A society that all too often looks for heroes in all the wrong places would do well to look to the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team for inspiration. Their awesome victory last night is but the icing on the cake for these largely unsung heroes who have much to teach us all about “the right stuff.”
I’ve been a fan of football all my life (Sorry folks, that’s the sport’s true name everywhere but here where a reworked version of rugby bears the name–call that hybrid sport “pigskin toss” for all I care–Football is THE world sport, and the name is taken.) I follow the World Cup with glee every four years–and the buildup to it, of course, rooting for the U.S., Spain (where all of my family hails from) and Argentina (the country of my birth). My wife and I (she is more fanatical than I in rooting for the U.S. (her country of birth), Spain (where all of her family hails from as well) and even Argentina (for my sake). We also always watch the Women’s Football World Cup, rooting as always firsts for the U.S. and then for Spain and Argentina. (likewise in the Olympics) For me, women’s Football is a purer form of the sport; it is understated, full of quiet confidence and selfless sportsmanship, focused on a team much more than on the highly paid athletes and “win at all cost” foul-riddled male version of the sport by extraordinary underpaid and generally undervalued athletes who for the most part play the game for the love of the sport and not for personal glory and personal gain.
In nearly 50 years of watching football, I never felt more inspired, awed or proud of a team than I did last night. My heart soared and sank in sympathy for other great teams during the tournament–England, France, Germany and the fledgling national team of Spain that with little support and even less fanfare qualified for the first time in history. It was a grand spectacle–as it is always. But yesterday’s finish brought tears to my eyes for the exceptional skill, sportsmanship and magic on the field. It was the highest rated TV sports event of all time–stick that in your pipe and smoke it aficionados of that other misnamed game. Keep the Superbowl with its deflationgate nonsense, ridiculously overpaid players and idiot sponsors paying millions to tout beer and sodapop. Give me the Supergirls instead–no capes, no tights and no fear of Kryptonite for these women, heroes all and finally not unsung ones. Well done. Well done indeed!