Whoever thought of those little airline peanuts should patent cruelty. You’re both able and prepared to go five hours without eating, but that’s before a tightly-dressed flight attendant hands you a metallic packet, the contents of which is guaranteed to make you feel hungrier than ever before.
Lilliputian snacks and close proximity to foreign body odor aside, if you’re young and fit then flying economy really doesn’t really offer that much to complain about. For the women of Japan’s Olympic soccer team, though, their ire at doing so is understandable.
Last year, they won the FIFA Women’s World Cup beating the US in the final. They travel to the London 2012 as a gold medal favorite.
This did not spare them the walk of shame.
In economy, you board last, allowing some in business class to judge your canvas sneakers and comfy sweater. Normally no big deal as strangers only be strangers plus you know you’ve saved a small fortune in exchange for some minor back pain. But for these fair women –these champions of the world’s most popular sport– the ignominy was biblical.
For as they fought for overhead locker space and cursed as the person in front fully reclined whilst the plane was barely 15-feet off the ground, the Japanese men’s team sipped bottomless champagne and aired their feet out on footstools.
These men form a team that is useless when compared to any of the other top men’s teams. They have not won an Olympic medal since 1968 and are unlikely to do so this year. Regardless, business class tickets were theirs and they would not let the stench of injustice prevent them sleeping off bubbly and a 3-course meal on a fold-flat bed.
Imagine as the microwave chicken dinners quickly got snapped up by those farther forward – the female players, through no fault of their own, resigned to praying that there would be some left. Alas, there was not. Only the fish pie remained.
“Even just in terms of age, we are senior (to the men),” captain Homare Sawa, 33, told Japanese media upon landing, possibly between bouts of chronic indigestion.
Since 1996 the Japan Football Association has been paying for its male players to travel business class. They defend this by citing the fact the men’s team is fully professional, while the women are semi-professional.
Flimsier than a plastic knife and fork, this excuse is wretch-worthy in a way that not even a cheap fish pie can match.
Image courtesy of espn.com