Wednesday, January 11, 2017

10 Days of Great Women

Like many women in America right now, I'm feeling the impending loss of a great leader in the face of the incoming anti-feminist leadership. I recently responded to an email from a woman who told me it was time to make America great again with the following

"Gross. When exactly was the time that you'd like to return to in American history? Before women could vote? When people with disabilities were institutionalized? The phrase "make America great again," is offensive to all the progress this country has made. It is unpatriotic and despicable to imply that we should rewind the progress of our greatest Americans."

And so, in honor of all the GREAT Americans who have fought for our progress, I'm highlighting women in my life that have impacted my ability to see progress, women who have inspired me, women who have pushed me to be better.

Today is Day 1

Women's soccer is one of the greatest sources of pride in my femininity in life. I feel strong; I feel driven to be stronger; I feel inspired by the professionals; and I feel patriotic at the leadership the women in my country have taken in the sport.

During the summer, I drive an hour or so each direction to play women's soccer for this fantastic team that I love. We've played together for about 2 years and in that short time, I've watched them form a deep, close-knit group of support. I live far away so I'm not in that inner circle but I witnessed from my vantage point, the speed with which women can form strong, supportive bonds.

I remember the first season playing this game in my head where I tried to figure out who was straight. I've done this most of my life because my dad's gay and learning that came as such a huge shock to me, that it's this little challenge I play where I try to guess who is straight and who is not. That first season, it was less obvious who was and who wasn't which orientation. But now the women are as comfortable with each other as a dozen sisters and everyone just is who she is.

I thought of these women a lot as the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric came out in the election. I wanted to see their reactions and joy at electing the first woman president, and looked forward to seeing photos of them celebrating. And then when that didn't happen, I wished to be with them in solidarity as women, as those who support diversity.

These last two years since we first started playing, I've loved watching them hang their arms around each other's shoulders in facebook photos. I love to see who went out together and how they support each other if someone is moving or has a breakup. I love when they've been drunken fools together. But more than anything, I love when it's just us. Just the girls. On the field with a ball. And we're pushing to be better and stronger and faster. And as 22 women on the field each Sunday, we do that.

So Day One of 10 Days of Great Women is dedicated to you, Optimist's United. As it says on our jerseys, "Friends for Life."