The Marine Park Bocce Ball Club is a microcosm of good, old fashioned mid-20th century sexism as its members—made up of retirees in Marine Park, Brooklyn—are actively trying to keep their court all male because "women are inferior."
But actually, it has more to do with the men's desire to want to act like animals, which they don't feel they could do in front of the gals, with one 65-year-old Bocce player, Ralph Florio, telling The New York Times:
I want to be able to scratch myself, curse and play like the barbarian I am. Give me one court and leave me alone.
Apparently, the club is facing an election for a new president, and one of the candidates is running wants to recruit more members to vary competition and help fix up the courts. But the core members—referred to by some in the community as "the big boys" who are accused of being something of bullies to the women who play on other courts—hate that idea. And they have their reasons.
You can’t put women with advanced players. It takes away the competition. That’s what I play for, the competition and the camaraderie.
I’m not saying women are inferior, but they’re inferior players…Also, men inherently use blue language. It happens. With women you have to mind your p’s and q’s, which is hard to do in the heat of a game. So I discriminate. Sue me.
Women, Mr. Cohen said, do not have the strength or stamina and “play for the sake of playing the game; they don’t play strategically.”
As 88-year-old Nancy Coletti explains it, the men are just sexist, plain and simple.
They want to be macho…They want to keep us in the kitchen, sewing, cooking, dressmaking. We’re too old for them to keep us pregnant. They get bossed by women at home, so they want to be macho here.
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