Nancy Lieberman is one of the world’s best femalenplayers but insufficiently talented to make a malenprofessional team. She has no female professional leaguento play in because few spectators are willing to pay tonsee women in a sport that is played so much better bynmen.n22 / CHRONICLESnthey rank among the very best basketball players in thenworld, and because they attract spectators. Nancy Liebermannis one of the world’s best female players but insufficientlyntalented to make a male professional team. She hasnno female professional league to play in because fewnspectators are willing to pay to see women in a sport that isnplayed so much better by men.nTennis is the one sport that is something of an exceptionnto all of this. Women unquestionably attract many morenspectators than their ability would justify. Here the closentalent-attrachon relationship does not apply. If, as may havenhappened for a short period about 12 years ago, the womenncould attract as large a crowd as the men, an irresistiblenargument could be made for equal reward. Today, however,nthe female players do not attract as many spectators, butntheir contribution still exceeds their relative ability.nFor school and college athletics, the situation is muchnmore complicated. However, the complication does notnstem from any problem directiy related to equal reward. Ifnequal reward were the only consideration, a school orncollege could merely field a single team equally open tonboth male and female students. In practice, of course, thenteam would typically be composed entirely of males, butnthis would be a result of nothing more than equal opportunitynand superior male ability. The complication is producednby the ambiguous purposes of college athletics. The opposite,nbut just as fair, alternative to the “one-team” approachnwould be a denial of the educational value of a performance-rewardncriterion, by emphasizing the educationalnFantasianMilitary men are rarely honored innpeacetime, and soldiers who findnthemselves on the wrong side ofnhistory are liable to be subjected tonany indignity. Achilles draggednHector around the walls of Troy butnin the end granted his enemy andecent burial. German soldiers arennot so fortunate, and in Klaus Theweleit’snMale Fantasies, with a forwardnby Barbara Ehrenreich (Minneapolis:nUniversity of MinnesotanPress; $25.00) the reader is treatednto a psychoanalysis of diaries, let-nadvantages of athletic involvement and by spending equalnamounts on all students. This intramural approach betternapproximates other aspects of education (no one suggestsnthat we allocate all educational resources for the best 1npercent of students). But this solution faces two problems:n(1) the public overwhelmingly supports big-time competitionnbetween colleges and between schools; and (2) it isnsuch competition that supports unprofitable varsity teamsn(including women’s varsity teams), junior varsities, freshmannteams, and intramural sports, thereby protecting otherneducational resources from a parasitic drain of funds.nIt is an American belief, as deeply held as it is unverified,nthat participating in athletics improves individuals andnprovides valuable role models for the less-athletically talented.nIt has always seemed to me that athletic participation isnfar more an arena for manifestation of character than for itsnimprovement. Though sports do, to an extent, serve tonimprove character, so do a large number of other experiencesnand enterprises not compromised by the dangers sonevident from a majority of reports on the sports pages.nNonetheless, since those who pay the bills believe in theneducational value of athletics, and since this belief maynconceivably be correct, it does seem only fair that femalenteams be supported—even if that support comes from thenprofitable male teams. The 150-pound football teams fieldednby some colleges provide us with a vaguely analogousnprecedent. But that is no argument whatever for the equalnsupport of women’s teams.nWhat is the principle that justifies our supporting andnrewarding intercollege and interschool teams and competitionsnfor women but not for the large numbers of mennwho—while not sufficientiy talented to make the men’snteams—are more talented than all or some of the womennon the women’s teams? Precisely what is the justification fornhaving a woman’s basketball team but not a basketball teamnof Japanese-American students? Both are made up ofnindividuals who are—for physiological reasons—insufficientiyntalented to make the male varsity, and both arenteams that usually lose, rather than make, money for thentaxpayer.nREVISIONSnters, memoirs, and popular novels,nall of which “prove” that the Freikorpsmennof post-World War I Germanynwere not only a gang of vigilantesnout to suppress the proletariat,nthey also suffered fromnevery sort of libidinal ailment imaginednby Dr. Freud: “Could it be thatnthe soldier’s appetite for love is sonlarge that he can’t suppress it anynlonger when he spies sexual nourishmentnin the form of workingclassngirls? That in place of realnstimulators, he hallucinates the objectnthat always used to make himnsimilarly excited: his own sisternnn(though she is hazy and blurred).nIn that case, the soldier’s attacksnagainst working-class women,ncould be seen to be directed at thenspecter of his sister going aroundnwith another man, as revengenagainst the sister denying himnlove.” Theweleit’s prose is revealinglyneffeminate. Many of the Freikorpsnsoldiers were thugs; othersnwere unemployed veterans acting,nmore or less, as Condottieri, somenwere genuine patriots. Few, if any,ndeserve the necrophiliac attentionsnof Theweleit and Ehrenreich.n