Congratulations UConn Women, however…

Maya Moore led the UConn Huskies to a NCAA record 89 consecutive victories

Last night the UConn women’s basketball team broke the John Wooden led UCLA Bruins record for most consecutive college basketball victories.

89 consecutive victories, pretty good right?

Impressive maybe, but as notable sports streaks go this one ranks near the bottom of my list.

There are haters of this streak and haters of the haters of the streak. I can’t say that I am in either of those categories. Much of what I am going to say may sound sexist, possibly because it is, but it’s not meant in a derogatory kind of way. There are facts that are undeniable when it comes to this controversial topic and whether you like it or not what I’m about to say is not pure opinion, it is fact.

Behind the play of their star 6 foot senior forward Maya Moore the UConn Huskies beat Florida State in rather unimpressive fashion 93-62 to push their consecutive wins streak to 89. Fitting really.

The lack of competition faced in UConn’s record breaking victory is a microcosm of their entire streak and is one of the major aspects of women’s sports that differentiate it from men’s sports. There are far fewer girls who continue with competitive sports at the grassroots level than boys, which would obviously mean that the pool of female players for colleges to choose from for any given sport is substantially less in comparison to men.

Major division 1 colleges are built around kids who hope that they can rise up above the rest and reach the professional ranks. The money, fame and prestige of being a professional athlete is what drives so many boys to work harder than many can imagine just for a shot at a professional career.

However, this is an aspect that is not apparent in the small market of women’s professional sports. There is no money in women’s professional sports aside from tennis and golf, while the prestige and fame can often be limited to your friends, family and a blurb in the local paper.

Colleges are able to build dynasties on their ability to constantly recruit the best players throughout the country. The best players go to the winning colleges and the winning colleges continue to win because they are able to recruit the best players. The extensive pool of players creates an enormous amount of competition in men’s sports, which makes producing a dynasty such a difficult task and when a team is able to build a dynasty like John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins it is. Not that forming a dynasty is not a difficult task in women’s sports but the reality is that pales in comparison to forming one in men’s sports.

When it comes to women’s sports, a college is able to build up a reputation like any other and is in turn able to recruit the best. However, the difference here is that there are far fewer high quality players so when all the best players continually flock to that respective college there are not nearly as many quality female athletes who can go to other colleges, build teams and compete with them on an equal level. By and large there will be a couple of team’s that can give them a run for their money but in general the majority of team’s have no shot against them barring an absolute miracle.

Can you say that this is the same in men’s sports?

You really can’t because no matter the difference between division 1 schools, at any point during the regular season all it takes is a bad shooting night for a team like Duke to be defeated by some no-name school. On the other hand, the UConn’s women team just dominates other schools by so much that they are able to overcome their bad nights. In 2 years only 1 team has come within 10 points of the Huskies. Also, because of Tennessee’s refusal to play UConn during the regular season, the only team that may be good enough to give the Huskies a real run for their money doesn’t even play them.

One team, that’s it, and they don’t even play each other.

It isn’t just the lack of competition either that makes this streak just kind of “meh.” It is the amount of care that I and most other sports fans have for women’s sports in general.

A caller on the Dan Patrick show I think said it best, “I like women, I like basketball, but I don’t like women’s basketball.” It doesn’t get much more sexist than that does it, but it’s the sad truth of it.

Women’s sports are just not entertaining like men’s sports. I’m not going to beat around the bush and say I’m not sure why because I know why I’m bored out of my skull watching women’s sports. Plain and simple it is because women are not close to the same level that men are at in respect to sports.

Does that sound incredibly sexist? Sure it does, but how can you deny that fact. This whole business that women can do anything a guy can do is a bunch of garbage. Again, this isn’t mean to be a derogatory statement because I don’t mean it in the sense such as women not being as smart as men or anything like that because that’s garbage as well. However, when it comes to physical activities, like sports, women do not come close to reaching the competition level that men are at.

