Wednesday, June 29, 2022

FEM 2022--Syndicate: Endgame

Servus Syndicate Members,

Well, my dearest friends. This is well and truly it. 

Our final journey together. One last time to convene under the banner of "you'll never watch alone". The final international tournament covered by "Shadow Scholar Syndicate".

I find it most fitting that we end with the girls. Though watching what remains unequivocally "the Greatest Show on Earth" take place in Qatar in three months time is still recommended, there's a much more important point to be made by ending the blog here. 

The writer would prefer to make his final statement in this voice about women's football; much more so than writing about a second consecutive tournament hosted by a country with a questionable human rights record. Don't worry. We won't be getting preachy or sententious. We'll also keep it short. 

I promise. 


The women's game. Such an amazing history. Such a tenuous recent past and present.

Readers of this blog need no reminder of how enthralling it is to watch the women's game. Though I've admittedly covered it with varying levels of maturity, this will be the fifth female tournament that we've watched together. 

Anyone who loves playing the beautiful game doesn't need any reminders either. Practically every last one of us play or have played co-ed. Whether it's on a full pitch, indoors, or an impromptu short-field pick-up scrimmage with accuracy goals, we've all shared the pitch with members of the opposite sex. 

There simply isn't another sport in the world in which deep respect exists across gender lines. In truth, one will be hard pressed to find a male football enthusiast who doesn't support women's football. Online trolling, both of the sexist and woefully immature "call-out" variety, vastly misrepresents the reality. 

Why then, are we discussing a sport that barely survived the global pandemic? Three years ago, whilst introducing the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, we discussed in detail the various stop-start attempts to keep a women's professional league going in the United States. 

Four World Championships for the USWNT. Three professional domestic leagues. Two folded almost immediately. One barely scraped past COVID thanks to private investors. The NWSL remains afloat, but may never operate at a profit. 

The girls require some assistance. 

How might we furnish it? 

The bookie has zero qualms about conceding what doesn't make a difference. That includes this blog. Nothing about it advances the sport. As deeply researched and committed as it is, the women actually don't need any help with their international tournaments. Those generate enough interest. 

The tournament we're about to share together will feature many sold-out stadiums. So too shall next Summer's World Cup. Broadcast records will be set. Everyone's happy to tune into the women when they don national colors. Such an event sells itself. 

The saddest part, for those of us who genuinely love the sport at least, takes place after the big flag-waving festivals come to an end. After a brief surge in interest, the girls will be playing before empty stands again before too long. Therein lies the straightforward answer to the question posed above.

Just buy a ticket. That's all there is to it. FC Barcelona Ladies supporters did it this season, packing the Camp Nou with nearly 92,000 to watch both the Women's Champions' League quarterfinals and semi-finals this year. Yes, both of those totals smashed the previous record set at the Rose Bowl for the World Cup Final in 1999. 

Just buy a ticket. There we have it. Your friendly bookie promised to keep it short and to-the-point, did he not? No half-baked "virtue signaling". No shaming. No overt attempt (ever!) to amass God-knows whatever dopamine-driven "like" emojis on social media channels. All that's recommended is to buy at least one ticket to a women's club match this coming season. 

That's a little something we all can do, wherever we live in the world and however busy we find ourselves. Turning out to watch a women's domestic league game in person isn't a chore, either. It's a genuinely fun experience. Trust the bookie on that. Take a few kids with you and you've multiplied that ticket into three or four.

You've also given them an experience they'll always treasure.

Just buy a ticket. That's really all there is to say. 

Finally time to start delving into the football, friends. As we set off on our final chapter, here's a link to the wager rules for those very few who still like to lay money on the line. In the even that anyone missed this year's dedication, I'll enclose a link to that as well.

Now comes the fun part. Sixteen countries in our last tournament. Let's share some uplifting times together. 



--S.S. PJW