Vanderbilt's Sarah Fuller Makes Her Debut As Kicker; Men Froth at the Mouth

Vanessa Torre

Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur via Pexels

This weekend, Sarah Fuller did what no woman has ever done. She started in a Power 5 football game as Vanderbilt’s kicker. It was a big moment for women in sports. She inspired women and girls the world over. She also made a whole ton of men come utterly unglued.

I saw the kick and it made me proud. A door of possibility was opened and it felt good. The good feeling didn’t last very long.

Later that day, I saw the comments crawl out of dark corners of the internet. I almost let it rob me a little joy.

I can’t, for the life of me, understand what it must feel like to be so angry and threatened by the achievements of a woman that you have to tear her down publicly. It is a level of ego fragility I can’t fathom.

A few highlights in case you missed it:

“You women better not complain when men start playing in women’s sports!”

This is hands down the stupidest comment I read. It is steeped in ignorance. What do women need to be afraid of men playing? Volleyball? Badminton? Ice skating? Those are all sports with existing men’s collegiate teams.

There are two sports in which men actively compete but are not allowed past a certain level. Though there are teams in international competitions, men are barred from competing in the Olympics in synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics.

If there is any man out there that desperately wants to compete at an Olympic level in either of these sports, I would not be upset in the slightest. No, really. I don’t know a woman who would be.

If you’re one such man and reading this, you email me and I will fight the good fight for your Olympic rights. I will wave that flag for you. Let’s do this. I’m serious.

So, no. There is not a massive outcry from women who live in fear that men will take over these sports. I searched all of Twitter for snide comments from women angry at men over the idea of hostile gymnastic takeovers. I got nothing. Just stop. Put it away.

“Gang bang in the locker room! LMAO!”

In case anyone still had a doubt that rape culture was actually a thing, I give you Exhibit A. For the last time, rape jokes are not funny. They are not something to laugh one’s A off over. 

This is exactly what everyone is talking about when we talk about toxic masculinity. This kind of talk is just ugly. It won’t make a man superior no matter how many times he makes the joke. It only makes him sad and pathetic.

There is nothing manly about making a crack about a woman being brutally assaulted. When I see this, I hope to God these men don’t have or never do have daughters. 

If they do, I would strongly challenge them to show that comment to their daughters and then explain to them just why it’s funny. That would never happen. The reason why? Because it’s not funny and everyone knows it.

“What’s the big deal? That kick sucked.”

A 30-yard punt isn’t a record-breaker but let’s consider one thing before we make that judgment. Sarah Fuller had been playing football for less than one week. I’ve seen worse kicks made by grown men who have been playing football their entire lives.

This isn’t a participation trophy being handed out at an 8-year-old’s Pop Warner game. She landed that ball safely where it helped the team. It wasn’t out of bounds. It wasn’t caught and returned. There was no touchdown scored.

Jackie Robinson went hitless in his first game but that doesn’t make his debut less significant. Katherine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in 4 hours and 20 minutes but that doesn’t make her being the first woman with a bib number to run the Boston Marathon less significant either.

I’ve heard enough from armchair kickers hiding behind keyboards. I’m super glad you could kick farther than Sarah Fuller back when you were a freshman with Al Bundy. 

I assume you were busy when Vanderbilt called you to suit up and help out their Covid decimated team. I’m sure they would have left a message but your voice mailbox was full. Make sure you clear that out for next weekend, okay?

A few final thoughts

These comments are nothing more than uneducated crap. They’re juvenile. I can’t understand how someone can type these words, read them back, and then say to himself, “This. This is really good. This is my finest moment.” 

It must be the same part of the brain that tells men it’s still okay to leave the house in denim shorts. Not quite sure, I have a sneaking suspicion.

What is wrong with seeing that something has never been done by someone before, regardless of gender, and celebrating that? Imagine if the reaction to the first man walking on the moon was, “Meh. It’s not like it was Mars. I mean come on.”

The only thing I find amusing about the vast amount of men claiming this was nothing more than the handing out of a participation trophy to some snowflake is the vast about of men I have seen clamor over themselves to pat themselves on the back for doing domestic things like, say, not dying all the clothes pink or washing a dish or anything else a human who has achieved adulthood should be able to do.

When we talk about men doing better, this is what we mean, fellas. Stop acting like 7th graders. It wasn’t funny then and it certainly hasn’t aged well.

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Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, she won’t stop taking pictures of her drinks. IG: vanessaltorre Twitter: @vanessaltorre

Phoenix, AZ

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