The lack of ability in women in relative terms to that of men makes it so women’s sports are not nearly as entertaining as men’s sports. I enjoy watching extraordinary athletes do extraordinary things but because of the in-born physical disadvantage that women possess the things they do athletically do not match up to men.

I don’t mean to say that these women are not athletic people on their own. However, strictly in comparison to men, the top female athletes simply cannot compare to top male athletes in their relative sports.

Don’t get me wrong, my hat is off to the UConn Huskies who have done the seemingly impossible. It is incredibly difficult to overcome all the adversity that accompanies the competition of an entire season, or seasons rather, and to persevere under all the pressure that came with the streak does make it impressive in a certain sense.

Nevertheless there is no way I can give it the credit that the UCLA Bruins men’s team garners for their 88 consecutive wins streak.

If you want to call me narrow-minded then feel free to do so but there is no way to overlook the fact that these women constantly faced insufficient competition as well as the general lack of care amongst the sports world leaves something to be desired from this streak of…greatness?

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

17 Responses to Congratulations UConn Women, however…

  1. I’ll go ahead and say it if you won’t…LOL

    Look, it’s an amazing streak, but it’s a whole different horse, or in this case-filly. Additionally, I’m sure they got every possibly 50/50 call you could ever imagine swing their way in order to keep this streak alive.

    Doing this in NCAA men’s ball nowadays would be almost unthinkable.

    Meehan

  2. Like I mentioned in my blog, don’t follow the media on this story. The media will have you believe that Uconn’s achievements overshadow Wooden’s Bruins. In truth the Huskies and the Bruins don’t compare to each other at all, their streaks don’t even complement each other.

    I do see your point about the lack of competition, but If Wooden’s team was able to pull off 88 wins in that era, you can safely assume that they too accumulated the best of the talent available.

  3. Bheise says:

    Thank you for saying exactly what I’ve been thinking that past 2 or 3 days but have been too lazy to actually write about! You hit the nail on the head. The streak has featured so many lopsided blowouts that it’s hard to see it as an accomplishment. The blowouts are less about UCONN’s talent and more about the oppositions lack of talent. How many teams can they beat by 30 or 40 points before someone realizes their is a problem. While yes it’s impressive to win anything 89 times in a row, it’s definitely not the same as doing it on the men’s level.

    Theres one other addition to your comparison between mens and womens sports that i think you could of added (you were so close to making the point but didn’t quite get there). Men are motivated to play sports at a higher level and women aren’t so yes that causes the talent pool for womens sports to shrink, but also in men’s sports the best players are always leaving after 1 year, 2 if we’re lucky. In women’s sports they stay and play all four years. Get a superstar like Maya Moore and the cast around her and your set for four years. That’s not so with the men. If women left college early, Moore would have been gone by now. Just look at how it goes in women’s basektball. Tennessee had 4 solid years with chamique holdsclaw and another solid 3 or 4 with Candice Parker. UCONN had 4 year periods of dominance with Rebecca Lobo, Diana Turasi, and now Moore. In women’s sports it tends to be all about getting the best player. How many dominating men have failed to get out of the second round of the NCAA tournament? Kevin Durant comes to mind as one. Tim Duncan is another.

    And so ends my rant and again THANK YOU for saying what a lot of people are thinking.

  4. lsjoberg says:

    Totally agreed, although you also have to admit that Maya Moore is the first chick hooper (likely ever) who can crossover and step-back J like a dude, Moore is a seriously-talented player.

  5. The Crusty Curmedgeon says:

    Cogently put, and I agree on some points. When the streak hits 100+ let’s talk again about the UCLA/Bill Walton comparison.

  6. Dale Sailer says:

    Chris:

    Thanks for commenting on my blog posting. A few thoughts in reply:

    – You will note that I did not say that the UConn streak was better than UCLA’s or that they had ‘broken the record’. I said merely that they had “surpassed in number” UCLA’s mark and that I “would leave it to others to argue as to which was more impressive”, which you have done.

