She has lightning speed, razor sharp skill on the ball, intelligence for the game that surpasses her years, glorious fist pumps that bring tears to your eyes and the brightest most brilliant pink headbands money can buy. That’s right; I’m talking about none other than Alex freaking Morgan.
I have written (very serious) medical pieces on Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Ali Krieger and a (very serious) educational piece on Heather O’Reilly and now I want to tackle Alex Morgan. Well, not literally tackle her. Even if I wanted to tackle her I would never be able to catch her. I want to take a look at the athlete herself, and also the effects she is having on American society. The Alex Morgan name has been growing at a mind blowing pace and I cannot decide definitively what is causing it to spread so quickly. Is it her speed, which could undoubtedly break the sound barrier? Is it from the overwhelming joy she causes us late in games putting on dazzling displays of talent resulting in unimaginable goals? Is it just simply watching her as she smiles, jumps in the air and releases the most tremendous fist pump you can imagine? I first started taking notice of Alex in early 2010 telling everyone she is going to be a major difference maker for us. November came around and sure enough, she scored the game winner in the first of two games against Italy for World Cup qualifying. I’m a sucker for a good midfielder, and they usually occupy my top three current favorite players but Morgan, a forward, has snuck her way in there and I absolutely love watching her play. Since those qualifying games she has kept growing, learning, scoring… and getting marriage proposals. All for good reason too.
Her speed has been one of the most talked about topics for obvious reason. She’s a like a coked up cheetah attacking her prey on the pitch. As you all know, I have an extensive imaginary medical background and would like to take a look at the effect her speed is having on us, medically speaking. It has caused some severe vision issues amongst fans watching her play. It causes extreme strain on the eye and it is near impossible to keep up. The focus it takes to do so can be overwhelming to the human eye. Her speed has also caused whiplash for the fans watching her gallop past who are sitting too close to the field. She isn’t called Baby Horse for nothing. So please, before attending a game consult your optometrist to make sure your eyes can handle such circumstances and be sure to stretch. She has a speed very different from the likes of Amy Rodriguez and Heather O’Reilly who are both blazers themselves. Morgan has a speed that is so fluid it almost looks like she’s not even trying. It’s like some weird mind trick she’s playing on us. If you combined a cheetah, an Olympic hurdler, a gazelle, a ballerina, a race horse, a yoga expert, an African sprinter and a greyhound (the dog, not the bus) you get Alex Morgan: Blazing speed, long strides, with immense amounts of grace and beauty.
Now let’s approach the effect she is having on American society in a certain trend. We have seen a huge lift in pink pre wrap sales all over the country. The pink pre wrap factories cannot keep up with orders. (Yes, in my mind, there are in fact pink pre wrap factories) Girls, boys, women, men, dogs, cats, babies, hamsters…baby hamsters; everyone is wearing pink pre wrap. There have even been rumors of creating a large enough piece of pink pre wrap that could go around the Statue of Liberty’s head. Admittedly I may have been the one to start that rumor, but the point being; with Morgan’s quickly rising shining star, everything about her is rising with her including this new trend.
Chances are, if you hear that the US Women’s National Team is playing and a goal is scored in the 89th minute; it was Alex Morgan. She’s been called our ‘super sub’, which I agree with. Only I would change it to ‘super duper sub’. Don’t leave out the ‘duper’, that’s just insulting. She gives us a spark late in a game and causes an immediate threat on goal. Literally, the goal feels threatened. As soon as she stands up at the midfield line about to come in the opposing team’s goal literally starts quivering as if an earthquake was happening. Although I agree she is one monster of a sub for us, I believe she is far more than that. For those of you who think she is only a super duper sub and not a 90 minute player; well I have some choice words for you which I will refrain from using right now because I’m a lady, damn it. Let’s look at some of her many attributes that make me say she is a 90 minute player. Her fitness is obviously not an issue; she could outrun a Kenyan marathon runner on steroids. She has strong skill over the ball, a killer left foot (literally, I truly believe she could cause death with her strike) but also a right foot she is not hesitant to use either, and fluidity to her play that can’t be taught. She has a nose for goal and a killer instinct which comes naturally to her. She works best under pressure and has a strong work ethic where she never gives up on a play. If you somehow manage to strip her of the ball you better be ready for her to attack back as if she was a mom and you just stole her baby…or even worse, her soccer ball. You will have approximately .003 of a second to gloat before she swoops in, takes the ball right back and then burns past you. All you will see is a bright pink blur and then you will turn around to see #13 charging towards your goalkeeper who now has a look of immeasurable fear on her face. She’s 22 years old and plays with a strong knowledge of the game, always making smart decisions. She doesn’t play with the mind set of a 22 year old. She plays with the mind set of someone far more experienced. At the ESPN-W Summit she joked about how she is always asking Abby Wambach after a game what she’s doing right and what she’s doing wrong. Already highly skilled and smart but she is eager to learn more every chance she gets. Also, as if everything I just listed wasn’t enough…her hair always looks really good no matter what. Impressive, I know. What more can you ask for from a young player?If you look at all of these factors you don’t have a super duper sub, you have a super duper player. Of course she admits she still has more to learn and areas to improve in because, hey, she’s human. Well at least they say she is. I am still not convinced.
It doesn’t get any better than this ladies and gentlemen. We have a beautiful, talented, strong, smart, young player who has an extremely bright future of leading us to many, many victories. I am saying here and now she is going to be one of the best our country has ever seen. I look forward to watching her career flourish and cannot wait to see what this young superstar has in store for us in years to come. In my piece ‘Haven’t You Heard? Female Athletes Can’t Be Talented AND Pretty’ which features Morgan and fellow National Team member, Hope Solo, I talk more about her skill and also her charisma, both of which I could go on and on about. She has a magnetic quality which not only attracts the ball to her feet resulting in goals on the score board, but also a magnetic quality that attracts America to her resulting in a rising star across the globe. She has captivated the whole nation and after each game she plays we are all left waiting for the next Alex Morgan show to begin. And I’ll be honest; I am getting a little antsy for the next production. Curtains go up November 19th in Phoenix against Sweden. In the mean time I will get my eyes prepped and ready to watch her scorch the field and I will also do some more research regarding Lady Liberty’s pink pre wrap of course.
Alex- Thank you for representing our nation so well and for being such a powerful force on the field and also off the field doing your part to help women’s soccer succeed in America. Whether you actually are human or immortal sent to us from the Soccer Gods, you are in fact super duper. (For what it’s worth, my money is on ‘immortal’)