Monday, August 18, 2008
All Hail Abby Wambach
Who, you might ask, is Abby Wambach? Why does she deserve our praise? For those of you who may not be fans of women's soccer, let me tell you a little about Abby Wambach. She was a leader and one of the best players on the U.S. team as they prepared for the Olympics in Beijing. In the team's last game before leaving for China, Abby was going for the ball and wound up colliding with a player from the opposing team. She fell and broke her left tibia and fibula, rendering her unable to play for about a year. So why do I care about an injured soccer player?
I actually saw the play live on television, and I think what came out of it is a lesson for athletes of all ages. After her spill, the team and trainers rushed over to her, but as she laid on the ground in pain, she did something remarkable: she gestured to them to calm down and take it easy as they approached her. Here is her description of the event:
“Some people have said that I looked calm on the field, but it really was only an acceptance of reality,” Wambach said. “I believe in my future and the future of the team. I know I’m an important player, but the injury has also made me realize how insignificant one player is in the team environment. It takes a team to win a championship.”
“I didn’t want to react on the field because I know what it takes to win a gold medal and I know one person isn’t going to be the answer,” she said. “I wanted to set an example for my teammates so they could see on my face that I know, whether I’m on the field or not, that they can win. I think that helped them accept the fact that I’m gone.”
Here is an athlete on the eve of the Olympics who suffers a major injury. Many people in her place would blame the coaches for holding the match, blame the opponent she collided with, blame anyone and anything they could in this unfortunate situation. Instead, Abby's first concern was not for herself of for placing blame, but it was for her teammates. Abby Wambach is the kind of athlete we need to hold up to our children as an example of dedication and commitment. What wisdom and poise from this young woman. So as you watch the USA's Womens Olympic team compete, win, lose or draw, think of Abby Wambach's example of sportsmanship for your children, and maybe even yourselves.