    – I generally agree with your facts, though not always your tone. There is no doubt that men are physically better athletes. As good as Serena Williams is, she would not be in the Top 500 amongst male tennis players. But that does not diminish the impressiveness of her talent or achievement when viewed in proper perspective, and she is as entertaining to watch as any male player. (And her behavior can certainly be as boorish as Barry Bonds or Terrell Owens.)

    – There is one other detail that I think also must be considered. The men who play Division 1 college ball, at least in the big money sports (football or basketball) are generally not true student-athletes. They are professionals, regardless of what anyone says. They spend more hours per week on their sport than I do in my work, and I work a lot. Generally speaking, the women playing college athletics are student-athletes. That makes the UConn streak that much more impressive on its own, because these are well-rounded kids who actually go to class in academic disciplines other than Underwater Basketweaving and graduate on time. For them to sustain excellence over 2 1/2 years demonstrates unwavering commitment. I still have not said that this makes the streak better than UCLA’s, merely that it should be viewed in its own way. (For clarity, I am not suggesting that all male college athletes are illiterate. There are many very accomplished students amongst the Division 1 player pool, but the primary purpose behind a D-1 scholarship is to ‘play ball’, not ‘excel in the classroom.)

    – Finally, my perspective on the UConn streak was viewed more from the prism of business than of athletics. I appreciate the teamwork, unselfishness and unrelenting commitment to excellence every single moment on the court that is most definitely NOT commonly found in men’s college sports where it is so often all about trying to get individual time on the SportCenter Top Ten. This is what translates into business so well. It is irrelevant if General Electric is a better company than Microsoft is a better company than JP Morgan Chase is a better company than Southwest Airlines. Or who has the best CEO or CFO amongst those companies. What matters is ‘are they the best in their industry?’ That’s what is relevant. All UConn cares about is being the best in women’s basketball. They want to win in their ‘market’. They can’t affect anything else. (You can look at the difficulty of winning back to back titlesin football or basketball two ways. One is to say the competition is so tough that it is inherently difficult, if not impossible, in men’s sports. The other way to view it is to say that men tend to get full of themselves, start believing their own press, and start ‘dialing it in’, unwilling to make the commitment necessary to achieve sustained excellence. To not recognize both of these factors as realities is to be naive.)

    Whether one views UConn’s streak as ‘better’ or UCLA’s as more ‘impressive’, I suggest we look at each and acknowledge what each represents- sustained excellence because of a willingness to make the commitment necessary to achieve it. That’s the real message here.

  7. I don’t understand why everyone has to compare this streak to UCLA’s (actually, I do, I just don’t agree with it). When you start comparing streaks across different sports, (yes, the women’s game is different from the men’s game), you begin to diminish one or the other. Was UCLA’s streak incredible? Of course. Is the UCONN streak amazing? Yes. End of story. For one team (any sport) to win as many games, by as many points, as the UCONN women have, against the top competition in the sport (they’ve beaten several top 10 teams during the streak), is commendable. I’m not sure if there’s enough statistical data to show that the players on teams besides UCONN are weaker. If you are a top 10 division 1 women’s basketball team, you have really good players. And UCONN blows out these teams night after night. I’m not buying that UCONN is taking all the elite players, and there aren’t enough great players left for the other teams to compete. There are 10-12 players on a team. You mean to tell me, UCONN has the only elite players in all of women’s college basketball? There is enough talent to be spread to these other programs. The streak is an amazing feat, and I don’t think there should be any caveats. No ‘but’s’. Congratulations Geno Auriemma and the Huskies basketball team.

  8. Michael says:

    Ya I totally agree, there is too much emphasis on the women’s victory. It’s like if you go to Mozambique and congratulate their winning hockey team.

