A few years ago, I wrote an article for the USF St. Petersburg student newspaper (“The Crow’s Nest”) about how women’s sports deserve more respect and coverage than they currently receive.
After recently watching the USF Bulls women’s softball team compete in the College World Series, I thought it only made sense to expound on this a bit. I had never watched more than a few seconds of a softball game on TV until watching the Bulls play Hofstra in their first of three Super Regional games. You have to give these girls a ton of credit for how they compete. Sure, it’s “slow-pitch” softball. Sure, they aren’t tackling each other like football players do. Sure, they aren’t ramming each other into walls like NHL players do. But you cannot deny that these young ladies are putting forth tremendous effort in each and every game in which tye compete.
I remember how the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team strung dozens of victories together and set a record for consecutive wins over the course of two seasons. From what I recall, women’s college basketball got the most press out of this. Does it really take a women’s team to set unprecedented records for female sports to get any decent coverage at all? Does a women’s college basketball game mean nothing, while a men’s college basketball game might get a great timeslot on a major broadcast network?
ESPN recently promoted what is apparently a new website – ESPNW.com – during one of the softball game broadcasts I saw. It’s great to see a website that is entirely devoted to covering women’s sports. With the hundreds of TV channels out there on digital calbe these days, I would love to see just one channel that dedicates all of its programming to women’s sports, much like WE (Women’s Entertainment) airs shows geared toward a female audience. Unfortunately, I doubt that will ever happen any time soon. There is still a great deal of gender bias when it comes to media coverage. Until that changes, the status quo will remain in our society.