Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere, you probably have noticed that two of the biggest sports stories have put women athletes in the forefront.
One was the Cinderella run of teenage sensation Coco Gauff in Wimbledon. While she may have been eliminated in the Round of 16, her magical run at the Wimbledon grass courts, which included a victory over Venus Williams and a historic comeback in the third round, had an entire country falling in love with her.
From 15 years old to everyone from sea to shining sea having her name on their lips. Needless to say, this will not be the last time tennis fans go cuckoo for Coco.
The second of those major stories also happened in Europe when the United States Women’s National Soccer Team staged a successful defense of its 2015 World Cup championship via a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in this year’s World Cup Final in Lyor, France.
And how are they being honored? In fitting fashion with a ticker-tape parade in New York City through the Canyon of Heroes and culminating at City Hall. The 2015 team also had a parade also in lower Manhattan.
One of the goals was scored by Sue Bird’s girlfriend – Megan Rapinoe who, needless to say, will not be going anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue anytime soon … at least, as long as the current chief occupant of said White House is still there.
Needless to say, both Gauff and the USWNT are being lauded as sports heroes. Both she and they will be wanted to be interviewed by every morning television show, morning radio show and late night television show there is. I mean, c’mon … Coco Gauff on Conan O’Brien’s show?
Coco meets Coco?
And they will definitely be honored at the ESPYs as well.
Our only message to the rest of the media is that they maintain and keep this same energy throughout.
The attitude as it relates to women’s sports is seen on a regular basis if one is a regular fan of the WNBA – if a “juicy” story like the Riquna Williams case or Minnesota Lynx, Indiana Fever and New York Liberty players protesting in support of Black Lives Matter, then start sending press. But are these players given the year-round coverage that they deserve?
Yeah the WNBA may get some added attention from business media with the announcement of Cathy Engelbert taking over the reins as the league’s first commissioner, but as a whole will we see resources dedicated to covering the National Women’s Soccer League and National Pro Fastpitch?
As July will transition to August, all you will probably hear on the radio and see on your television screens are previews for the upcoming college football and NFL seasons. And while we are not attempting to deny the continuously robust popularities of both college football (especially in the southeast) and the NFL, let’s not all of a sudden act as if these women just disappeared so we can get our pigskin jones on.
And this is even aside from the equal pay push. Our men’s soccer team cannot even qualify for a World Cup yet our women have now won back-to-back Women’s World Cups.
Clearly, there isn’t a pay based on performance clause in USA Soccer contracts.
Sometimes, it is easy to sound like broken records when pushing for women to be recognized as they should be for their athletic achievements. But it must continue to be said. How many young black girls in their teen years probably were not even considering tennis as a sport before they saw Gauff make the waves she did in London.
And how many young girls now want to be the next Alex Morgan or the next Megan Rapinoe after seeing how the USWNT represented the absolute best in women’s sports in France.
It must be said and said again – if more young girls see more of themselves on our athletic fields, they will absolutely give more consideration to giving sports a try. It is why we continue to say young girls basketball players shouldn’t only be looking up to the Kawhi Leonard’s, LeBron James’, Stephen Curry’s and Kevin Durant’s but the Diana Taurasi’s, Elena Delle Donne’s, A’ja Wilson’s and Tina Charles’.
Because one of the may just be the next Coco Gauff. Or the next Alex Morgan. Or the next Megan Rapinoe.
Or the next Diana Taurasi.