Megan Rapinoe? Who is that? It’s the pink-haired lady football player isn’t it, some ask. She’s the one who won both the Ballon D’or and Fifa best player award for the women this year, says someone who follows football closely. Yes, she possesses all those attributes. But what makes her stand out is beyond all these factors. So, let’s walk the walk to know what makes her special.
It’s true that a laborious share of attention and devour of the Ballon D’or night and the outpourings that followed after was devoted to the master of the game, Leo Messi, for winning the golden accolade for a jaw-dropping sixth time. And it’s normal but unjust in a way, for any names, except a few, to be submerged and become laggardly, when a name as lustrous as Messi is bought to the table. His glory is not that easy to glare past through.
But despite all that admiration and unending praises for Messi, why Megan Rapinoe? First of all, let’s not make her on-field glories subtle or normal by unjust comparisons. It’s brutal. The 34-year old veteran was the captain and the leading figure for the US Women’s national team who won the Women’s World Cup in 2019. Rapinoe scored a massive six goals and provided 3 valuable assists, winning her the Golden Ball and the Golden boot award, the highest individual award for a player in a WC. So, the numbers and awards speak for itself. She is simply the best.
But, let’s keep all that aside for a moment. Let’s discover what makes Rapinoe the real MEGAn Rapinoe!
“I’m not going to the fucking White House”!
Yes. She said that in a tone, as cool as ice. So, this fiery outburst descended when a magazine reporter asked her if she is going to the White House, which is a tradition of the US championship teams to visit the President at the White House. The question came up during the 2019 WC. “I think we are not going to be invited, I don’t think so”, she further added. Her anger towards the racist, misogynistic Mr. President was so evident in those lines.
Rapinoe is a real-life activist. That’s what she is. She is one of the most outspoken sports stars in the US and around the world. Her stance against Trump and his administration over his authoritarian and oppressive views against women, the LGBTQ and black people are very highly applauded and widely talked and praised about. She herself a queer person had endured the mental agonies and brutalities that a brutally marginalized and other-ed section faces first hand.
Rapinoe has embraced activism in her hands that is seldom seen in sports. What makes her the elephant in the room of activists is her irrevocable perseverance in bringing things to the forefront rather than the hashtag liberals. And guess what! She even brought the matters on to the pitch!
In 2015, she drew waves of criticism when she kept silent during the US national anthem, in solidarity for demanding equal pay for women. Setting fire to the same issue in 2011, she even dared to file a lawsuit against the US Women’s national team Federation after the US’s glorious WC victory. And that isn’t it. She also stood in solidarity for Colin Kaepernick, against the racist slurs, by kneeling down during the US national anthem again.
Her clarion call, out to the players on the Fifa Award night, to use this great platform and greater privileges that they possess to evict the radical elements in football, set the tone of the Rapinoe trademark in Global football. Her single voice was that radiant enough for the corridors of Stade Le Lyon to the Burlington High school in the US tremble, where the women showed their true grit in standing for what’s theirs.
How can one be ‘not in awe’ and admiration, when a celebrity player, who can just be in their own comfy-zones of social boundaries like the selfish and shameless majority, wield such a bonafide outcry to the world with such compassion and empathy. Through her life, Rapinoe laid the door open to the silent vast majority to understand how effectively the sports platform can be used for the common good and how each voice counts. The real superheroes are those that set the example with their own life because the world is changed by one’s example, not by one’s opinions. Hence let’s pray for the world of football to have more and more of Megan Rapinoes. The more, the better the world will be. And guess what! What’s better than being better!