Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This Story is Nuts!

I can’t imagine anything that would be more embarrassing than being asked to take a gender verification test. South African runner Caster Semenya has been asked to do just that, since she has shown rapid, significant (and thus suspicious) improvement in her performance as of late. Given these improvements, and the fact that she is involved in track and field, aren’t performance enhancing drugs a more likely explanation than a questionable gender? Occum’s Razor would lead us to that conclusion. So I feel bad for her, and I hope that it turns out that she is a woman who happens to be good at her sport. I have no quarrel with her, but as you might imagine, this article got me thinking, and mockery will now ensue.

What really strikes me as odd about this story is the line “IAAF spokesman Nick Davies says the ‘extremely complex, difficult’ test has been started but the results were not expected for several weeks.” Really? How difficult and complex could such a test be? Isn’t this as simple as distinguishing between snatch and cock and balls? Shouldn’t such a test take like 5 seconds? “Yeah Jerry, she pulled her pants down. It’s definitely a sniz – I don’t see any twig and berries. Check off female on the form.” Done.

I’ve been wracking my brain for other athletes who might need gender verification tests, and none really come to mind. There are some strange specimens to be sure, like Amelie “Hank” Mauresmo, a rather masculine-looking female tennis player, some of the Chinese “women” gymnasts from the Beijing Olympics who were too young to have gender development and/or were extra-terrestrials, and the Cold War era East German “Female” Swim Team. I also thought of Mrs. Doubtfire and a he/she who works at a Tim Hortons nearby, but they don’t really qualify as athletes. There are however, quite a few athletes who need some sort of manliness verification test, which is perhaps a subset of the gender verification test, which may explain why the test is so complicated and time-consuming. So I’ve got no new candidates for gender verification, but check out the weird stuff about these dudes I discuss below.

Let’s start with Habs centre Tomas Plekanec. On the surface, beyond a penchant for wearing turtlenecks he doesn’t arouse any suspicion. However, during the 2008 playoffs after a couple of losses to the Boston Bruins, Turtlepleks was quoted "The last two games, I played like a little girl out there. I didn't respond the way I liked." Aha! Maybe he should take a gender verification test to see if he is actually a little girl. His performance during the 2008-2009 season leads me to believe that he is a little girl, or perhaps a zombie as proposed by Four Habs Fans.

While we are talking about the Habs, let’s not forget Ryan O’Byrne, and his involvement in “Pursegate” in early 2008. Ryno is a developing (read: crappy) defenseman, and we only forget about his fondness for fine feminine leather goods because he shot (and scored on) the Habs empty net last season. But recall the incident from February 2008 in which O’Byrne was arrested outside a South Tampa night club. A woman lost track of her purse, and later spotted O’Byrne holding it while waiting outside the night club. She promptly called the police. Does the desire to collect women's handbags mean that he should take a gender verification test? Of course it doesn’t. But something isn’t right with this dude.

Keeping with the purse theme, perhaps you remember this historically accurate, unaltered photo of Alex Rodriguez from the 2004 ALCS. With one out and Derek Jeter on first base in the bottom of the eighth inning, A-Rod hit a slow roller between the pitcher's mound and the first base line. Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo fielded the ball and ran towards Rodriguez to apply a tag. As Arroyo reached towards him, Rodriguez swatted at his glove, knocking the ball loose. As the ball rolled away, Jeter scored all the way from first as Rodriguez took second on the play, which was initially ruled an error on Arroyo. However, the umpires quickly huddled, then ruled that Rodriguez was out for interference. Jeter was sent back to first base, his run nullified. This incident lead to many referring to him as a ‘pussy’, or ‘bitch’ which seems reasonable given that he carries his purse with him during baseball games. Again a gender verification test is not necessary, but this was a d-bag move. As much as I don’t really like A-Rod, I dislike Jeter even more (that might make a good blog post!) and I am continually mystified as to how the media treats him like he’s Jean Frickin' Beliveau.

A more likely candidate for gender verification would be current Toronto Maple Leaf Tomas Kaberle, who despite being 31 years old, has never, ever shaved. This clearly indicates a lack of testosterone and an excess of estrogen. So maybe this guy should get tested. I’d say that we should wait to see if he can grow a playoff beard, but he plays for the Leafs, so that ain’t happening.

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