Thursday, January 12, 2006

Scrappy boys beat pro women

The US women's Olympic hockey team better hope Canadian female hockey pros are inferior to high school boys or the trip to Turin is going to be disappointing:
The Warroad High School boys' team squeaked out a 2-1 victory over the U.S. Olympic women's hockey team Wednesday.
There are enormous differences between men and women. This is most blatantly obvious in the sports world, where men's sports are faster, harder hitting, and draw exponentially more revenue than women's (The NBA's average salary is $4.5 million compared to the WNBA's $50,000--even stars like Mia Hamm of Olympic fame bring in $60,000 annually, although promotions surely dwarf league salary).

That a group of high school boys could topple the best females in the country show that hockey, in the company of virtually all other physical sports, is a man's game. Men have greater body and muscle mass, lower body fat levels, and higher testosterone and adrenaline levels. Consequently, a relatively skilled man is going to able to beat a female pro much of the time.

Anecdotally, I've been playing recreational coed soccer the last couple of weeks and although I've not played the sport since elementary school, after two weeks I can outplay all the women on the team. A host of special rules keep the game from being dominated by men (men can only touch the ball three times in succession, it must be touched by a female at least once before a goal can be scored, and so forth), which makes coed enjoyable and the women a crucial part of the team. But it is clear that men are, on average, much better equipped for competitive play.

This is intuitive. For 95% of homo sapien's existence, males have been hunters, an activity requiring dexterity, endurance, and strength. This does not come free, however. Males also have a higher cost. They have to eat more to support greater muscle mass and body frames. During lean times when food was scarce, women fared better. Men historically have been more expendable because of propagation concerns (a clan of one man and ten women multiplies a lot faster than does a clan of ten men and one woman) and still today men are more likely to die in accidents and do not live as long as women.

Our evolutionary history is quite relevant today, going along way to explain gender (as well as group) differences. In this case, why men's sports are so much greater a draw than women's and why men require a 50% higher caloric intake than women to function well. The high priests of the egalitarian myth try compensate for human nature's 'failings' with things like Title IX. Instead of paralleling the WNBA with the NBA, however, it has led colleges across the country to drop competitive men's sports like wrestling for various women's activities that do not raise near as much revenue for the school.

(Human biodiversity)

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