Big Girls Don’t Cry?

This is going to be a little more topical than I usually get, but it’s one of those rare instances where I feel strongly enough about something to risk it. Warning! Actual current events and stuff ahead! Plus opinions!

Yesterday the US women’s hockey team played Canada in the final game to determine who got gold and who got silver medals in Sochi. In the last few minutes of the game the Americans lost their 2-1 lead and ended up in overtime, where they lost. They were really, really bummed. Most of them looked upset during the (immediately-following-the-game) medal ceremony. Some of them visibly cried, wiping their eyes on their jerseys as they accepted second place. This morning there was discussion on ever morning show  I watched about whether or not these women were “poor sports” because they weren’t jumping for joy over their silver medals.

Let me answer that question in one word: No.

You know who else cries when they lose? MALE ATHLETES. Tom Brady crying has it’s own Tumblr. Peyton Manning looked sad and upset all through his (horribly played) Super Bowl game this year. And while some people may make fun of them (oh noes, men don’t cry!) they certainly don’t act like being upset over losing a sporting event is somehow unreasonable. And no one ever tells the loser of the Super Bowl “Hey, you should be THRILLED with second place!”

But in women’s sports, we often focus more on playing nice than winning. And even if you do win, don’t think about celebrating it too loudly. That’s unlady-like and you might hurt the other team’s feelings. You should just be proud of doing your best.

Excuse me, but f**k that. Being a poor sport is refusing to shake the winning team’s hand. Or walking out of the award ceremony. Or cheating, which is something that happens all the time in pro (spoken: men’s) sports. Or swearing and shouting at the other team. Being sad you lost in the minutes RIGHT AFTER your loss is human. This was the Olympic games. The LAST chance some of these women will get to play with their whole country cheering for them – or even play in a widely televised game because last time I checked the NHL didn’t include many ladies.

If it was my daughter on that rink I would have been crying right along with her. I want both my children to know they’re allows to feel upset or sad and that there’s no shame in expressing those emotions in reasonable ways. Throwing your helmet? Breaking your stick? Hitting people? (Alllll of which happens in football almost on a weekly basis…)  Not OK. Crying because you’re disappointed in your own performance? TOTALLY OK. The American team’s sadness has nothing to do with the Canadian team’s joy. I’ve seen or read absolutely zero interviews where any of the US women’s team talked about anything beyond their dedication to the sport and how proud they are of making it the Olympics.

This morning my daughter cried because her flashlight stopped working. I told her I understood her feelings and hugged her and told her we could look for some new batteries. I certainly didn’t ridicule her or call her a poor sport. A few minutes later I cried when a shelf in the kitchen collapsed, shattering half my dishes and scaring me out of my mind. Luckily there was no one here to tell me to suck it up because at least the other half of my dishes was OK. Emotions are complicated, sometimes unwelcome, and often impossible to control. Think about the last time you cried and whether or not you would want that broadcast worldwide for everyone to judge on the occasion’s worthiness and how sportsman-like it seems.

Good job, ladies of the US Olympic hockey team. I’m proud of you and I wish I could give you a hug.

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10 Responses to “Big Girls Don’t Cry?”

  1. Sarah says:

    Totally agreed. It is NOT poor sportsmanship to have feelings/be disappointed. Isn’t the whole point of the game to try your hardest to win?

    Also, I’m really glad no one was hurt in your kitchen – if half my dishes were shattered, I would cry too.

  2. Thank you for saying everything I couldn’t. This has been on my mind since the Ladies Short Skate Wednesday night. Scott Hamilton made a comment that the girls who cried after a particularly disappointing short skate performance were the ones who were guaranteed to fall apart and not medal after the free skate. While I normal love Scott, I wanted to yell a big “f**k you” to him through my TV.

    I have wanted to cry more times than I can count after a bad performance, not limited to an athletic event either…job, school, and social performances all get lumped into the “moments I want to cry” category. I can guarantee you Scott definitely wanted to cry after a few of his bad skating performances but didn’t because it wasn’t socially acceptable for a man to do so.

