Well, friends, the World Cup ends tomorrow and I have SO MANY FEELINGS.
To reference a twitter rant from earlier in the tournament: I wanted everyone to win. Seriously. When you know how much adversity these teams face to simply EXIST, it’s impossible to root against any of them.
I mean, when you know about the fresh hell Brazilian players endure and the fact that they were BANNED from playing at all until 1981 (in the country that invented “the beautiful game” no less), how can you NOT want them to win?
When you know about the struggles of the Nigerian team, which has absolutely dominated women’s soccer in Africa but has to continually protest their federation to be paid, how can you NOT want them to win?
When you know about the fight of Chilean and Argentinian players JUST TO BE RECOGNIZED AS TEAMS, how can you NOT want them to win?
When you know that France, one of the best teams in this tournament, would lose their spot in the 2020 Olympics if they didn’t beat the U.S. in the quarterfinals, how could you NOT want them to win?
And, of course, when you know that the USWNT is competing while ALSO suing their federation for discrimination, and that co-captain Rapinoe considers herself a “walking protest” of all that is wrong in this country, how can you NOT want them to win?
TL;DR, these are panels that I love but didn’t make it into my comic for The Nib last month. Sports are unquestionably political. They are also inspiring, infuriating, hopeful, and deeply personal.
Support for the World Cup was incredible this year. And we have so far to go.