I rarely consider myself patriotic. I have never been one to bleed red, white and blue, although I bleed red by default. Great way to start a blog, I know, but hear me out. I’m not the biggest sports fan, I don’t like big guns, and I fucking hate bullies; for most of my life these were the perfect ingredients to make a red-blooded American. We as Americans glorify our right to certain freedoms, but for many Americans they don’t feel that free. In recent years I have become aware of the many obstacles that people who aren’t like me (a straight, white, priveledged American man) face on a daily basis, I am probably not qualified to speak about many civil rights issues, but I believe in equality. It is a constitutional right that all are created equal, although we have made significant improvements in the last few weeks (yay gay marriage!); there still exists an economic, racial, and gender equality gap.
I am a feminist. Years ago I was told what a feminist was; it means that you believe that women should be equal to men. I thought very briefly about it and it made a lot of sense. What’s confusing is how this term is twisted. I have met many smart, funny, and amazing women in my life; to even think that they only belong in the kitchen, or deserve to be paid less than me for the same job is horrifying. When it comes to sports in America it is quite easy to notice a distinct difference in gender. There is a National Basketball Association which is the men’s league, but the WNBA is the women’s league. Same thing applies for golf, PGA (Professional Golf Association) versus the LPGA (Ladies’ Professional Golf Association). But then there are the national U.S. Soccer teams, who have both a women and men’s team depicted as USWNT and USMNT respectively.
I have been a huge fan of soccer my entire my life. Every four years is the FIFA Men’s World Cup, last held in summer 2014. The following year is the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Let’s ignore the whole “women following men” point. What is important for me is that two years in a row and I am at my most patriotic when rooting for U.S. Soccer on the World’s Stage. This year, the United States Women’s National Team won the 2015 World Cup. I sat in a pub and watch the final earlier tonight and cheered our girls on. We won the final 5-2, and the bar erupted in cheers and applause after every goal.
After the final whistle, I was moved to tears watching star player Abby Wambach jump into the stands and kiss her wife Sarah on national television. In the last few hours I’ve seen many reactions to this embrace; for me, it is very similar to the American soldier kissing the girl on V-day in Times Square. It is a perfect reflection for the joy of the couple in the moment and reflects the happiness of the nation in that era. For the first time in a long time, I am very proud of this country. I know there is a long road ahead of us to create stability and equality for all Americans, but in this moment for me and soccer fans across the world; the United States of America is #1.