USWNT Getting Heat For Scoring Goals And Celebrating Joyfully At A World Cup

The USWNT defeated Thailand 13-0 on Tuesday, making actual analysis of the game about as meaningful as discussing who won the big fight between the ice cube and the Sun. So we quickly moved on to one of the great, redundant bits of virtue signaling in sports — the argument over “running up the score.” 

The big inquest into the ethical consequences of bulging the old onion bag too many times was triggered around the 79th minute, when Megan Rapinoe put the U.S. up 9-0 and then celebrated by spinning in circles before generating fart noises with her kneepit. 

Many people did not like that, especially our northern neighbors.

But that shame wasn’t only limited to Canada. Some prominent American voices also felt it was all a bit much …

Those voices of dissent — like always — served to start a Twitter shitstorm, but they were largely drowned out by more sensible, less constantly outraged people.

As much as I get the sentiment behind “if it’s a men’s game, is the same question asked?” the answer, unfortunately, is yes. That strange brigade of people that feel like athletes who dedicate their lives to playing a sport can’t get beaten badly in said sport without being owed an apology frequently makes its marginal voice heard regardless of the gender.    

But what you realize is that it’s generally not a criticism of the act of scoring a lot itself, but rather a distaste for one team simply being far too good. These criticisms don’t follow something completely unexpected, like Germany’s remarkable 7-1 semifinal victory over Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.

On the men’s side of things, the New England Patriots are criticized for running it up. Alabama shows a lack of respect for pummeling teams. Manchester City is vilified for crushing the lil' guys. The USWNT is simply in a league of its own, and for those who are innately drawn to the underdog, it smacks of the need for a hubristic downfall.

There can be no qualms with wanting the giants of the game to be on the receiving end of an upset. That’s a great sporting drama being realized. We largely watch this ball roll around just for that. 

But instead of saying “oh God! Young players are watching,” (do you really think young people will be tainted by seeing athletes act joyful? A child’s daily existence is one long reenactment of that Rapinoe celebration) just say what you really mean: You’re tired of the USWNT’s dominance, and you want them to lose. It’d bring you a USWNT-forming-a-conga-line-following-goal-13 sort of joy.  

You can say that; that’s OK. But leave all the bullshit virtue signaling and smug posturing to social media. Oh.   

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