I don’t generally watch sports on television. Not having a TV is not the main reason. It just isn’t my thing. Even when the Seahawks made it to the Superbowl, as my wife raptly watched the game, I had one eye on my computer and the other eye sort of on the game. Most of the time, my computer won the contest of what is more interesting. But, the final two games of the Women’s World Cup did catch my attention because they represented so much more than a win for the US. I was fortunate to have good friends do a live video chat so I could watch the game on their television (thanks Gail and Deborah Dodge Hankin).
Here are the reasons why Megan Rapinoe matters:
- She is an unapologetic out and proud lesbian and ironically that fact has not mattered in her elevation to heroine status for the majority of Americans…as it should be.
- I’d always found it interesting reading excerpts of Bonnie Morris’s book, The Disappearing L: Erasure of Lesbian Spaces and Culture. While I may not embrace every concept in that book, I like having lesbian role models to look up to. Ones that don’t exclude and take us back to what I’d always been used to in the 80’s. Pride had always been about embracing all the letters in our community without feeling the need to diminish their own claim of the L in LGBTQ+. Megan is that shining model for us all.
- The US Women’s soccer team brought the important conversation about equal pay to the world stage with their win, led by their outspoken team co-captain.
- She is now the second woman to silence Trump. In response to his go-to attack tweet that, “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!” she answered with the first goal of the final game. She took away his favorite word, loser. When Trump was handed his ass after the very public fight with Pelosi, who got him to blink and re-open the government, this second ass whooping must feel particularly painful.
- Despite all attempts by Fox news pundits, rabid Trump fans, and other bitter far-right conservatives, America loves Rapinoe. Every effort to tarnish her name through the same old, same old, tired tactics of remarking on her physical appearance, questioning why she is such a hero, etc. has been met with a rabid response from most of America, defending the team and holding them even higher up on that pedestal.
- Megan’s response to the Trump Administration has never fallen down the grade school path of remarking on the color of Trump’s skin, other aspects of his physical appearance, his intelligence, or any other immature personal attack. She’s kept her criticism where it belongs…on his policies, his tendency toward divisiveness and exclusion, and other important areas that have nothing to do with meaningless rhetoric that will never take the conversation to the place it needs to go.
- Her call for collaboration and inclusion is truly the American way. She is leading us back on the right path. With words like, “We have to be better. We have to love more. Hate less. We got to listen more and talk less. It’s our responsibility to make the world a better place.” I am not surprised people have called on her to run for President. Her words are Presidential, Trump’s are not.
- She is using her platform of sports success for something much more than American pride in their sports teams and that is why she matters.
Words matter. Whether they come from a soccer star, an author, or a politician, we all have the ability to make our words matter. I’m not a superstar, heroine, or widely known author, but I still hope that my words have mattered. Start small and let your words matter, even if they only extend to family and friends who spew hate and incite violence. If one person changes their perspective because of your words, they have mattered. If you want to see how I’ve woven subtle messages in my books, you know the drill.
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