I understand that as a co-owner and operator of this site, it may seems as though my opinions about espnW’s recent “chat” are biased. As I stated before, I am a Hope Solo fan but first and foremost, I am woman who was brought up to love and respect athletes and their craft so please read this post as it is written not by a Hope Solo fan but a supporter of women in sports.
It is no big surprise and no secret that I am a huge Hope Solo fan. (Shocking, I know) But first and foremost I am a strong, progressive, and athletic woman. At the tender age of 25, I’ve been able to witness incredible ground breaking triumphs of women in sports since I was 9 years old. It was the year the WNBA celebrated their inaugural season. I remember the moment exactly. It was poetic really. I sat in a room of my local hospital, waiting to get x-rays of a freshly dislocated knee cap that I received during an all-star softball game. (In case you were wondering, I finished the game and we won. This fact will prove a point in a moment) I was disappointed that I couldn’t share the moment with my older sister Chanel because she had been the family’s basketball star but I was excited for everything the moment represented for women in sports. It was ground-breaking, a national professional basketball league designated specifically for women. It only took twenty four years after Title 9 was signed for people to realize women in sports could be highly profitable on a national level. My sister and I dreamt about becoming professional athletes when we were younger and though basketball was never my sport, the inauguration of the WNBA became a symbol of hope and hopefully a huge step in the right direction.
I was right. Women were finally getting their foot in the door and were slowly but surely gaining recognition. People were starting to realize that women in sports are both marketable and profitable. In addition, they began to inspire millions of little girls like myself and my sister to pursue our dreams no matter what our sex was.
To my surprise and much delight, the WNBA was just the beginning. I, like millions of others was permanently glued to the TV during the 1999 Women’s World Cup, sitting on the edge of my seat with anticipation as those infamous PK’s were taken. Though soccer was never our thing, we were glued to the TV. I remember the feeling of triumph I shared with Brandi Chastain as she nailed that last PK into the back of the net then mindlessly celebrated with her team. I was filled with so much pride and adoration for what was accomplished and I instantly became a fan of the game. Much to an even greater surprise, I got word that not only was there going to be a women’s professional soccer league but that my aunt was going to work for one of the teams in DC known as the Washington Freedom. The following year, I turned 16 and was old enough to apply for an internship for the team. My interest quickly became an obsession as I got to know the incredible women I worked for; one of which was one of the founding mothers of that ’99 WC game Mia Hamm. Another was a rather tall, hardcore rookie who dominated when she was on the field though at the time she played as an alternate. Her name I quickly learned was Abby Wambach. Little did I know at the time but she was on the brink of helping a new generation of women my age lead a new frontier in women’s soccer. As Abby’s career grew, I followed as an avid fan and I was quickly introduced to Hope Amelia Solo.