    Guess what, it’s my life and I’ll cry if I want to.

  3. Alena says:

    We’ve talked about this at length in the last 24 hours.

    But I want to say again I think it’s shameful to judge these ladies for being devastated at the loss of a game they’ve worked their whole lives to get to play. The game for gold was a dream that they lost. Silver, in this case, isn’t winning. Winning in that game was gold – losing was silver. Period. It’s like saying it’s an honor to be nominated – sure but it still sucks to lose. And on a scale of the F’CKING OLYMPICS it’s going to be a loss that haunts them for a long time. So go ahead and cry ladies. I hope that the players that did take gold had more class than what I’ve seen on TV and online – that they were gracious winners.

  4. This is so well said. So true.

    However, I have to admit, because I’m an honest commenter, I was one of those people. My gut response was, omg, what is happening here? I mean, I got the emotional feelings, and I had no problem w. them crying, but I didn’t understand. I kept saying, okay, maybe at the closing ceremonies they’ll feel “prouder” of themselves, maybe?

    But oops – I didn’t realize until after it ended that the game had JUST ended. They had JUST lost. I stumbled across the ceremony and was sad for them. I was heartbroken and was okay with them crying and whatnot, but I was like it’s SILVER!! Come on!! I just wanted the smallest of pride in what they had accomplished because I felt so awesome for them. And then, well, I “got it”. So no wonder they were heartbroken. It makes sense, of course. I mean, if your dream of Olympic gold just got scooped out from under you – wouldn’t you cry, too? I sure as hell would.

    So – thanks for this. I hope you don’t think badly of me for my initial response. I promise it wasn’t as bad as some of this stuff you’re mentioning. Because – yikes!

    • bebehblog says:

      No judgement at all from me! Out of context it looks like they were crying over a medal, which seems a little ungrateful – medals are great! Winning a silver in any other event is a huge honor. But it was a one-shot game for gold vs silver. They LOST for that medal and that has to hurt in the moment. I’m sure when they come home in a few days and start the inevitable press tour where they’ll be questioned over and over and over about their sad faces they’ll express a ZILLION times how proud they are of that silver medal.

  5. Barbra says:

    Thanks for this, I wholeheartedly agree. Having the awards ceremony right after was too much. They deserved 20 minutes to decompress and mourn their loss in private before being put on stage for the entire world.

  6. Kimberly says:

    I’m totally with you. I’m a cryer- even more so now- so I am overly sensitive to people being bullied because they cry. One of the best parts of watching the Olympics for me is the pure emotions we get to witness, and I feel it right along with them. They’ll have to live with the results of that game for the rest of their lives; the last thing they should be dealing with is ridicule over being sad about it.
    As an aside- one of my (many) seemingly irrational fears is that my cabinets will fall off the wall, breaking all of my stuff. It actually happened to an old neighbor in an apartment building I lived in a long time ago, and ever since then I question the weight of every dish I put away and secretly wish I could ask Keith to reinforce whatever is holding the cabinets to the wall without sounding like a crazy lady.

  7. Meg says:

    I so agree. They worked SO hard and got SO close. I’d be bawling, too. They ARE proud to have medalled and to have made it to the Gold medal game. But in that moment, they were so devastated to have lost, and should be allowed that.

  8. sarrible says:

    There’s a long history of silver-medal winners being upset (way more than bronze medalists, who are just so thrilled to be on the podium!). Slate did an interesting piece on it yesterday—there’s one Russian wrestler who looks like he wants to shoot the gold medalist. It seems harder in a sport like hockey (or curling, judo, soccer, basketball) where there’s a separate game for bronze, as opposed to a race or a judged sport. In that situation, when you get silver, that other team/person just beat you, personally, and only you. It has to hurt more.

  9. Julie S. says:

    I didn’t see it this way until I read this, but I totally agree now. I think the media was making a WAY bigger deal of them getting visibly upset, and that definitely didn’t help!

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