Last night I was able to go see the United States Women’s National Soccer Team on their Victory Tour. I’m not a soccer fan. I’m not really a sports fan, but I am a huge fan of women kicking ass, so when a friend of mine mentioned that they could get presale tickets to the game, I jumped at it.
Now, I don’t see a ton of live sports. Usually the Twins once a year, maybe a few times at CHS Field to see the Saints. The rest? Meh. I didn’t really know why, I just knew that I just didn’t care. That’s a lie. I do know why. But my feelings on kneeling for the flag and allowing partner abusers to keep their jobs is not the reason for this post. This post is about why women’s soccer is different from anything I’ve ever experienced.
I didn’t immediately realize it. I asked one of the friends I was with after a bit if I was correct. And I was. Everyone on the field was a woman. The announcer was a woman. The medics were women. The referees were women. And the powerhouse athletes on the field and giving power poses on the jumbotron? Women.
We’re so used to seeing all men on the field. But to see all women? Never. At a major sports event, to see just one woman on the field (or court or whatever) is an anomaly. To see only women? Mind-blowing.
And the crowd. Filled with people of all ages, all ethnicities, all genders. The crowd was there to cheer on and support a team of women.
There was chanting and heckling, just like any sports game. Towards the end, though, the crowd started chanting something I couldn’t make out right away. Then I heard someone behind me say ‘they’re chanting ‘Equal Pay!’ and I BURST into tears. I had been able to forget, for a bit of time, that these incredible athletes were not treated the same as their male counterparts. I had been able to forget, for just a moment, that women were so often treated as second class citizens. For just a second, I was able to put down the armor that comes with fighting for equality and be completely in the moment of pure joy and excitement.
That’s why representation matters. Seeing images of yourself on a larger scale, being able to see a world in which you are celebrated and loved for being exactly who you are, seeing someone that you could grow up to be is empowering. Also, showing the world that women have every right to take over that field and WIN (4 times, thank you very much).
In the immortal words of our queen Lizzo, “Serena Willy showed me I can win the Wimbledon (we can do it). Uh, put me on a pedestal. Bet on me, bet I will”
ROCK WHAT YOU GOT Event Coordinator,