Take a break from watching me be terrible in Terrible HR, to read an article I wrote about some people that are anything but terrible. They are the athletes of the Special Olympics and they are the best humans you could ever imagine. See link below to read at WSN247.
Although you can wander your way over to www.wsn247.com any time to see dozens of blogs I have written, I am posting this one specifically because it is one I hope everyone reads. And not just because I am a writer and I am needy of approval. But because it is a topic I am pretty damn passionate about and I know many others who are as well. I hope you are one of them.
Check out the link below to read my blog about the Special Olympics and being more inclusive for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Ask me if I’d love to see the day when a female athlete gains more recognition for what she does in her sport than how she looks?
My answer is ‘yes, of course.’
Now ask me if I think it’s wrong for women like Hope Solo and Alex Morgan to pose either nude or with only body paint because it’s a bad reflection on them and a step backwards for women’s soccer?
My answer is ‘what the hell is wrong with you?!?’ (And that is the family friendly toned down response)
This topic gets me a little fired up. I am more passionate about U.S. Women’s Soccer than almost anything (this of course excludes my mother’s lasagna). I love and respect this team and the beautiful game. I also respect the decisions of players making moves to help promote their name and the sport they play. If an opportunity arises that allows them to do this, why wouldn’t they? Especially if it is an opportunity that would showcase the obscene amount of hours they put into getting amazing bodies. Sure, the true pay off for them comes in the 90th minute of a game when the other team is starting to feel the ‘jell-o legs’ settle in while they’re ready to go another 90. By all means, the hours of work they put in are to better themselves as athletes and contribute to improving their game; which it obviously does. The US Women’s National Soccer Team is probably the fittest in the entire world, and it shows on the field. But once the final whistle blows and these players walk off with a sense of pride and accomplishment wouldn’t it also be nice to be recognized for their hard work by others as well? Last I checked, if an artist spends every day working on a painting; perfecting it, making sure every last detail was flawless, they’re not going to light it on fire once they’re done so it’s never to be seen. (Unless they’re like ‘Van Gogh crazy’ and the voices in their head told them to) They’re going to hang it on a wall or sell it to a gallery. They’re going to take pride in their work and say, “Yes, I spent endless hours of my life dedicated to this. And because I did, I came out with a beautiful painting which I can be proud of, and now I’d like everyone to see it.” Well guess what; The USWNT and Alex Morgan and Hope Solo have been painting their asses off. They have dedicated their lives to something which they are brilliant at and that they love. Their hard work has paid off on the field and now I’m happy it’s paid off for them in these opportunities as well.
Can we also keep in mind what these photo shoots were for as well? Hope Solo posed for the Body Issue of ESPN. It’s dedicated to show off athletes at the peak of their physical fitness. Alex Morgan posed for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition as one of only 3 female athletes chosen for it because of her toned physique. Notice I said ESPN and Sports Illustrated, not a cheap porn site. They’re not doing anything tasteless or risqué. They’re not going out on weekends, getting smashed and giving TMZ nip slip photos. They’re posing for sports related magazines showing that hard work pays off. People need to relax and look at the positives; that they are getting good publicity and that they are becoming household names as good, strong role models for anyone to look up to. I haven’t even mentioned the biggest reason for why people shouldn’t care if they’re doing these shoots: If they want to do it, and they enjoy doing it then why the hell not? They’re hurting no one and they are young and beautiful, so why not work it? It is not up to any of us to decide if it’s “What they should be doing” or not.
With that being said, going back to my initial statement; yes, I want to see the day where female athletes are recognized more for what they do in their sport than how they look. I will stand behind these next two statements no matter what. In my opinion… 1) Hope Solo is the best female goalkeeper in the entire world. 2) Alex Morgan is young and has a lot to prove, but is still one of the best female strikers in the world and has the potential to become the best we’ve ever seen. So would I like to hear people talking about them for those reasons or because of how they look? Obviously for the reasons I listed on their talent. But the fact is, in female sports how someone looks weighs heavily on how much publicity they are given. That doesn’t change their talent level though.
