The women’s Final Four in Tampa Bay was a weekend full of intense basketball that saw the team widely considered the best in the country, Baylor, walk away as national champions. All three games over the weekend were full of exhilarating moments, comebacks and heartbreaks. Throughout the weekend, one thing stood out to me more than anything: These games need more coverage.
Over the course of the week, multiple people stopped and thanked me for what I was doing. Me? What was I doing? I was just reporting about a sport that I love, hardly considering it to be work. But the thanks were about more than just that, it was the fact that I was there and that I cared. That was what they appreciated. All weekend, I did not lose sleep, shed a tear, or break a sweat (although the Tampa heat did try); but the female athletes putting it all on the line, they are the ones who deserve thanks.
They deserve thanks for what they do. They deserve more attention and coverage. They deserve the same respect that basketball fans give to the men’s tournament. They deserve to have all their Final Four games on ESPN, not ESPN2. They deserve the same attention the men get because they put in the same effort towards their craft, yet do not receive the same respect.
The national championship game between Baylor and Notre Dame was one of the best games all year. Not just in women’s basketball, not just in basketball, but in sports. Period. It had excitement, drama, a comeback, and a heartbreaking finish for one of the best players in the sport. A game like that should dominate sports news for the next week, but it won’t.
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw echoed these sentiments over the weekend, calling for more representation of women in positions of power and in sport. McGraw is absolutely right. We live in a world where the wide majority of power is consolidated to men, but the population does not reflect that drastic discrepancy.
See, the women’s game needs more coverage for more than just basketball. It needs to be a beacon to show young girls who to look up to. It needs to show people that women can be just as skilled or more skilled than men. It needs to show people that the ways of old are fading away and that the world is changing and moving in a new direction.
We should be thanking them because they are doing more than just playing basketball. I am privileged to tell their stories.
By Aidan Wilkins | @AidanJWilkins