Soccer star Megan Rapinoe, captain of the U.S. women’s team that won yet another World Cup on Sunday, is a great athlete, and it is a shame that the Trump critic has used her celebrity to contribute to the politicization of just about everything.
It would be great if Rapinoe and her teammates gave a shout-out to the American democratic ideals that contributed to their glittering success, says Wall Street Journal writer Allysia Finley.
The U.S. has long been a beacon of opportunity for female athletes. America’s superiority in women’s soccer is owing to both the players’ athletic prowess and the country’s democratic ideals, which have helped the national team flourish.
Girls in the U.S. are encouraged to play multiple sports. That prevents burnout and helps them develop a range of athletic skills. During high school, striker Christen Press played tennis and track, which like soccer require agility and speed. Team co-captain Alex Morgan juggled volleyball, softball, basketball and track before specializing in soccer.
In other countries talented girls are often cherry-picked at young ages by national federations or clubs. America’s system of talent development is less structured, yet nonetheless surfaces the best players.
One reason is the 1972 civil-rights law Title IX, which effectively requires colleges to provide an equal number of athletic scholarships to men and women. The law has forced schools to reduce men’s athletic programs like wrestling, but it has encouraged more girls to participate in sports.
It is disheartening to see Rapinoe kneeling for the national anthem, and I can’t help feeling her explanation for doing this doesn’t make sense:
“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” Rapinoe told Halloran. “It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it.”
What liberties of Ms. Rapinoe’s are not protected because she is gay?
I'll bet she can't answer that question.
Still, what a team, what fabulous athletes!