Let’s say this swimsuit edition gets 500,000 people who never gave women’s soccer a second look; noticed Alex Morgan and said, “Wow, she’s hot. Who is she?” Then they notice she plays for the USWNT. Out of those 500,000 people; even just half of them decide to check out the next game just because they like Alex Morgan now. And out of those 250,000 people: half are impressed by the skill and poise they possess in a game and decide to keep watching future games and become true fans. That’s 125,000 new fans to the game just because of a couple of beautiful pictures in a magazine. They may watch their first game with no intention of continuing to watch, saying they just want to get a glimpse of Morgan. But if from that, they get hooked…that’s amazing! And if they don’t, then who cares? It’s not going to be for everyone, but at least they are giving it the chance. And that’s what publicity is for. To reach new fans who may have an interest in watching, but haven’t had that one thing that has hooked them to actually sit down and watch a full game. (These numbers are completely hypothetical to prove a point, so if you’re ready to pounce on me about them- take a Valium and go away.)
There are luckily only a small group of people who seem to have problems with these photos. Mostly everything I have seen has been very positive and people are thrilled for them; as we should be. I’m in the front of the line waiting for female athletes to be judged less off of how they look and more off of how they play, but until that happens can’t we just be happy that we have athletes that are both gorgeous and immensely talented and being recognized for both? What more do you people want? Do they need some sort of magical power now too? Hope, Alex: you heard it here first. We not only need you to continue to be top shelf soccer players and really pretty but we also need you to fly, master time travel and breathe under water to make everyone happy.
Embrace the fact that they are getting publicity and embrace that they are phenomenal at what they do. And oh yeah…one more thing…THEY LOOK UH-MAZING! Congrats to Solo and Morgan for not only being some of the best female soccer players in the world but also for getting some rock star status publicity.
Time for a pop quiz:
1- Do you love good competition?
2- Do you enjoy watching a group of people extraordinarily good at what they do?
3- Do you want to support American athletic leagues?
4- Do you enjoy breathing oxygen?
5- Do you respect people dedicating their lives to becoming the best in the world at their profession?
6- Do you have eyes and ears?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions it is a scientific fact that you should love Women’s Professional Soccer. Ok, so full disclosure, I guess I added a couple of questions in there that don’t completely have to do with women’s soccer. But for the most part, this is a fair test. Because let’s be honest…at a WPS game you get to witness good competition, with extraordinary athletes, in an American league, while breathing oxygen, respecting the athletes on the field for their hard work, and you do all this by watching and listening with your eyes and ears. See? It all connects in the end.
Women’s Professional Soccer is unfortunately in a very tough situation right now. They need to find a 6th team for the league or it could mean the end of WPS. We have an extremely underrated and under publicized league and it needs to be saved. I am not a business professor, I am not a CEO of a company (unless you consider my bathtub moonshine business from 2009-2010), I am not a figure of authority or a leader of an athletic league. I am simply a fan of the game who has been watching and loving this sport and idolizing the women who play it since I can remember. So to be short; no, I do not have the solution to this problem. I have a hard enough time coming up with solutions to questions like “Should I wear pants or not while I write today?” and “Red or white wine with lunch?” So I don’t think I’m equipped to say much on this complicated matter. And I do not envy the people trying to come up with the solution. But if they have any questions on wine or the epic pants/no pants question I do hope they reach out to me for some lively conversation.
It boggles my mind how we can have the best league in the entire world in this country and be struggling to find a 6th team. The domestic talent is there, the international talent is there, the passion from the fans is there. What is missing? If I were to ask 10 of my friends who are not die hard soccer fans what the WPS is, most of them probably wouldn’t know it by the abbreviation. If I were to ask them what the MLS is they would know it is Major League Soccer. That’s what is missing. Many, many brilliant TV shows have gone off the air after a few seasons because although critics can’t stop raving over a show, it doesn’t get the ratings it needs to stay afloat. Don’t let the WPS become Arrested Development. (If you do not know this show I order you to watch it on Netflix now. Well, as soon as you’re done reading this.) The WPS is just that; critically acclaimed but not enough viewers…yet.
