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Women's Soccer Gets Attention

November 10, 2009 - Al Stephenson
Her name is Elizabeth Lambert. She is (was) a soccer player for the University of New Mexico. The young lady gave her sport some badly needed attention this week, but not the kind that it deserves.

When Brandi Chastain scored the winning goal in the shootout for the U.S. Women's Soccer team in the World Cup a few years ago, she did what the boys do. She pulled her shirt off, displaying a black sports bra, and the whole country cheered.

The disrobing was done presumably to let people know that women can play sports just like the boys. We are athletes and we are worth watching, the act seemed to say. Personally I think it was the shot that said it all, not the shirt thing. Let's face it though, the mini-strip show didn't hurt TV ratings.

As quickly as women's soccer gained notoriety with Chastain's antics, it lost its allure for many, including me. I am not a soccer fan and until this week I haven't paid much attention to the women's game. I don't pay much more to the men's version, but many people do. Women's soccer though is not a big hit among most sports fans.

This week that changed when the aforementioned Lambert decided to rough up her opponents. In the game between UNM and Brigham Young, Lambert was several times shown being nothing short of a thug. She threw a punch, tripped several opponents and topped things off with a ponytail takedown that was reminiscent of big time wrestling.

The acts gained national attention and under normal circumstances that would be a good thing for a sport. This time however it can't possibly be good for women's soccer.

Lambert suggested that she was sorry for her actions and that she let her emotions get away from her. Emotion could explain one act, but there were so many instances of poor sportsmanship (or to put it more bluntly - dirty plays) that you have to wonder what kind of person she really is.

For sure there is no place in sports for acts such as hers and her indefinite suspension is appropriate.

The view from my seat (not laughing at the zaniness like many others) suggests that women can play sports at a high level. They don't have to prove anything any more.

Play such as Lambert's should never be tolerated - in men's or women's sports.


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