Monday, July 31, 2017

What women can do ...

... that men apparently cannot. Well, at least in the United States.

What women did yesterday, in case you missed it, is shock Brazil in soccer. And do it in the most ridiculously improbable manner, by scoring three goals in nine minutes to turn a 3-1 hole into a stunning 4-3 victory.

That's the U.S. women's team did yesterday in the Tournament of Nations, and if you missed it, you missed one of those things that makes sports, for all its hypocrisies and excesses, so enduringly wonderful. When Brazil scored in the 78th minute, it was leading by two goals with 12 minutes to play. In other words, in the Blob's Adjusted NFL Scenario (a Blob patent!), the Brazilians were the Patriots and they were leading 28-7 with six minutes left.

But somehow, the American women won anyway, scoring goals in the 80th, 85th and 89th minutes to pull it out. And to once again distinguish themselves as the only world power America has in soccer.

Because somewhere in the land, the reaction was undoubtedly this: "How come the men can't do that?"

It's a refrain that's repeated itself endlessly as the women have won World Cups and various other international titles while the men struggled to get out of WC pool play. There are any number of reasons for this, ranging from coaching to soccer's higher profile among American female athletes. More women gravitate to soccer because they grew up watching Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy; men gravitate to football and basketball because they grew up watching Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and LeBron James.

This is not to say it will always be thus. There is considerable, and warranted, optimism in the American soccer community about the crop of American men currently coming of age. In Christian Pulisic in particular, the possibility exists that America could finally produce its first real Neymar/Ronaldo/Messi level star.

Until that happens, though, the women are what we have. And that's a lot more than something.

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