Saturday, May 17, 2008

Abby Wambach breaks my heart

Two days in a row Abby Wambach has disappointed me. First she comments on how athletes should not be responsible for knowing about the political situations in the countries in which the travel and compete (a la China this summer). And now she has given a brief interview in a Colorado paper in which she says some not so enlightened things.

First, she almost contradicts her statement about athletes and their responsibilities when she goes on about how much she enjoys getting to "expand as a human by doing community work, by really helping the cause and the movement of women's sports. It's not a burden of professional athletes, it's a responsibility. It's not easy getting on a plane and having to go do something, especially sometimes if you're a rookie and you're not getting paid."

Apparently her idea of community does not include those outside the US or even those outside of sport.

But what really broke my feminist heart was this answer in response to a question about the forthcoming Women's Professional Soccer league: We don't want to be like any other league. We want something to be special and touch people in a way that is not the same as the NFL or Major League Baseball. Time will tell and patience will be the key. Which women are almost more suited for.

It is not in Wambach's, or any female athlete's, best interest to engage in such essentialist thinking. After all, once upon a (not too long ago) time people thought women just weren't cut out for sports. It wasn't in their nature.

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