  9. Brobama says:

    There’s certainly no way that you’re narrow minded on this topic, and you did a great job of supporting that yous statements aren’t meant to be derogatory towards women. I watched First Take this morning on ESPN, regular host Dana Jacobson and analyst Skip Bayless were joined by two more women, Jemele Hill of ESPN.com and Rebecca Lobo, former UCONN Women’s basketball player. During the show Lobo and Hill were both quick to defend women’s sports and the streak. As someone who has played sports I understand where they are coming from as far as defending something they believe in that is important to them, which is where I think Geno Auriemma got off lashing at the public for not providing more publicity of the UCONN Women’s basketball winning streak. He coaches them, and feels he and the team deserves recognition, something that is clearly important to him. They certainly deserve recognition, but to say the streak outdoes John Wooden’s UCLA streak is absurd. The difference of parity within Men’s College basketball and Women’s College basketball speaks for itself. Three teams have come within 10 points or less of beating the Lady Huskies this year, show me one Men’s College basketball team that have had only 15 teams come within 10 points or less of beating them. You can’t. The UCONN streak is a great accomplishment and step forward for women’s sports, but certainly does not compare to the UCLA men’s basketball winning streak.

    Check out a similar post and more on The BroCave at http://thebrocave.wordpress.com/ , you won’t be disappointed.

  10. Chuck says:

    Chris,

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. I applaud the fact that you’re grasping these concepts at such a young age.

    You’re rationale is on the money; my only critique would be that you apologize too much for your so-called sexist opinions. My view is that you are being realistic – sexism is a word that has been socially constructed by feminists in order to prevent people from talking about these issues.

    UConn’s achievement is valuable within the women’s game’s frame; which means that it’s not worth much. Fans want to see the best of the best competing against each other. This leaves little room for women because women aren’t as athletically gifted as men. Nobody wants to watch women’s sports.

    After all, after UConn loses, where does that leave women’s college basketball? Even with a very high winning streak, it is barely watched.

  11. sportrant says:

    Thanks for the comments on my post, but I definitely think you are being narrow minded. I am sure you do not mean to be derogatory, however you are a tad bit derogatory against women’s sports. My guess is that you and the people that agree with you do not watch much women’s sports. I will admit that they are not up to exactly the same level (my problem is how slow they bring the ball up the court) but they are close. Men have been playing sports and doing things athletically since cavemen age. Women are slowy, but surely, catching up.

    Enough on that subject. Just because UConn happens to have many elite players, that does not mean they have all the elite players. The top recruits know which teams they need to go to. It is like that in every sport for both genders. Because of this, you get a couple of years of one school (or even more than one school that may never play each other because of how the conferences are split up) completly dominating the sport. Pretty much any time one school has back to back national championships. That is about 80 games plus you can include the first few games of the new season. This makes me wonder why hasn’t anybody broken the record before? Oh yeah. It is because it is extemley hard to do. Being that consistent is tough, and that is why it should be congratulated whether you think women’s sports are up to par or not.

    You do make a good point about it being easier for women’s teams to have a longer ‘dynasty’ because female athletes almost always spend four years in college before going pro. (However I still don’t – and never will- agree with you that this is because “women are not close to the same level that men are at in respect to sports.”)

  12. Kaylee says:

    Thanks for reading my blog. You made some interesting points, sexist, but you did explain yourself. You are right that the talent pool isn’t as deep, but they did play ranked opponent throughout the streak, almost half of their opponents were ranked, but another thing to consider is women’s college sports really haven’t been around that long compared to the men, Title IV only passed in 1965, so they only have 40+ years to build from. I do not like to compare this streak to the UCLA streak because they each should stand on their own.

  13. Mookie says:

    UConn is a fantastic team but they can’t touch UCLA’s streak. Women’s basketball is UConn, Tennessee, Duke, Stanford, Baylor, occasionally North Carolina, and then a bunch of teams that would get eaten alive by the aforementioned 6.

    Women’s basketball is just so top-heavy and lacking in competitiveness that while I appreciate the record and hope they shoot for 100, the record is not remotely close to being anything overly special.

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  15. kevin says:

    I enjoyed the article, lots of great points. Now that the streak is over hopefully there can be more balance in the women’s game and it can become more enjoyable to watch.

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