Let the Woman Sip Her Tea
Alex Morgan discovered the double standard in women's sports even extends to on field celebrations.
Originally posted on We’re Still Cool’s Medium pub on July 5, 2019
In the world of unimportant things to get outraged over, the latest seems to be aimed at US Women’s Soccer star Alex Morgan. She celebrated scoring a goal in her team’s win over England by doing what comes naturally, sipping tea. Or more correctly she performed an action that was meant to mime sipping tea.
‘Sipping Tea’ comes from an internet meme of Kermit the Frog sipping tea. The tea usually refers to gossip. It is an expression of both disbelief and ‘that’s none of my business’ sarcasm.
Tea is also the national drink of England. Or is the national drink warm beer? I don’t really know. For purposes of this article let’s pretend it is. Alex Morgan’s use of ‘sipping tea’ is meant to poke fun at her rivals. She also did it to invoke the meme and respond to criticism the team has faced. Oh, and of course she had to come up with a better after goal celebration than her teammate Megan Rapinoe. These are the things after goal celebrations are for. Cue the haters. The British coach, Philip Neville, even questioned the US team’s etiquette.
Morgan rightly pointed out that there is a huge double standard in women’s sports when it comes to well just about everything but especially with on-court antics. Whether it’s society or the refs, women aren’t allowed to behave like men. Personally, I think the British coach was simply being a sore loser. The point still remains, women aren’t supposed to act like men on the field. If we want to be able to we have to fight for it.
It’s a fight I’m aware of from my time playing soccer many years ago. The refs called penalties for lesser actions. We can be aggressive just not too aggressive. And don’t even try using bad language on the field. Girls aren’t supposed to drop f-bombs when they play sports. Well, I’m here to tell you they do. Women and girls have adrenaline and emotions that run just as high during games as men and boys. Games are intense when you really want to win. Celebrating, getting aggressive, yelling, it’s all part of sports no matter your gender.
Men of color have had to fight to be allowed to celebrate in some professional leagues, too. I remember when the NFL stood for the ‘No Fun League’. The years when touchdown celebrations were regulated. Just a few years ago the Blue Jays’ former star Jose Batista was criticized for an exuberate bat flip after hitting a home run. Because let’s be real, the patriarchy doesn’t want to see anyone who doesn’t look like them celebrating their accomplishments. That includes women.
It’s the celebrations, the intense aggressive play, and yes even a bit of yelling that make sports fun to watch. It’s what the fans are here for. That and winning. By not allowing women to celebrate or be intense on the field, you are robbing us of the chance to make our sports more exciting. That keeps more people from watching women’s sports.
There was a time not so long ago when women weren’t even encouraged to sweat let alone run around on a field with a ball. We’ve come a long way. At every step, we’ve had to fight for it. Today look how far women have come. That’s certainly worth sipping tea over. All we need is some cake to go with it.