I am belligerent.
I went on hiatus completely unannounced, leaving you to fend completely for yourselves. While the words coming from Tony Kornheiser’s beard attacked our beloved sport and all it stands for, I did not reply. No. Instead, I sat back on my sofa and ate an especially spongy Twinkie.
Selfish? You bet. And while Jim Rome or and his soccer bashing colleagues were singing in the Kornheiser choir, what was I doing? Watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager marathon on ABC Family. Seriously.
Needless to say, I’ve got a lot of contrition to undertake. Lucky for me (and maybe you too), I’ve already started. Here are some presents…just for you!*
(*Both videos courtesy of my buddy Tony Biscaia from Breakersnet.com)
And here you go...my YouTube premiere!
In all seriousness, it wasn’t just the pastry-eating or the teen-drama viewing that kept me away from the compy. Rather, it was a hefty essay on literary theory that had me (as well as my fellow classmates) drowning in research, writing, and general frustration. School. It does that to you sometimes.
Anyway, with all that temporarily out of the way this week*, today was Monday, and despite the rain clouds hanging over the Boston-metro area, it was a splendid, gorgeous day!
(*Drafts of said paper were due on Sunday. Finished drafts are due next week. God help me.)
I mean, who needs the sun or temperatures above 40 when you’ve got Breakers Media Day? Not I, and certainly not many of my friends and colleagues who were there as well.
Now, I missed Breakers 1.0. In those days, I was simply too busy playing Madden ’02, ghosthunting*, and eating in The Bell’s parking lot at 1am. Important stuff for me. Women’s soccer? What is that?
(*That's how I rolled back in junior college. I mean, what else is there to do when you're broke, bored, and....broke? Why, jump in your mom's car, pick up some friends, and look for some earthbound spirits in the boonies. Good times for all!)
Lucikly, in the years since, I’ve gained the requisite knowledge (not to mention maturity – that was pretty key) to acclimate myself with women’s professional soccer. And boy am I thankful for it.
Because here’s what I should have been doing today. Drink coffee. Send out a letter. Enter a check request. Drink another coffee. Send out a letter. Enter a check request.And wait! What’s this? Answer a phone call? Wow, what a day!
Instead, I bypassed all that excitement in favor of something far more intriguing, and, yeah, a lot more fun. There, I said it. Today was fun.
You know why? Because I got to lounge around with a bunch of soccer players at Harvard. Really. Yours truly, a wannabe reporter who refuses to drop the “wannabe” from his title, was chillaxin’ with some of the world’s best female footballers. It just so happens that I had a voice recorder* to document it for progeny.
(*Oh man, this thing in my pocket the kids call "the Blackberry Curve" is awesome. Just as I was crossing the state line into Massachusetts, I suddenly remembered that I left my voice recorder at home. Per my personal protocol, I was running late as it was, and going back to retrieve it would've made for an embarrassingly late entrance. Enter the Curve, with it's truly blessed voice note recorder. Thank you, Qualcomm and your pack of super genius employees.)
Say what you will about women’s football. I know it’s something not everyone is exactly gaga about. But let me tell you: these footballers, all of them, whether they’re from the US, England, Brazil or China, deserve a chance to play professionally in the States just as their male counterparts do. You simply cannot convince me otherwise.
After all, did these players not work just as hard for their dreams? Did they not make the same sacrifices? Did they not willingly bypass the parties, social events and college fun all in the hopes of becoming better players?
That’s why I admire these women just as much, if not more, than their male peers. They’re playing in a league that is in no way guaranteed to be here two years from now. You know why? Because this is their dream. Even players like Kelly Smith and Alex Scott, both of whom played at Arsenal, left that storied brand to play here. It’s the reason why rookies like Ariel Harris and Alison Lipsher have decided to play miles away from home. It’s the reason why the most capped player in the world – Kristine Lilly – refuses to call it a career at age 37.
You might think that I would blabber on about how this more than just a league, this is opportunity, and blah blah blah. I would. But I already have. So I’ll just close by saying this.
Don’t give this league a chance. Don’t give the term “professional women’s soccer” a chance. Don’t even give the idea – however crazy some may think it – of women footballers a chance.
Rather, give Alex Scott a chance. She’s a darn good footballer. I’ve been fortunate enough to seen her play. She’ll make almost anyone wearing boots look silly, male or female. Give Marta a shot. I mean, Kobe Bryant has already. Do you think you’re above him in that regard? And please, for God’s sakes, if you haven’t already, give Kristine Lilly a look. She IS women’s football. I mean, c’mon, if you haven’t already by now, where the heck have you been? Conferring in a cave with the Taliban?
Forget labels. Labels only serve to cast one as better than another. I get it. EPL is better than MLS. European football is better than North American football. Men’s soccer is better than women’s soccer.
You know what I say? Forget that. Forget the conventional wisdom. Forget the fact that certain notions only exist because there still exists an innumerable amount of closed minds. Forget labels. Give people a chance.