shared this article
yesterday and there's a lot in it I agree with.
So how come this win the game-changer, given this is actually the fourth time England have won the World Cup? I think for starters you have to look at the build-up towards the final. Sky Sports, in partnership with the ICC, provided full coverage of the tournament for the first time. By giving the games that platform it lent the series momentum and the opportunity for people to watch women’s sports who otherwise might not have. By promoting it in the same level as the men’s, it gave the impression that this is something sports fans should be watching.
This reminded me of one point in the afternoon where I heard Jennie's dad address whichever England batters were currently on the field with something like "come on, play as well as you did the last time I saw you two" and I asked him what he'd seen them in. "Oh, I don't remember, I've watched dozens of matches the past few weeks." Made me smile. This is what you want by the time you get to the World Cup final, some familiarity with the players and teams.
Of course it's a mixed blessing, with Andy also calling Sky" the greatest reducer of sporting audiences in the world." I was frustrated that as a TV-less, Sky-less person it wasn't easy to follow the games on the radio. One of my friends told me how Sri Lanka had done before we went to see them (the game where Athapaththu got 178 against Australia) but I would otherwise have to be a more internet/app-based follower of cricket to know these things, which I think is a shame. I wonder if we'll hear men's World Cup games that don't involve England on the radio in two years; I honestly don't know if this is something specific to the women's game or not. Still I'm glad the tournament got the attention it did, even if it had to be from Sky.
I heard one person exclaim “but the tickets were all bought by women”, as if that undermined the event?
In reality, 50% of ticket buyers were female. 50%. A gender diverse audience.
I first noticed this when I needed to pee. I don't think I'd ever had to wait in line at a cricket match before! Indeed one time, I think it was at Headingley but it might've been Old Trafford, when I asked a staff member where the loos were he could only direct me to the men's when the women's were off in another direction, indicating how rarely he was asked this question perhaps. This time, one woman sitting in our row came back late from the interval between innings, apologizing as she made us stand up, but defensively saying "Forty-five minute queue for the loos!" It wasn't that bad for me, but it was the first time I'd noticed how many women were really there.
I didn't hear any comments like "all the tickets were bought by women," thankfully but I do think this is interesting. There's that Geena Davis Institute statistic about a group of 17% women, men think is gender balanced and if it's 33% women, men think there are more women in the room than men.
with 31% of ticket buyers being under 16, and many more of the crowd full of children, it felt incredibly special to see girls and boys dressed in their team’s colours watching women ignite a packed-out stadium. For them, it will now be something they have grown up with, and will become normal to them, and that is something that excites them beyond belief. They will have female role models to look up to and inspire them. And how did they finish their day? Walking out with a bat and ball provided to them, ensuing that they have equipment to play with and as a souvenir to remember this day.
It was really great seeing how very many bats and balls I saw people carrying as we walked out and then waited at the tube station.
And I'm so glad they were given bats and balls, rather than anything else. When I was a kid I went to the Twins game where Kent Hrbek's number was retired, and all the kids were given replica jerseys. I adored him and I was so excited about this, but my mom put jersey away so it'd stay nice, never let me wear it and of course soon I'd have outgrown it anyway and the chance to really enjoy it was gone. It's probably still in a box at my parents' house somewhere, but I haven't seen it since the day I got it. Maybe some similarly well-meaning parents will squirrel away these too, but I'm really glad the kids have been given something so obviously useful and intended to be used. They have stuff they can actually play cricket with, and for people who love the game there's nothing better to guarantee a good future for it.
I am really envious of those kids, growing up thinking it's normal to watch women play cricket.
what also excited me was the members and groups of guys turning up to watch the cricket and enjoy the day, just like they would do any other game. There was no difference. No undermining the game, no undeserving criticism of the players, and it was beyond refreshing.
I noticed this too. I found myself bracing, early on, for some kind of sexism or misogyny in their comments, but I didn't hear a peep. I mean, I'm not saying they didn't happen anywhere in the ground, but I didn't expect any of us to be free of hearing them and I at least was.