‘So…This Happened’ is our quick-hitting weekly round-up of some of the biggest stories in sports. Take a read and own the water cooler sports conversations, if any of you actually have a water cooler that you hang out by to talk sports.
This week the focus is on Europe, and not just because the Yankees drubbed the Red Sox in two ridiculously high-scoring games in London (crikey!). And also not just because Wimbledon has begun (Venus Williams lost to a fifteen year old!!).
No, we’re talking Women’s World Cup. And we’re dedicating this whole piece to the US Women’s National Team.
1. Megan Rapinoe is a Boss.
What a week for the dynamo that is Megan Rapinoe!!
Me up until a few days ago: Soccer is boring and I’m straight.
Me now: Soccer is awesome and I would gay marry Megan Rapinoe.
— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) July 2, 2019
When she wasn’t busy scoring four consecutive goals and both goals of the US Team’s quarterfinal win against France, Rapinoe was boldly taking on everyone’s favorite avatar of bigotry and fascism, by stating that “she wasn’t going to the f*cking White House,” if invited after the World Cup.
As we stated earlier this week in our column on the pink-haired goal-scoring human-rights leader, World Cup season is a time to marvel at the awesomeness of Megan Rapinoe (and Team USA.)
— PenTool (@tool_pen) July 3, 2019
2. Megan Rapinoe’s girlfriend, WNBA superstar Sue Bird, is also – as it turns out – a Boss.
Not content to let her girlfriend be the only one dropping F bombs to great effect or to be the only one standing tall against President Trump, WNBA superstar Sue Bird penned a column in The Player’s Tribute, entitled “So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend.”
In it, Bird not only talked politics, but she championed the hell out of Rapinoe, all of it well-deserved:
“First of all, I’ve gotta get this on the record, if it’s not already clear: I’m SO proud of Megan!! And the entire damn USWNT. That’s why I’m writing this article, mainly. So if you could do me a favor, let’s just take a second, for real, and appreciate this RUN my girl’s been on?? Like, take away all of the “extra” stuff — and just focus for a second on the soccer alone. Two goals against Spain. Two goals against France, WHILE A GUEST IN THEIR MAISON. I want to hit on a lot of other topics while I’m here, and trust me I will — but I just think it’s also really important not to forget what this is actually, first and foremost, about, you know? It’s about a world-class athlete, operating at the absolute peak of her powers, on the absolute biggest stage that there is. It’s about an athlete f*cking killing it. It’s about Megan coming through.”
On the political front, there were astute observations such as this one:
“A few 100% random and 100% unrelated facts, presented without commentary.
Donald Trump has never invited a WNBA champion to the White House.
In 2017, when South Carolina Women’s Basketball — coached by a black woman (the legend Dawn Staley) — won the national championship, they were not initially invited to the White House.
In 2019, when Baylor Women’s Basketball — coached by a white woman (also a legend, Kim Mulkey) — won the national championship, they were invited to the White House with no issues.”
It’s worth a f*cking read.
3. Alex Morgan’s tea-time moment.
US striker, Alex Morgan didn’t curse. She only ran up the score a little bit against Thailand (5 goals!)
But the moment of the World Cup so far, was her “sipping tea” celebration, after she scored the winning goal against England in the Semifinals.
Here it is:
Here for Alex Morgan’s sipping tea celebration 😂 pic.twitter.com/vUOhJolHJ4
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) July 2, 2019
Jubilant. Smart. Historically referential. We like it.
Rapinoe also liked it: “I think I might have been upstaged. That was next-level.”
As to the critics, who are calling the US team “too arrogant” and criticizing their celebrations, we leave you with these two thoughts:
First, here is Megan Rapinoe’s response: “Wah, wah, wah. It’s like, we’re at the World Cup. What do you want us to do? “We work hard, we like to play hard.” She pretty much nails it.
Second, have you SEEN the celebrations on the men’s side??? No? Here, check it out:
— Melissa Rose (@Melzyrose90) July 3, 2019
All the people on here complaining about a celebration must really hate watching professional sports. Sip your tea Alex… sip your tea.
PS: Also ascribe to the mantra: If you don’t like the celebration, don’t let them score. pic.twitter.com/ZsUXtyIqOW
— Michael Choate (@mwchoate) July 3, 2019
Sure there were other things happening in the world this week, and there were other things happening in the world of sports. But for us, this week, its all about the Team USA Women.
In fact, it’s gotten so crazy, that BOYS are actually wearing USWNT soccer jerseys. Repeat: Boys are wearing US Women’s soccer jerseys. Should this be a big story? Well, no. But it is!
As Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune wrote, this is a real ground-breaking moment for kids, quite different from the times she grew up in. And her own kids are leading the way:
“Wait, boys wear Alex Morgan jerseys?” I asked…
“Yeah,” he said. “Why?”…
One sentence. Yeah why. Like I was asking if people still need oxygen.
“I see women and girls wearing male athletes’ jerseys a lot,” I said, “but I guess I’ve just never seen a boy or man wearing a female athlete’s.”
Her earbuds were back in by that point.
This feels huge to me, if not to them. Over in adult world, where change occurs at a more glacial pace, we’re arguing over whether the women’s team should score so many goals (rude!), and whether they should have celebrated those goals so enthusiastically (super rude!).
Over in adult world, CBS News is tweeting, “Eagles tight end Zach Ertz leaves training camp to watch wife in World Cup.” “Wife” is Julie Ertz, a 2015 World Cup champion, Chicago Red Stars defender and member of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
Meanwhile, boys and girls alike are walking around with the names of female athletes on their backs. You don’t wear someone’s name on your back unless you revere them, respect their game, dream a little bit about being more like them.
The fact that fifth grade boys and high school boys and, really, any age boys look up to women athletes in that way? To me, that feels like tremendous progress. To me, that feels like we’re getting somewhere.
Hop on, grown-ups. The kids are taking us where we need to go.
Photo Credit: AP Photo | Alessandra Tarantino