In men’s soccer when you look at an international level we definitely jumped on the train a little late. While we were eating hotdogs watching guys run around in circles and swat at a ball at baseball games, the rest of the world was playing soccer. But when you look at the women’s side, we have an edge. We have the number one ranked international team in the world, and we have the best professional league for talent in the world as well. If we throw away the opportunity to continue that legacy here; it would be a sad day.
Not only do we have American heroes from the Women’s World Cup like Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan and Lauren Cheney. But we also have international players like Kelly Smith, Christine Sinclair and many more. On top of that we have young players who are making moves and proving they are forces to be reckoned with also, like Brittany Bock, Meghan Klingenburg, Christen Press and Casey Noguiera to only name a few out of many. The talent is there. There is no disputing that. But unfortunately it’s not that simple.
So please, Women’s Professional Soccer, put your brilliant little heads together and find a way to make this 6th team happen in the time frame you have been given. Maybe we can get together a ‘Super Committee’ of sorts, but one that won’t fail us miserably. We already had one super committee fail us this week, we can’t take another. How about instead of Super Committee we gather a ‘Marvelous Task Force’? Yes, I like that. So I put my trust in you, Marvelous Task Force. I believe in the MTF (See, I shortened Marvelous Task Force to make it quicker to read and also quicker for me to type so I don’t have to keep typing Marvelous Task Force) Right, I believe in the MTF and I have faith that they will pull through with a solution.
This league is a powerful force of athletes who are not only talented and skilled but also smart and excellent role models. So unless you want your 13 year old to stop trying to become the next Abby Wambach because her dreams were dashed by this league folding and instead focus her attention on becoming the next Snooki; I suggest you start backing the WPS and women’s soccer in this country.
Check out this site for sure. Great organization helping to put the word out there. They have exerpts of this blog entry plus a way for anyone to get involved and have their voice heard on this subject.
Another way to help…a petition you MUST sign which was started by an awesome dedicated fan!
If I had the option of reliving November 19th 2011 from the hours of 7pm to 10pm Mountain Standard Time once a day for the next 5 years of my life in exchange for my soul I would gladly make the trade. This weekend I was one of the lucky 18,482 fans at the US Women’s National Soccer Team game against Sweden in an International Friendly match in Phoenix, AZ. Let me tell you, it was truly a beautiful game of the beautiful game.
This was a match I have known about for a couple of months and was unsure if I would be able to attend or not. But thanks to some amazing followers on Twitter offering different pieces of the puzzle to help get me there; I made it. I drove my little munchkin two seat convertible from Los Angeles to Phoenix on the day of the game. It was a lovely drive with the majority of it being on empty freeway with no civilization in site. This is a good thing for me because I love nothing more than putting my top down on a road trip, blasting the stereo and singing at the top of my tone challenged lungs. By the time I was in Phoenix my voice was already a little scratchy from a superb medley ranging from Janis Joplin to Journey to Katy Perry to every classic show tune you can imagine. I got pretty animated during “You Can’t Stop The Beat” dancing in my seat. Then of course put on my Adele playlist and had a good solid 30 minutes of sing-crying at an obscenely loud volume.
After getting to the stadium I met up with some fellow Twitter fans and grabbed a drink. I needed to settle my giddy-nerves from flaring up which would end up making me look like the insanely excited 6 year old child I am inside. It really is a gorgeous stadium with one of the most perfect fields I have ever seen. I had a field seat ticket so I headed down to the field and just stared at the pitch for a little while in a happy soccer coma. The giddy 6 year old was on the verge of coming out and doing a happy dance, but I maintained my coolness and instead grabbed the beer guy’s attention.
When the game started and that whistle blew, everything was perfect. The world could do no wrong at that moment. At least I thought, but then I let the 6 year old out and screeched and jumped in glee, knocking my beer over. My excitement was even more amplified by the two people next to me, a father and daughter, who appeared to be dead inside and I decided I hated them. But later in the game a group of 14 year old girls who knew nothing and said everything moved in next door and I decided the dead inside father daughter duo weren’t so bad. Within minutes the ball was right in front of me, at Amy Rodriquez’s feet. Watching her with the ball at her feet from only about 6 feet away is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. She is just this brutally strong, compact, speedy little soccer machine. Every time the ball came that close to me it was incredible just seeing these players right there, doing what they were born to do and doing it so….damn….good. Sweden took advantage of a ball around the 18 and scored in the 28th minute though. We had been dominating and controlling the pace, but hey, that’s soccer. The entire game had this enormous building feeling to it. It was an inevitable fact that we would score. Then in the 81st minute Alex Morgan put a rocket on goal which was saved and Tobin Heath was more than happy to collect the rebound and stuff the ball into the back of the net, getting us tied at 1. After that it built even more and I really thought we had the winner coming, but around the 92nd minute the whistle blew and we would settle for a tie. But let me tell you, it was not reflective of how we played…we looked GOOD.
