Dear President Trump,
Well, I think it’s a safe bet that you didn’t give over any of your golf time this morning to watch the World Cup. Surely you’ve seen by now, though, that the US won 2-0 and that Megan Rapinoe won the tournament Golden Boot and the Golden Ball trophies. And maybe you saw that Rose Lavelle won the Bronze Boot. Did you see the highlights reels showing Lavelle’s goal? It was brilliant! She looks more like a nerdy chess geek than a soccer star until you see her in action, at which time her star qualities absolutely shine. She’s got moves you just wouldn’t believe (I mean this literally: you, in particular, would not believe what she can do with a soccer ball in traffic because you underestimate women at every turn).
And then there was Rapinoe. She didn’t have a particularly good game (the Netherland team was tough as nails on defense and shut down almost everything and everyone so none of the US players, except Lavelle, looked all that great most of the time), but she did show the mettle of a true professional when she whipped that penalty kick in for the firstUS goal. She made it look easy. She made it look like something she does every other day and that the girl up the street can do too, if she practices a bunch, which was a gift to all the girls up all the streets all over the world. But it was Rapinoe’s bravado that grabbed me the most –head up, arms thrown back, chest out, standing tall as though she just completed a mighty quest (which she had) and knowing that she’s damn good – it’s an awesome look. It’s a disconcerting look, and it’s an awesome look. Hopefully someday soon the disconcerting aspect of seeing a woman athlete adopt such a proud posture will go the way of the dodo bird; Rapinoe sure gave it a kick in the ass today to send it on its way.
After the game this morning, Laura and I took the dogs for their Sunday stroll. The little dog has a scraped pad so we had to stay on sidewalks. We made a pilgrimage of sorts to a neighborhood nearby to see one of the most beautiful trees around. It’s some sort of pine that’s about 15 feet tall, is almost cylindrical and has open, curvy branches and long bunches of needles. I tried to find out the species, but came up blank so you’ll just have to trust me that it’s gorgeous and a worthy destination-tree.
Anyway, after a medium-ish length walk we were heading back to the car when we saw a tiny white girl zip out of her house and down her front yard out to the nature strip and then back up. She was wearing flowered plastic rain boots, long pants, and a tee-shirt (once we were closer, I could see that it was a Seattle Sounders shirt). She finally stood still on the sidewalk and Laura said ‘hi’ and I asked her if she’d watched the game this morning. She said she had and she agreed it was really good. Then Laura asked her if she plays soccer and she said she does, but she hasn’t started yet and didn’t know what position she’d be playing (she’s probably around 5). Then Laura asked her the name of her team and her response was that “it’s only girls” and that she can’t remember the team’s name.
I don’t know whether she was merely being descriptive when she told us “it’s only girls,” but the tone of her voice wasn’t matter-of-fact, it was apologetic. My heart fell. She’s only five, she just watched some of the best soccer in the world played by two women’s teams, and she’s sounding apologetic, sheepish even, about the fact that her soccer team is comprised solely of girls. Laura’s response when the girl said “only girls” was wonderful – she didn’t miss a beat and said something like, “right, that makes sense, I bet you all will be great! Have fun!”
May we all be safe to be proud of who we are and of our accomplishments.
May we be happy to raise up all the little girls.
May we make a world where girls and boys can all have healthy egos.
May those who need to, make peace with equal pay for equal work. Now.