Balancing Act: We Love Rage In Sports — Unless It’s From A Woman. Just Ask Serena Williams

By Heidi Stevens
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Is it unacceptable or unladylike for a woman to express anger? Columnist Heidi Stevens takes a look at what happened with Serena Williams over the weekend.

Chicago Tribune

The lovable bad boy has no female equivalent.

We haven’t, historically, made room in our hearts for women who are reckless. Quick-to-anger. Irrepressible and unpredictable.

We have shunned those women. We have scolded those women. We have diminished those women.

We have not celebrated them.

They offer us nothing we need. Nothing we crave. Nothing that comforts us. They terrify us.

Bad boys, we love.

They’re dark and brooding and fearless and misunderstood and should not, of course, be expected to play by the rules. They’re larger than rules. They’re larger than life.

We watch them in awe. We’re lucky to bear witness.

Nowhere is this truer than in sports, where we expect to lay eyes on superhuman strength and endurance housed in bodies on the brink, at any moment, of combustion.

Rage? Rage is fine. From men, we get it.

If that means shrugging our shoulders at the alarming rates of domestic violence in the NFL, so be it.

If that means joking that you bought tickets to a fight and a hockey game broke out, eh. That’s the NHL for you.

If that means the occasional bench-clearing brawl in baseball, what can you do?

If that means Andre Agassi, who once asked an umpire, “Are you bull—–ing me?” yelled the F-word, muttered “son of a b—-” and spit at his opponent’s foot, is labeled a “rebel” and handed a Canon contract … well, you knew where I was going with this.

Tennis is filled with bad boys. Agassi. John McEnroe. Jimmy Connors. Benoit Paire. Andy Roddick.

They scream. They swear. They spit. They kick. They break racket after racket after racket. They get slapped with the occasional fine. Or not.

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