Abby Wambach – The Storm of the Century

As a soccer player how would you like the comfort of knowing your teammate is someone who has incredible knowledge of the game, leadership abilities the President wishes he possessed, a beautiful strike on the ball, a never die attitude and a header with more pace on it than most people can get off of their feet? Well, congratulations to anyone who has ever played with Abby Wambach because you have had that person as a teammate. She is called one of the best in the world for great reason. I don’t care if you are a soccer fanatic or if you are confused as to why no one is using their hands; when you watch Abby play you feel excitement, energy, passion, and amazement.

I have been raving about a handful of other players on the U.S. Women’s National Team all for different reasons in past blogs. I am going to be honest; Abby is not my favorite player. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love her and she is definitely top 5 for me. But it comes down to personal preference for what you look for in your favorite players and for me, that person is almost always a midfielder. But what I will say is that Abby Wambach is, I believe, the best in the world. She is a force that no one (no matter what position they play) in the world can match as far as I am concerned. If there was a storm that combined winds from a tornado, flooding from a tsunami, ground shaking from an earthquake, and white out snow storms from a blizzard you would have an Abby Wambach caliber storm.  I would advise all meteorologists to beware next summer and get ready for some intense reporting. Because the Abby Wambach Storm Of The Century will be in full force in London for the 2012 Olympics. When that storm comes through town I would not want to be anywhere near it. So for all of the teams unlucky enough to have to play them next summer: I will pray for your safe return to your homes after Wambach’s fury and the USWNT send you packing.

There is something about Abby’s leadership skills that just leaves me speechless. Well, almost speechless. Who am I kidding? I don’t get speechless. Even from thousands of miles away, watching her on your TV screen, not being able to hear what she is saying; she still manages to energize you and give you belief that she is about to make magic happen. There is no better example than in the quarter final of the World Cup this year when the USA played Brazil. Every one of our girls played with 300% heart, aggression, determination and skill. I would say Wambach was somewhere in the 7000% range though. At one point when they showed her close up I literally thought my TV was going to explode from the pressure and intense determination on her face. Not going to lie…Abby Wambach’s ‘game face’ on my 42 inch HDTV terrified me. HD should not be allowed when Wambach is on the hunt for a win. After a game that filled fans with every emotion ranging from excitement to frustration to anger to anxiousness, she left us with every emotion ranging from euphoria to pride to extreme satisfaction to relief. For every other goal that was scored during this World Cup by the USA my typical celebration was a lap around my apartment screaming, jumping up and down, and throwing anything within reaching distance exerting pure joy. (This resulted in some unhappy neighbors and a dire need for some new pint glasses) But after Abby’s goal she scored in the 122nd minute of that game there was no screaming, no running, no broken glass. I just dropped down to my knees, let out a breath I had been holding in for 122 minutes and put my arms up in the air like I was about to yell out “Stellaaaaaaa!” This happened for a second time when Ali Krieger put away the final PK winning the match for us. I am an honest writer so I cannot deny there were some tears shed. Not to get all Lifetime Movie Network on you, but I definitely had a special moment. While we all sat on the edge of our seats throughout this game Abby had a gut feeling, a drive within her pushing her, knowing that they were going to overcome and win. Her leadership throughout her career has gotten her and her teams to where they are now and her leadership in that game got us through to the next round…and it also made all of America go absolutely fricken insane.

Aside from her leadership everyone knows her for her epic headers that personally give me a head / neck ache just watching them. I for one believe Abby needs to get separate insurance for her head, her forehead, and each individual strand of hair on her head. If anything were to happen to any of these crucial resources America would be devastated. If I see Abby I will most likely awkwardly shove a helmet on her head encouraging her to never ever take it off unless she is playing a game. That head is an American asset and we need to protect it. It should never be touched by mere mortals. We cannot let the magical powers embodied by Abby’s head escape. Side note: Abby, if you are reading I am more than willing to become your head’s body guard. Or rather, head guard. I vow I will never allow you to bump it on a low ceiling. I vow I will never allow it to be touched by someone in a large crowd. I vow that no bird will ever release itself while flying over your head putting it in direct danger of bird droppings. Your head would be safe in my hands. The only compensation I would ask for is that you promise you will win the gold in the 2012 Olympics and when you score your goals you do a dance choreographed by yours truly. It will be a mix of 90’s pop, Broadway pizzazz, and 80’s break dancing, in case you were wondering. If you don’t agree to the dance, then I will settle for the big shiny bright gold medal around your neck next summer while you and your team listen to our National Anthem atop the podium. (And then maybe you could toss a ‘running man’ with some jazz hands in there for me)

She is just as lethal with the ball at her feet which makes her unstoppable. When she is not scoring she is most likely running around causing havoc for the defense and creating scoring opportunities for her teammates. If Alex Morgan is open it’s because she is capable of running at speeds over 100 mph – but also because Abby is creating space for her and drawing in defenses to herself. Abby is a master at opening up her teammates.  When she’s not doing one of those two things she is drawing fouls and throwing her body on the line for the good of the team. She is not afraid to take a hit and draw a foul to, once again, create a scoring opportunity. When she is not doing one of those three things, she is sleeping. I’d still be willing to bet you she is somehow creating goals even when she is sleeping though. Like she has some sort of powerful dreams that create goals the following day on the pitch. She’s a lady soccer wizard! I’m on to you Wambach…I’m on to you.

Abby is an athletic, empowering, intelligent, brilliantly skilled player. She is the best in the world for many more reasons than I can list in this and she has done so much for the growth of the sport in our country. But years from now the day of disparity will inevitably come and she will retire. Hey, everyone worried about the apocalypse in 2012; please…the apocalypse will come the day Abby Wambach retires. I hope she continues as a coach for us in some capacity as she would be phenomenal. And now that we all know about her lady soccer wizardry powers that will definitely come in handy as well. There will never be a day where I do not want to see Abby Wambach contributing to the sport in some way. Yes I basically just said, “Abby, you need to live forever and ever and forever be a part of U.S. women’s soccer.” No pressure…

I need to stop writing now though. I need to get down to business and get back to what really matters. I need to start choreographing Abby’s goal celebration. Get ready to pop it and lock it Abby. Pop…and…lock.

 

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Amy Maestri

Writer / actress / producer.

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