It is "important for any fan--man or woman, age utterly aside--to recognize greatness in athletes both male and female." But Ted Cock's point (I tweak his name for reasons ornithological rather than sexual) bores home well before that platitudinous disclaimer: Watching women's soccer was "more pleasant than men's soccer in part because they were women at play" [July 10]. The birds, he allows, trip his aesthetic trigger. Of course, he wouldn't have noticed that Mia Hamm "is a beautiful woman" had People not told him--but her "intense gaze" (and the sight of that "intense little sad-eyed brunet"?) may bring him back next year for the women's World Cup. Then, perhaps, the "more intense competition" will help fans overcome their "strange...reluctan[ce] to pour abuse on the players"--fuel that boys, apparently, "rechannel" to supplement their testicular output. Then, perhaps--when the players' "high-pitched voices...sound[ing] like circling chimney swifts" have been drowned out by porcine grunts echoing happy hour at Hooters--adult males will be able to attend girls' games without reminding all and always that they are "soccer dads." Oh, the humiliations they endure for their daughters!
I cannot recall Mr. Cox's previously writing about women's athletics. Having seen this attempt, I must deem that neglect relatively benign. But, dear editor, might not it be possible to add some second writer--man or woman, age utterly aside--who regarded women's sport as other than oddity. Or who could see past Steve Kerr's role as an outside shooter to his essence as an intense little apple-cheeked blond.
PS: In addition to a clue, Mr. Cox could use a name for his column. Most of the articles in the Reader have cute headlines, but his is labeled simply Sports Section. Might I suggest "Jock Scratchings"?