A morning of tough women

I’m sitting at a café/pizza joint in my neighborhood that I have long been meaning to drop in on, but until now I never have. Today was the day, though, as it had one key attribute that no other place had. It was open. It’s a pleasant place indeed, with nice music playing, good ventilation, and a very pleasant staff. My pesto was yummy and reasonably cheap, as well. Overall, a nice place to be on a Saturday morning.

There is a television in here, and I made the mistake of sitting facing it. Yesterday I had had an urge to watch sports on TV, and here was a TV playing sports. On first was the Women’s Field Hockey World Cup match between Germany and India. It was fun to watch, and I can say that field hockey does indeed qualify as a real sport. India led 1-0 at the half, but Germany’s better ball control carried the day, and a goal with little time left on the clock gave them a 3-2 victory. It was a scrappy game, and hard-fought. I haven’t the slightest idea whether I was watching contenders or also-rans.

Next up, and playing right now, are the wrestling world championships. It took me a match or two before I realized that I was watching the women’s matches, but there you have it. I can now offer expert gambling advice for anyone out there looking to wager on women’s wrestling: bet on the woman in red. I’ve seen perhaps ten matches, and blue has emerged victorious exactly once.

It was interesting to watch as the Japanese 51kg contestant beat the crap out of her Canadian opponent for the gold and then cried like a schoolgirl. She is a schoolgirl, so it shouldn’t be too shocking, but the transition from killer athlete to human was fun to watch. During the medals ceremony (US took bronze, along with a Russian — they give away bronzes like candy at this event) the award-hander-outer approached, followed by a train of silk-clad bearers. Hander-outer put the tournament medal around her neck, then awarded her the world championship belt. Then he gave her a leather folder with a certificate of some sort, and a box with an unknown object. While she was juggling these things he handed her a bouquet of flowers and to top it off a crystal vase. Then the award-hander-outer offered his hand in congratulations. This girl, overcome with emotion, who had bowed politely and humbly with each and every trophy presented her, managed to find a hand for this guy to shake. This is a time when you would think that a Chinese man congratulating a Japanese with her hands completely full would recognize that a sincere bow might be a better gesture.

Ah, well. Today’s action is over, I believe, a sweep by the Japanese (the only blue-clad winner was Japanese). By the time they got to the 59kg class, there was definitely a few wrestlers whose gender was by no means obvious. The hander-outer shook the hands of the other winners before loading them down with trinkets, and tonight the twenty-seven Japanese who follow women’s wrestling will be celebrating. And I? I will be repairing to another venue, one with electricity readily available and no sports on television.

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