Lauren Cheney was on point with her corner kicks, her short range passing, her long switches across field and moving off the ball. She had a game of perfect precision and skillful sorting of the ball. She was in full 007 Spy Mode darting around the field disappearing and reappearing everywhere we needed her. The 6 year old in me had a strong urge to start doing diving spy move somersaults in excitement, but I managed to refrain. Carli Lloyd was having an excellent game also of connecting plays, crafty touches creating opportunity and contributing every second towards making our team better. So overall our central midfield was looking brilliant but let’s be honest about the central midfield on Saturday, I will just say- Shannon Boxx, Shannon Boxx, Shannon Boxx. This woman is unreal. There is no vocabulary yet created for describing the amount of respect and admiration I have for this legend. Our other iron woman, Christie Rampone had an impeccable game as always as well. I think Abby Wambach said it best on Twitter saying Rampone is the “strongest human alive”. No argument there, no further comment needed, as that says it all. My favorite, Heather O’Reilly had her usual game of making blazing runs, helping on defense, creating offense, burning past defenders and throughout the game ran roughly 47 miles. And I didn’t have speed gun with me but I believe she peaked on one of her runs around 124mph. This is just a rough guess, but I think it’s accurate and in no way an exaggeration. Becky Sauerbrunn was in fine form which let’s be honest…she always is. Every time she did a throw in near me I shook in fear over her guns. This girl is ripped. She is a beautiful woman who I think looks like Heather Graham, but only if Heather Graham was an athlete that could tear you apart with one toned arm tied behind her back. She was out wide on Saturday dominating that left back position and also getting into the attack beautifully. I will say I love her out wide as well, but when she plays in the middle with Rampone you might as well just put a 100 foot high brick wall in the middle of the field. A brick wall with ripped guns and a 6 pack, that is.Tobin Heath, our goal scorer was looking good too. Every time she got the ball a new dance routine began for her as she craftily danced and juked over the ball toying with the defense. I think right before serving a cross one time I actually saw her start to do ‘The Dougie’. And last but definitely not least I have to say that Alex Morgan is looking fresh. Her first touch, her runs off the ball, her back to goal work and her rocket shot were all looking phenomenal. She had a few different balls come in over her head that she collected with one fluid movement of her leg bringing the ball in like she has a magnetic power over it. I’m convinced she’s some kind of soccer specialty magician or immortal soccer nymph. She’s unreal. She put in some hard work (with very limited minutes, I would say too limited) and was hungry for a goal and was very unlucky to not walk away with at least one. A good save, some lucky blocks on the way in and a far post that was almost snapped in half by her bullet of a shot in the 78th minute prevented her from scoring though. Goal scored or not; Alex Morgan is on the prowl and is looking incredible.
Speaking of that poor goal post that was rocked by Morgan’s shot; I have a beef with the frame of the goal after Saturday. We hit both posts and the cross bar. Boxx’s crossbar shot looked like the dented it, it was hit so hard. It’s probably in need of cosmetic surgery it was rocked so forcefully by Boxx. And then Abby hit the other post on a ball that defied the laws of physics by not going in the goal. Just get out of the way!! Trust me goal frame, you don’t want all that pain. Just get out of the way and let these goals in! Regardless, the whole team showed everyone in that stadium once again why they are the number one ranked team in the world. Every one of them played beautifully this weekend and we are looking confident and ready for Olympic qualifiers. Seriously, like I have said before: any teams who have to face us in London 2012, I feel sorry for how badly you will be owned by Abby Wambach’s storm of fury and the whole USWNT.
