On deserving to win
The Stanley Cup playoffs were a lifetime ago, it feels like, but I thought about something we kept talking about throughout the playoffs when I read about the comments made about Marion Bartoli after her Wimbledon win. Not John Inverdale’s on-air comments, which were asinine, but the ones compiled in this depressing and enraging post here.
Basically, a bunch of idiotic sexist assholes think she didn’t deserve to win because her looks are not pleasing to them.
We used that word a lot during the NHL playoffs.
When there were some amazing close games between two amazing teams, or two not-so-great teams, we said they both deserved to win, or to lose.
When teams lost games despite absolutely dominating their opponents because of an unlucky bounce here or there, we said it was a shame because they really deserved to win.
When lesser teams worked hard, we said they deserved to win, even though they had no hope in hell.
When good teams had to exit early because they were playing against equally good teams, we said they deserved a better fate.
We said Toronto, Detroit, and the New York Islanders deserved better because they scared or even almost eliminated teams that were varying degrees of superior.
We said San Jose deserved better because we kind of would have liked to see them finally win a damn Cup.
We said Pittsburgh didn’t deserve to win because of that whole “loading up at the deadline also why does everything always come up Pittsburgh” thing.
We said the Bruins didn’t deserve to win because of that whole “Jeremy Jacobs is Satan” thing.
Then we all asked if we could just. stop. already. with this whole “deserving to win” thing.
You know what we didn’t say?
We didn’t say teams deserved to win because their players were more attractive than their opponents. We didn’t say teams didn’t deserve to win because their players were ugly.
We talked about how Patrick Sharp is a very handsome man, because he is. We said Zdeno Chara was scary-looking, because he is. We’re not above shallow comments about players’ appearances. We said we would miss Hank’s eyes and Higgy’s abs and that we were glad to see the last of Chris Neil.
But what we didn’t do was assign deservingness (if that’s a word) to players and teams based on their appearances, our opinion on which is pretty subjective to begin with. At least , not in any way that hockey media or mainstream hockey fandom noticed, or that I know of at all.
So why, when a woman wins at Wimbledon, do a huge chunk of people think it’s okay to say she does not deserve it because she is not as attractive as her opponent? When are we going to stop assigning value to women based on their looks, ignoring their accomplishments completely?
To her credit, Bartoli handled it amazingly well. And I dare any one of those sexists to go tell Sabine Lisicki that it’s okay that she lost after getting all the way to the final, because she is more attractive than Bartoli.