By not being critical, we render praise meaningless
Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30
Here's a thought. Few things in life would irk me more than performing below my abilities and receiving disingenuous compliments afterwards. The initial disappointment mixed with the patronising is a dirty cocktail.
Weirdly, despite our best intentions, it is a position we put a lot of our female sportspeople in. This point came up on Sunday's show during our review of the sports pages.
TV3's Sinéad Kissane referenced something Fiona Coughlan had said on return from the last rugby World Cup. Ireland famously beat the All Blacks in the pool stages before under-performing horribly in the knock-out defeat to England. Coughlan was somewhat taken aback at the complete absence of criticism. There were lots of 'Aren't ye great' type reactions.
Broadly speaking, a culture of non-analysis has developed around a lot of female field sports, both here and in the UK. People are so keen to promote female sport and encourage it that any criticisms feel unfair or overly damaging.
A key component of successful modern-day sport is the discussion around it. Too often, and I've probably been guilty of it myself; we talk about male sport differently. In short, we're more critical.
The key point of course is that there is a distinct difference between criticising aspects of a sport and dismissing it completely. If a game was awful, we should say it was awful.
If skill levels weren't good enough, we should say they weren't good enough. If certain players aren't fit, we should say they aren't fit. By not criticising, we render deserved praise meaningless.
Maybe it's a tricky area. Trevor Hogan was on the Sunday panel too and felt the optics of a male analyst blasting female sports are sensitive.
Perhaps that's true. But it's something we should try and get over soon.
Otherwise we're still not taking female sport seriously.