (the octagon), let them take off after each other and and roll around on the ground, legs locked together and sweat dripping off each of them. Sound like some kind of porn? Of course, and it plays into the fantasy of lots and lots of men.
It almost makes you wonder what else they can do. Will UFC stage a bout between Rousey and a man who is in her weight class? It would be ten times more absurd than the King-Riggs match.
As difficult as it may be to believe, there are sports that are good for women to play and some that, if they are going to play, ought to just be against women.
I love women playing tennis, golf, skiing, skating, gymnastics soccer and even softball. Those sports, when played by women, retain the essence of the sport, regardless of gender.
But there are sports that women play where the game is drastically different than the men’s game. And the difference is because of the difference between the sexes. Basketball and hockey come to mind, as well as boxing, wrestling and baseball.
Women’s groups have long been active in fighting the exploitation of women. This UFC farce ought to be their next target. It is extreme exploitation.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.