The simple joy of sport

Jolyon Maugham QC thought that BBC story about the male rugby player joining a women’s team was just lovely.

How the simple joy of sport can transcend fear and hate. Wonderful reporting.

Mm. Can it also transcend the male physical advantage? The ability to fold a female opponent “like a deck chair”? The risk of injury to opposing players that the male manager treated as a joke? The woman who doesn’t have a place on the team because the man does? Many people asked, but Maugham did not enlighten.

No one – not her, her opponents, her team mates, the sporting regulatory authorities – is complaining in this piece. All are trying, with dignity and care, to adapt to a world that is not binary. A pity some of my respondents are unable to do the same.

Yes, if only we would adapt to men taking women’s places in sport. If only we would adapt to the obvious unfair advantage. If only we would adapt to the risk of injury to women. Why are we so obstinate?

Hadley Freeman asked:

She’s going to be a good player, as long as we can stop her injuring players in training.” I guess all those injured female players should transcend their pain by celebrating the joy of sport, right?

Maugham declined to care:

You missed out that that (explicitly) was a joke. And that she is friends with the only person at the wrong end of a size advantage she can do nothing about. And that she feels guilty about her size but can do nothing about it.

I wonder who, and what, you are arguing for?

That’s easy. Women. What is Maugham arguing for? Men displacing women.

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