I just finished reading Kathleen Parker’s piece in the WPOST today about the hot water President Obama has gotten himself into with his basketball games that are men only. I find a great deal of what Parker says compelling especially when she states…
Obama’s basketball game, thus, has become a convenient metaphor for an inconvenient truth. Generally speaking, guys prefer to play ball with other guys, just as women prefer to form book clubs with other women. That’s not because women don’t like men (and vice versa) but because when relaxing, women mostly want to drink wine together. And talk about men. I don’t know what men do on the basketball court that is so compelling, but they apparently need it, and I don’t.
On the other hand, I also find it frustrating being a professional woman and not having the same access as male colleagues. I experienced this a bit myself a number of years ago when my husband was playing a weekly basketball game in Washington DC. Many of the men he played with were journalists and every now and then an occassional Congressman or Senator would play with them. I was so jealous the day he came home and had played ball with Bill Bradley! And, while he no longer plays with the same guys I just bumped into a friend who told me David Axelrod drops by the game every now and then. For my husband this means nothing. For me, a consultant working in DC having that kind of opportunity to just introduce myself to Axelrod would be amazing.
So while I don’t want to fault the president for his guy-only games, I am a bit frustrated (and some days angry) that it is still much harder for women to gain access to people of power than it is for men. Perhaps, Parker offers the best advice in her piece:
…women peeved by the president’s perceived masculine insularity might benefit from my father’s advice when, as a young girl, I complained about life’s unfairness. “Don’t complain about the game,” he said. “Learn the game and play it better.” There’s more than one way to score a point, in other words, and history has never suggested women are unclever.
I just wish I could figure out what game that would be. What do the MTs think?