Soccer and Joy and Progress
By Karen and Erica
What a series! What a run! What a team! Rapinoe! Morgan! Lloyd! All of these great players! And today—a ticker tape parade!
When we were younger, a team like this was unimaginable. Superb women athletes with strong voices and a vision of their place in the world. And full of joy, just like Brandi Chastain twenty years ago. The joy of being a team, the joy of being great athletes, the joy of winning. And perhaps the joy of knowing their win is an historic moment in a tidal wave of change.
We were part of a generation of women that took on many challenges, and made progress on many fronts. We had our winners in the sports arena—including the enactment in 1972 of Title IX, which prohibited sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and jumpstarted women’s athletics in school. Then, in 1973, there was Billie Jean King and the Battle of the Sexes. In the 80s and 90s, Jackie Joyner-Kersee won six medals over four (1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996) summer Olympic Games. Venus and Serena Williams won Olympic medals too, and uncountable tennis championships, while they fought for pay equity and clothing choice. These were others too, and now, this team.
Not all is won, for sure. Battles still rage on the pay equity front, and World Cup bonuses for the men’s and women’s soccer teams are still hugely different. Still, we think the historical trajectory is plain to see.
We are thrilled by what the soccer team has accomplished, and the way in which they accomplished it. The force of their victory will be felt for a long time. As will the force of their joy. The team is vivid proof of what we can do. And what we have done.