by The Professor
SOUTH FLORIDA – The Reggae Girlz unprecedented run in the Women’s World Cup came to an end Tuesday morning (EST). No nation with a population as small as Jamaica’s (2.8 million) had ever advanced as far as the Jamaican ladies did. The Reggae Boyz, at their only appearance in the World Cup (arguably the world’s second biggest sporting event behind the Olympics) secured a victory but failed to advance past the group stage. The first goal that they conceded from tournament’s outset, proved to be costly, as they were able to overcome the 1-0 deficit. The Girlz had several promising opportunities, however they were unable to put the ball in the back of the net.
They deserve great commendation for their efforts, especially in the face of very austere circumstances. They will be recognized in South Florida in October of this year. Hopefully, this designation will help to bolster the fan base and will attract some financial assistance from their supporters. One should try to remember or familiarize themself with the names of the players. Some of them play in England and other foreign countries professionally. Several ply their trade in the USWL (United States Women’s League). Jody Brown and others are in the midst of collegiate careers. The youngest, Solai Washington, will presumably start her senior year of high school late, as school has already resumed in Atlanta, GA.
The lack of support for women’s sports, especially in comparison to the support the men enjoy, is GLARING. This phenomenon is not unique to Jamaican society. A popular Brazilian restaurant in South Florida boast 250 to 300 patrons at their football viewing parties. When the Brazilian men’s team is playing in the World Cup, there are big screen TVs, djs, lots of liquor, and many Brazilian enthusiasts clad in blue, green, and yellow. Conversely, the last time the women’s World Cup played in 2019, a trip to the restaurant’ allowed one to observe maybe 25 patrons eating lunch. There was no enthusiasm, no fanfare, no supporters in Brazilian Regalia, no game on. Apparently, the staff of the restaurant was unaware that their women’s national side were playing at that moment.
Women’s sports across the world are underscored and underfinanced. Our Reggae Girlz remain undeterred and unmoved in spite of the efforts of some to undermine. These Girlz are indeed bucking one of the biggest trends in Jamaica right now. In Jamaica many people ah DRIFT (are drifting) and a “frig up een ya”.
The Reggae Girlz remain focused on proudly representing their country, uplifting themselves, and uniting under the banner of Women’s Football. Be not dismayed that many of the players are foreign born (to Jamaican parents or descended from Jamaican grandparents). They are all JAMAICAN citizens.
Commentators at the World Cup were very quick to point out all of the teams’ players with U.S. affiliations (place of birth, place of school, place of residence). Conversely, had said players been criminals it is quite certain that they would not be referred to as “U.S. citizens having ties with Jamaica.” It is reminiscent of Canada’s love hate affair with Ben Johnson. Ben Johnson was a “Canadian citizen with ties to Jamaica” when he was running well. After it was discovered that he had indeed engaged in performance enhancing drugs, Canada was quick to distance themself from him. Subsequently, Johnson became a “Jamaican, residing in Canada”. Let us call it” Ben Johnson Syndrome”.
The REGGAE GIRLZ NEED and more importantly, are DESERVING of our support. South Florida should aggregate en masse in October and support them, on their impending visit. The visit could arguably be called a “victory tour”. Irrespective of the fact that they will not win this year’s edition of the tournament, they are indeed winners. In the meantime, continue watching the Women’s World Cup, until its conclusion, the women need our support! Don’t forget about the Sunshine Girlz, who are dominating the netball courts.