Soon after that, the 2007 WWC happened and the goalkeeper I began to idolize disappeared but my devotion to the game remained. I knew what she said was going to stir up some drama but not to that extent. Hope felt as though she would’ve performed better than Scurry which in my eyes was undeniable. I agreed with what she said and appreciate the fact that she had the guts to say it. Being aware of your ability is an athlete’s job. I knew that was true when I was 9, throwing those pitches across home plate to ensure that our team was victorious. I knew we didn’t have a reliable replacement so I made that sacrifice for my team because that’s the type of athlete I wanted to be. I recognized that same drive and determination in Hope.
Who was truly to fault for all of the focus on such a negative publicity? Hope for making the comment or news outlets who chose to cash in the appeal of drama? Perhaps the blame should be shared but Hope wasn’t the one who spread the interview like wildfire. She said what she said once and quickly apologized. Somehow, though Brandi Chastain publically agreed that Ryan made a stupid decision, Hope is still being accused of “disrespecting a legacy that Chastain help build”. Really?!
What I loved most about Hope was I knew on some level that she was completely different from the other female athletes I had grown to idolize. She was real and she reminded me of the girls I grew up playing with. When I got hurt, even at the age of 9, my team knew no one else could pitch on my level and they knew if I sat out, we hand no chance at a victory. The answers to the questions she was asked weren’t generic, rehearsed, or calculated; it was blatant truth. Let’s fast forward!
Today, women’s sports have gained so much recognition that we have our own budding ESPN network. As a sports fan, I couldn’t be more elated to know that with the progression of the information age and social networking, women’s sports was beginning to thrive more and more. Support for fellow female sports and athletes became incredibly important. With the respect for the women that came before them, female athletes of my sister’s generation slowly but surely became the mentors who propelled my generation to greatness but for some reason, the women’s national soccer team had its feet caught in the sand of the ‘99er’s victory. Determined to respectfully create their own legacy, it’s easy to say that Abby Wambach, along with Hope Solo, and the last ’99 left Christine Rampone were determined to lead the new frontier.
Solo was able to overcome all the obstacles she faced in 2007 and helped lead her team to silver in the WWC in 2011 and a redemptive gold medal in this year’s Olympic games. The team’s time between those victories was spent publicizing women’s professional soccer through magazine covers, photo shoots, and even Hope Solo’s appearance on Dancing with the Stars. These women were commanding people’s attention on and off the field but never lost focus of the game and the goals they set for their team. That drive and determination to grow a sport shouldn’t have to be completely selfless.
In order to tell her side of the story, Hope decided to write a book chronically her life’s journey. The book painted pictures of several bumpy roads and obvious obstacles. With that, came a closer look on her take of the events that led to her allusive rant.
Appropriately enough, espnW decided to do a piece covering Hope’s memoir… or so I thought. Instead, it seemed to be an attack on Solo’s comments following one of the Olympic game matches in response to Chastain’s commentary. According to commentator Shelley Smith, Chastain’s comments about the game Solo played in were none of Solo’s business. She then stated that Solo made the games and “ranting” tweets about herself. Among the statements Solo made, “about herself”, she addressed Chastain’s distain for one of the team’s defenders. Solo has also said, on many occasions that everything she does off the field is to help grow the game and bring attention to her team. Sorry for the sarcasm, but how selfish can you be? Memoirs are supposed to be about self-reflection not a person’s impact on a team but that’s not what narcissism is.
It would be foolish for me not to admit that there isn’t a bias because there is a HUGE one but as a Hope Solo fan, it’s not on my part, it’s espnW’s. This is not the first time they’ve added fuel to a dull flame in hopes that it ignites a fire. That to me is more negative than any confession made about someone’s personal experience. How can me expect anything to grow and change if we are constantly focusing on the negative aspects of the game in order to gain attention? If we want to discuss narrow minded idea of an ideal “role model”, then why don’t we spread it across the board and not targeting someone who’s been walking around with a bull’s eye on her back for 5 years. It amazes me that this interview was released the day after one of Solo’s beloved teammates was filmed publicly intoxicated but none of that was mentioned anywhere on espnW. That player was not accused of being an irresponsible role model. Please be strongly aware that I am saying this as a huge fan for said teammate who was drunk in public.
Headlines printed by espnW read “Solo rants about Chastain” but not reads “Solo defends her defenders”. Instead of feeding into Solo’s “rant” about Chastain’s “negative” commentary, why don’t we ask the fans how they feel about Chastain’s commentary and what a commentator should do for the game. Why can’t we put a positive spin on these outcomes? Trust me, I get it; we all need to make money but what is all this media driven negativity? When did we as women, who fought so hard to get where we are, become so regressive to the point where we think Hope should “just be quiet” and “be a team player” instead of encouraging her individuality and acknowledging her selfless sacrifices? The fact that she is able to stand in her beliefs unyielding makes her the ideal role model. It is that type of assertion that has propelled women’s sports to be what it is today.