Let’s be clear: I’m not celebrating the loss of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team. I never cheer the defeat of anyone who nominally represents my country, because to do so would be to glory in the shame of my own mother. In other words, I’m not raising a glass (of glog) to Sweden, the native country of my great-grandmother.
But I’m not sad. In fact, while I take no pleasure in the fact that my team will no longer be in the running for the World Cup, I’m happy that at least some of the women on that team suffered a reckoning with reality. And that reality is the fact that the vast majority of decent, well-intentioned Americans didn’t care if they won. I’d even wager that a good percentage hoped they’d lose. But I think the rest of us are just tired of having to deal with pampered, privileged darlings who think that being able to kick a ball (and after this last performance, they might want to rethink that assumption) gives them license to ridicule their native country on foreign soil.
It’s one thing to take a knee at a football stadium in San Francisco, Baltimore, or New York. While it is protected by the First Amendment, it’s not exactly polite, productive, or conducive to increased ticket sales.
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It is, however, quite another thing to show an international audience just how little appreciation you have for the flawed but glorious country that provided you with the opportunity to become rich beyond your wildest dreams, adored by little girls and their star-struck mothers, invited to the White House (by presidents you actually like), and guaranteed a mention in the history books. Like the Dixie Chicks learned after they went around the world exclaiming about how disgusted they were with America, these coddled ladies are only now realizing that the shrugged shoulders and rolled eyes they’ll be greeted with by most marginally patriotic Americans are well-deserved and of their own making.
Some have tried to point out that it’s really only Megan Rapinoe who disrespected the country, and that her toxicity, like cancer, metastasized throughout the rest of the team. That’s wrong. While Rapinoe was the most vocal America-hater, none of her teammates had the courage to shut her down. The fact that they let her be the face of women’s soccer says as much about them as it does about her.
When John McCain was a guest at the Hanoi Hilton, his communist captors tried to get him to slander the American government. He would not. He paid the price in broken bones and lashes.
When the stakes were much lower, some talented athletes with bugs up their collective, well-toned posteriors were more than happy to show — through the omission of any effort at patriotism — how far they had traveled from that heroism.
So, I’m not celebrating the loss of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team. But I won’t lose any sleep over the fact that they all got kicked royally by karma.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61