Tonight the US Women’s National Team truly showed us what it means to play like a girl. With four goals in the first fifteen minutes of game play, it was an incredible win by a well-deserving team.
I remember the last time the Women’s National Team won the World Cup. I was with my family at a Whitecap’s baseball game when the 1999 shootout took place. They put the game on hold in order to display the Shootout on the big screens. When that final goal was scored by Brandi Chastain, the entire stadium erupted in to cheers and shouts. I remember the feeling of excitement. I remember being glad that I had been able to watch.
Even though it is not just running, soccer has a special place in my heart. I played soccer for a good portion of my life – from the time I was in kindergarten to the time I was a sophomore in high school, when I was cut from the team because I just wasn’t a fast enough runner (Look at me now, Mr. High School JV Coach). It was my beginning in the sports world, and a very important part of my life.
Soccer gave me so much – it taught me teamwork and discipline. It gave me role models and goals to aspire to.
Sports are important for girls, young and old, but there is so much disparity in the sporting world right now. Women’s sports are not televised nearly as often, women don’t make as much money as men do, and in some cases women still aren’t even involved in the events that men are (I’m looking at you Le Tour de France).
How are girls to find the role models when this is the case? How can we expect our younger generation to aspire to any of this when we don’t give them the tools, or examples, or opportunities to play?
It is reasons like those above that make events like the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon and other women’s only races like it so important. It’s why Girls on the Run is so important. We have to be the example in movement. We have to be the inspiration and the drive. To encourage girls to get out and play, and be active, to push our daughters to compete, to show them that they are capable. To show them that they are just as good and have just as much worth as any boy.
We still live in a male dominated world, but maybe some day, hopefully in my life time, that can change.
Tonight’s team will make one quarter of what they men’s team did losing in the first round. Our women have won the World Cup three times now – where as our men have never one a title, and yet tonight’s game was not as well attended as a men’s league game would have been. Our women were playing in extreme heat on artificial turf, which only raises the temperature (which just proves them to be total badasses), whereas the men played on real grass fields.
Gender equality? We’ve come so far, tonight’s win, and the explosion of posts and news reports on social media proved that – the fact that there were actually people watching, the fact that we were even playing prove that. But we still have a long way to go.
Events like tonight’s game are important in proving to the world that we have what it takes to play like a girl. We’ve got what it takes To run like a girl. Which is not, and should never be, in any way an insult.
I am darn proud to run like a girl.
“There are always new, grander challenges to confront, and a true winner will embrace each one.”
– Mia Hamm