You may have heard that a Louisville Cardinals player, Kevin Ware, recently broke his leg in a particularly gruesome fashion during his team’s NCAA Tournament game against Duke. As you can imagine, this led to people talking about it incessantly (I heard: “did you see that dude break his leg?” from virtually everyone I’ve encountered this week), and writing establishments (like ours) writing things about the injury, because people want to read about it. There are even Kevin Ware t-shirts.
Most of the writing was focused on wishing him well, updating his status, or moral grandstanding on whether outlets should be sharing the graphic video. But one writer, Xazmin (great name, by the way) Garza, from the Las Vegas Review-Journal had the strangest sports take of any sports take I have consumed in quite some time. The headline is inflammatory, and I dived into the article expecting to be offended, as a male sports fan.
Steely women would’ve rushed to comfort injured teammate
First of all, “Steely women.” I already don’t know what is going on.
“What are you trying to say?” I thought. “Men don’t care about their teammates? All of the players were horrified. They were crying and vomiting out of shock and despair. One teammate actually did rush to comfort him. Seriously, what are you about to say?”
It turns out, I wasn’t offended, but I was left befuddled. It is the most befuddling column I have ever read. It opens as such:
In the movie “Steel Magnolias,” which is based on a true story, Sally Field’s character M’lynn recalls the moment doctors pulled the plug on her comatose daughter Shelby. She stayed in the room as her daughter left the world, M’lynn tells her friends, but Shelby’s father couldn’t do it, nor could her husband. Too hard to watch.
“I find it amusing,” she says. “Men are supposed to be made out of steel or something.”
I was reminded of that classic movie scene while watching what will undoubtedly become a classic sports scene. Had it been a women’s basketball team watching its teammate wail in pain on the sidelines, I suspect the reaction to the already-infamous Louisville injury would’ve played out much differently.
His teammates saw his bone had broken skin, and immediately turned away. A few fell to the floor. Players on the Louisville bench covered their faces with towels and leaned their bodies in the opposite direction of the mangled leg.
They were shaken, clearly, by their teammate’s horrific injury. But, with one exception, the only people who rushed to Ware’s side were those paid to do it.
I believe that’s protocol, the training staff rushing to assist an injured player, while teammates and fans let the experts do their thing. The onlookers simply hope or pray.
Let’s imagine for a moment that Kevin was Kate and her teammates wore sports bras.
Let’s not. (Though it seems there’s precedent).
The first instinct for most female athletes would have been to help, no matter how unsettling the dangling ankle. Coaches likely would have had to ask players to back up to give their teammate room.
Um, maybe? How would you know that, exactly? And what is your point? This also sounds dangerous, getting in the way of the trainers.
That’s what happened in 2009, when American female sprinter Muna Lee fell during a relay at the world track and field championships in Berlin. Her teammates crouched next to her as trainers saw to the source of her screams. Lee’s teammates even followed the gurney that rolled her away, despite officials’ aggressive efforts to stop them.
It appears Muna Lee injured her hamstring in fairly common fashion. It was sad, because it was a big race and it’s sad when people get hurt. I don’t understand how recalling one instance of females rushing to an injured teammates relates to some sort of criticism or social observation of males not rushing to their gruesomely-injured teammate.
The point is, Louisville players didn’t rush to Ware either out of shock, inability to look, or the fact that they didn’t want to impede the professionals from doing their job. I don’t know if women would have reacted differently, and I’m not sure why it is a question being asked.
I realize an injured teammate with no bones waving “hello” is different than Ware’s injury. But, the real difference should only come down to reaction time. Shock will, undoubtedly, delay the process.
What does this mean? Is there a point in here?
According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, cheerleading is the most dangerous women’s sport. In terms of the most serious injuries, in men’s or women’s sports, it’s second only to football.
I can’t imagine a squad of girls whose sport revolves around heightening spirits not rushing to their fallen teammate, no matter how gruesome her injury. I can’t imagine them wanting to do anything but hold her hand and offer words of encouragement.
Whether on the court of life or sport, women tend to suck it up in the midst of tragedy and come to the aid of those who need them.
She gave one example that didn’t fit her weird argument, and then just says she “can’t imagine” girls not reacting as she expects, without giving an example. The last sentence is really, really bizarre, and while I’m not necessarily offended, I don’t understand what is being said.
For any male readers feeling offended right about now, rolling up sleeves to fire off an angry email, do us both a favor. Don’t send the email and don’t feel offended.
This isn’t criticism. This is observation. Don’t think of it as an umpire calling you out. Think of it as an announcer calling it how she sees it.
I DON’T THINK I’M OFFENDED BUT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT
I don’t take issue with the way Louisville reacted to Ware’s injury. I, for one, was deeply touched by it. The tears, the anguish, the bodies collapsing at the sight of their teammate’s tragic injury. That was a beautiful display of camaraderie.
OK SO WHAT WAS THE POINT OF YOUR COLUMN
There’s no right or wrong way to react to a teammate’s broken bone hatching from his leg on a basketball court. But there is a man’s way and there is a woman’s way. At the end of the game, it’s about what works best for the team.
Considering Louisville followed Ware’s last wishes to them and beat Duke, 85-63, it looks like they handled things just fine.
“There is a man’s way and there is a woman’s way.” What?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the one teammate who left the bench and kneeled next to Ware as trainers tended to him. I know nothing about No. 11, Luke Hancock, but as he laid his hand on Ware’s chest and spoke to him, I was pretty sure we were looking at the most sensitive dude on the team.
When Hancock stood up and inched his way to Ware, he proved some men really are made of steel. Some men are as strong as women.
I don’t get it, are men bad and woman good? Are both bad? But everyone is OK but some men are strong and some women I DON’T GET IT.
Not a single sentence in this column accomplished anything, and I am so confused right now. If you can decode this column, please feel free to do so in 140 characters or less, if that’s possible.
Note: Sorry for the picture at the top.
Terrifying photo via