The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, a love letter to the team, myself, and women in general…
[This post began on our Instagram account and will be continued here]
Alright it’s time to talk about the U.S. women’s national team’s win....
First thing I will say, I am obsessed. This obsession isn’t new, and it's sure as hell not a fad, this has been an everlasting obsession of mine since I was a wee child. As a kid I grew up playing soccer, and I was good, really good. What it also meant is my role models growing up were Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly, Julie Foudy, and Mia Hamm. These were the women I grew up idolizing (mostly Julie Foudy, she was a boss, played the same position, and wore the same number as I did.) I equate women’s soccer with my own feminist awakening and will continue to do so.
Second thing I will say, I grew up thinking women could do, be, and say, anything (for the most part.) Part of that comes from my mom, part of that comes from when and where I was growing up, and another part is my own stubbornness. My mom is one strong ass woman and she imparted that quality in me at a young age. My mom was one the first women in the country on a Title IX scholarship, she was a world class track and field athlete, and just generally marched to the beat of her own drum. In short, she rules.
I grew up playing every sport imaginable, but eventually became passionate for soccer and skiing. Continuing to participate in either would have lead me to participating at elite levels. I don’t say this to brag, I say this because it’s true and it helps to qualify the rest of my story. I eventually chose skiing, pursued it to the highest levels, and then retired, and I am content with that as retirement is an eventuality every athlete faces. BUT being an athlete is completely where I derive my passion, determination, and confidence. Being an elite athlete was grueling, it’s what makes me a better lawyer, girlfriend, and friend. I know my own strength, limits, and most importantly, worth, because of being an athlete. AND SO MANY WOMEN FEEL THE SAME.
Being an athlete as a woman gave me the opportunity to push myself, defy limits, take risks, and PROVE to myself and others how strong I was. I have dealt with a variety of internal insecurities but every bit of personal growth I have achieved has been derived from power and lessons I’ve learned as an athlete.
So what does this have to do with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team? They just won the Women’s world cup, they silenced haters, they CELEBRATED their successes, and they did it while the whole world was watching. Every single woman you know has been told to sit down. Been spoken over. And had their dreams called into question as too unrealistic. The USWNT was told to sit down, shut up, and prove it. AND PROVE IT THEY DID.
As the USWNT celebrates I’ve seen them being criticized for their celebrations, for Rapinoe, saying “I deserve it,” for them referencing their lawsuit for pay equity too much. And through all this criticism they HAVE NOT BACKED DOWN. A team of women demanding to celebrate, speak their minds, and revel in the victory they fought for, is revolutionary in how society perceives a woman should act. As Alex Morgan said after being criticized for celebrating after a goal in the tournament, “I feel that there is some sort of double standard for females in sports to feel like we have to be humble in our successes and have to celebrate but not too much, or do something but always in a limited fashion.”
This is without even commenting on the unbelievable LGBTQ+ diversity on the team, without commenting on Megan Rapinoe being the first American athlete to take a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter on the world stage, without commenting on the USWNT unequivocally stating that trans women should be welcomed to participate in the highest levels of Soccer.
So this is my love letter to the USWNT, to every single woman who worked their ass off to perform on that stage, who silenced those who said they couldn’t, and who is celebrating the win in the fashion they deserve. This is my love letter to myself for growing up idolizing these women, becoming a woman I know a younger me would look up to for every quality I possess. This is my love letter to every single girl and woman out there that has grown, pushed themselves, defied their own and others’ expectations, and is out there knowing their worth. You are loved, you are seen, and you deserve everything you have.