Today in New York City we made history. The United States Women’s Soccer team became the first women’s team to ever be honored with a ticker-tape parade. And damn, did they deserve it.
Not only did our girls dominate on the field, going ahead 4-0 and finishing with a 5-2 victory in the World Cup, but they are also true ambassadors off it.
They humbly took a brutal letdown in the 2011 Cup, only to display class and grace upon claiming this year’s prize. There is no Kobe, no ball hog, no selfishness. Abby Wambach entered the tournament the most accomplished, most famous – yet she accepted a role off the bench while continuing to lead her teammates. If a veteran like Abby can check her ego, imagine the tone that sets for the rest of the team.
Our captain Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick in sixteen minutes, deferred to Wambach in the final minutes, giving her the captain’s armband. It was a symbolic gesture of respect, showcasing the type of thoughtful togetherness players all over the world displayed during the Cup.
And it was that togetherness that came through against Japan. Anyone really paying attention held their breath when, right out of the half, our lead was cut to two. However, the girls didn’t panic, and two minutes later allowed their fans to breath with their fifth goal of the game. While not as glamorous as the first four, the simple passes needed to execute the pivotal goal were unstoppable. Instead of turning on each other, the U.S. team weathered their emotion and stuck together.
We can really learn from these women. Throughout our history, we have subjugated their gender, labeling them inferior and denying their civil rights. No more. We are in 2015, and you can slowly see the walls falling down.
I thought it was fitting that our Supreme Court passed their marriage ruling in the last week. Members of our own USA team have same-sex partners in the stands rooting them on, and if we want to continue to be the leaders of the free world, our own laws can’t reflect otherwise.
Watching the confetti fall from the sky onto our champions and their floats, you got the same feeling looking at our women that you did watching them all World Cup: just how free they really are. Their personalities shine like beacons of hope, not to mention how beautiful they are. Our girls get mad, laugh, smile, and don’t seem afraid to be themselves.
All of the women in the World Cup were wonderful, winning us over. But the United States always shined the brightest, and it was evident once again on stage after the parade.
After receiving the key to the city, an emotional group sang together as more confetti exploded into the air and rained on.
Wear it well, girls.