So thank you Fox Soccer and ESPN for being so supportive and airing the game on televis…oh wait. Never mind. I forgot…neither of you aired it. Someone must have forgotten to give you the memo that the number one ranked women’s soccer team in the world (which just so happens to be the USA, you know…the country we live in) was playing a game in front of what was predicted to be a record breaking crowd against a rival team who beat us in the World Cup this summer promising for a high energy and highly entertaining game with guarenteed viewers eager to watch from home. Yeah, you must have lost the memo. Well, let’s thank some people who actually deserve a thank you…
Thank you ussoccer.com who actually did pull off a webcast of the game for fans across the country. Thank you Adele for a cleansing sing a long / hysterical crying session. Thank you Twitter followers who helped get me (and my giddy inner 6 year old) to the game and made it a very enjoyable experience. Thank you ridiculous road signs you only find in the middle of nowhere which made me giggle and also made me slightly nervous I was entering a horror movie plot line. (ex: State Prison Next Exit. Do Not Pick Up Hitch Hikers) Thank you highway patrol for making this my first ever road trip with no speeding tickets. But mostly, thank you to the US Women’s National Team, as always, for coming out and playing like true champions.
I am not a doctor, I have never studied medicine, I paid my Asian friend Suong to do my homework for me in high school. You may say this means I am not qualified to diagnose someone with a serious disease. But I beg to differ. I see Hope Solo-itis spreading everywhere. And there is no pattern to figure it out…the very young, the very old, men, women, the young athlete, the elderly obese, even the deaf / blind / mutes who cannot hear, see or speak of her are coming down with this illness. It’s an epidemic and it is taking over our country. It’s even spreading to other countries. I intend to get to the bottom of it right now.
Some have been afflicted with this disease for years. We have come to learn they are called “Holos”. They have been dealing with this sickness almost in the shadows. No one had done any research on it and they were forced to try and hide it at times. When they would show their true colors and share they were a Holo, people would sometimes shun them and tell them there is no place for that in our country. It seemed in the late 90’s there was a similar illness called Hamm-itis. But once that died down there was a period where the public’s interest faded in learning more about these diseases. Until this Hope Solo character came along that is. And then all hell broke loose.
The Solo-itis epidemic saw a spike in 2007. At the Women’s World Cup in China there was a severe upward trend in Holos appearing everywhere. They were growing larger in numbers and stronger. When people would trash talk their illness and the Solo name; those there were fightin’ words. The Holos would not put up with any of it. If you mess with the Solo: you have to answer to the Holos.
But nothing could prepare us for what we saw this past summer of 2011. The Women’s World Cup in Germany created a world-wide frenzy. It didn’t matter who you were or where you came from, it was spreading like wild fire. I advised close friends and family to stay in their homes and avoid direct contact with people, but it was too late. Everyone was affected. The world has been taken over, and it has been taken over by the one and only Hope Solo.
Now, I have a confession. This may shock you, but it is important you all know this…
I am in fact…..a Holo.
I was infected in early 2007 and have been living with the disease ever since. I understand the allure of it. Once you see Hope Solo play, you are forever a Holo and there is no cure and there is no going back. I think every other Holo can agree though…we don’t want a cure.
I am severely affected by it, but I have found two other people who are so far into the stages of this disease that I am surprised they are able to function still in every day society. They go by the Twitter names of @HopeSoloSwag and @HopeOnTheSolo. I suggest everyone who is living with this follow them immediately so they are able to get guidance and information. You can visit their website at www.hopesolofans.wordpress.com for more information on this rapidly spreading sickness.
Hope Solo, if you are reading this: I thank you for being a true hero and a true athletic phenomenon. You have touched many people, and I for one am proud to call myself a Holo and embrace my Hope Solo-itis.
Since the Women’s World Cup there has been a lot of media attention around the whole US Women’s National Soccer Team, but especially certain players. I for one am thrilled with the reception they are getting. I must say, it gets a little confusing though when it comes down to female athletes. Players like Alex Morgan and Hope Solo really make things complicated. They are both top shelf players in their respective positions and some of the best in the world. They also both happen to be pretty and have fun and likeable personalities. Some people are saying they are only getting attention because they are the pretty ones; they’re hot so they get media attention. That’s where I get lost. Apparently people would rather ugly talented people or gorgeous untalented people? In Hollywood people love the “triple threats”, but apparently in women’s sports we only should like the “single threat”. When was the last time you heard someone say Derek Jeter is only one of the biggest names in baseball because he’s hot? Good looking male athletes apparently are allowed to keep their talent but females instantly lose any skill or talent as soon as they are deemed “hot”. I guess we want our girls to be ugly so they only are recognized for their talent. (Because obviously a pretty girl can’t also be a top athlete, don’t be ridiculous) So if you are an up and coming female athlete you have an important decision to make. If you are both pretty and talented you need to choose otherwise you will be ridiculed for having the audacity to be pretty. It’s time to stop using any products which will eliminate blemishes, yell at your parents for getting you regular dentist cleanings and braces when you were younger which has now cursed you with gorgeous teeth, cut your hair while blindfolded with children’s safety scissors next time you get drunk, and this is an important one…never EVER wear pink or anything girly. Because once you hit it big if you are still pretty you will get more media attention, but you will also have a select few people all of a sudden saying you’re just a pretty face.
I could understand this logic if they weren’t actually some of the best players. I could understand this opinion from people if Alex Morgan spent the World Cup picking dandelions and trying to bring back “bumble bee swarm the ball” techniques from when we were all 5 years old while waving to fans during the middle of a play. Or if Hope Solo spent her time adjusting her gloves while balls flew past her into the net as she posed and winked at the cameras. But no, Alex Morgan spent her time scoring goals, setting up goals, and sprinting past every defender the world had to offer at this World Cup like the freakishly fast “baby horse” that she is. Seriously, she’s like a beautifully strange and awesome breed from a horse, a gazelle, and a cheetah that all have severe caffeine addictions. And Hope Solo spent her time defending her goal against 12 penalty kicks in 6 games, coming up with jaw dropping saves, and diving onto a shoulder that most people would have given up on after her almost career ending injury to it. I’m not sure if you heard me correctly either so I will reiterate and make the font slightly larger so you see it…12 penalty kicks in 6 games. Asking a keeper to deal with that is like asking Snooki to go out for one night with no bronzer and to not show her kooka. Is it physically possible? Yes. Is it probable? No. There is no keeper in the universe whether it be a man, a woman, or a mechanically engineered robot goalie who could have dealt with it any better. Morgan and Solo each had a phenomenal World Cup, a phenomenal year and have nothing to look back at and regret. And yes, they looked good while doing it. How dare they?!?
Those of us who know the sport know that these ladies truly are some of the best in the world. I get it; some people just want everyone to have a fair shake at it. I agree there are plenty of female athletes who probably don’t get the media attention they deserve because they might not be as pretty as others. But is that reason to penalize the ones that are? True, it may be sexist for people to view female athletes this way, when male athletes are very rarely based off of looks, but again let’s not target the wrong people here. Let’s not ridicule the ones breaking through and gaining support for women’s soccer. Let’s embrace the fact that people outside the sports world are gaining an interest through these women. They may tune in just to see Morgan and Solo but once they are tuned in, they get to see a full squad of beautiful and extremely talented women playing a fast paced, technical and impressive game of soccer and hopefully become fans of the game. And luckily it is only a select few who put up the ridiculous argument I have been ranting about. The guys who say it are ignorant about the sport and just want to sleep with them and the girls who say it are ignorant about the sport and are jealous of them. Sorry guys, saying they’re not talented probably won’t help in your pathetic attempt in your delusional fairy tale land to sleep with them. And sorry girls, that you have a pig face. (I know, I know I am stooping to their level with that one, but I just couldn’t resist)
I say we praise these women for being the best at what they do, and just be happy when they get the media attention. Anyone who supports women’s soccer or just women’s sports in general should be thrilled head over heels that they are getting the attention that they are. Our Women’s National Soccer team is filled with beautiful talented athletes who will hopefully continue gaining attention and being beasts on the field making our nation proud knowing that we have some of the best athletes in the world.
So Alex, Hope, if you are reading…keep up the great work on the field and please don’t cut your hair while 6 shots of vodka deep with safety scissors, we love you the way you are.